How often you get to watch a Bangladeshi film that evanesces all the dissatisfactions in heart and also put a smiley on your face? Almost never! Well seems like took the responsibility of changing the phrase 'almost never' to 'first time ever'. Amitabh Reza took a long time to throw his pawn in the film-board comparing to other directors. Yet, he proved how slow and steady wins the race, wearing the crown of one of the most successful directors of Bangladesh.
Firstly, let me put the story in the nutshell. The main character Ayna (Chanchal Chowdhury) is a genius actor. Apparently not all actors are destined to film industry, not even the true ones. Ayna is a hired actor who goes to jail instead of a criminal, also, mimics all the activities of the actual criminal. These actual criminals are the big guns of society-fit for any crime-unfit of being a criminal. In personal life, Ayna is a very polite, foodie and friendly person. He teaches in a drama school for kids and claims himself as a cook of big ships to other people. Meanwhile, Hridi enters in the story as a neighbor of Ayna. Cupid didn't take time to shoot them with his arrow. Ayna thought to leave his illegal job but he forgot luck always sails against the will. A powerful political leader forces him to go to jail for him. Unable to find any way Ayna takes the job and get himself in trouble. Eventually, the leader is given death sentence and Ayna gets stuck there. Anyhow, he finds his way and escapes from jail.
It's time to ride on the merry-go-round of criticism; after all, that's what a review is all about. The storyline is considered to be the mitochondria of a film. Certainly, Amitabh tried heart and soul to keep it out of the box, nevertheless, like every other movie it had its potholes too, even some big ones. When someone is hiding from the law, he naturally will take some precautions rather than upload his party pictures on facebook. Even a stupid has the idea how venturesome a social networking site can be. However, the criminal seems total heedless about that. The journalist is just a byproduct of script writer's cerebrum to convey the message of Ayna's past to Hridi. It was totally evident throughout the film. Moreover, fooling a jail guard by alluring him for acting a character seemed a lame logic to me for escaping from jail. These are the three and only weakness of the film. Even though dying of Hridi's father in the ambulance and Hridi and Ayna's affair seems to bring an artificial essence in the film, I would count that as a failure of story establishment.
When it comes to the point of characterization of the film, Amitabh deserves a standing ovation forsooth! The wizard of acting, Chanchal, has already proved himself once in 'Monpura', therefore, he just added another rock in his success-mountain. An enchanting hymn of mesmerism has circumambulated me the whole time I saw his facial expression, gesture and dialogue delivery on screen. As a debut actress, Nabila set footmark in her very own crackerjack style. Another artist George has blown every single mind even after having a short appearance. Furthermore, Partha played his journalist character pretty well, albeit script writer didn't give him much chance to show any magnetism. Another mentionable fact about casting is, apart from the main characters, side characters were well chosen too. This certainly gave the film an equilibrium state in acting scale. Moreover, every character was full of small yet significant details, whether it's the criminal or lawyer or the owner of the hollywood studio-adding a different essence in story establishment.
'Aynabaji' is indisputably the only technically flawless movie in Bangladesh till now. Does that sound something tectonic? It ought to be! That's where it outmatched all other films out there. Although making a film technically correct in our country's perspective is kind of challenging, whilst, Amitabh shooted 90% film in old Dhaka. Sounds like he stole Ananta Jalil's tagline- making the impossible possible is my job! I used to wonder while watching Kolkata art films, why even their stinky streets look so artistic? How come our city doesn't look like that on screen? Gradually I have realized it was just the trickery of cinematography. Amitabh just filled the gap in cinematography. His charismatic touch has doodled an attic room as a castle; even the cacophony of bazar seems so melodious. He unfolds how much shades play hide and seek in every lane of busyness. Needless to say, unlike other film directors Amitabh didn't use only close and mid shot to cut the cost rather he took long and top shots wherever needed. Moreover, ariel shots were also taken which gave the film a new look. Rashed Zaman, the cinematographer of 'Aynabaji' splashed Amitabh's dream canvas with much vibrancy.
Still now a film's success eminently depends on its music department, keeping that in mind, director sir has cherry-picked the maestro of all genres. Fuad-Al-Muktadir, Habib Wahid, Chirkut and Shayan Chowdhury Arnob did a splendid job here. Every composition was soothing and perfect for the scene while every piece expressed the story as a whole too. This thriller story truly demanded a melodramatic background music, therefore, Indranil Dasgupta (India) tuned one of his A-list pieces for it. Another mentionable fact is dialogue. Usually in other films, dialogues sound like a drunken production of the script writer, thus, artists seem like puppet while delivering those. 'Aynabaji' walked way far from conventional way-delivering every dialogue spontaneous and humorous way.
Apart from all other cliché admirations, 'Aynabaji' outmatched other films in regard of visual symbol too which made it unique as a whole. Every scene was full of detailing; either the tiger statue in George's room or the game of light and shadow on chanchal's face, all fantastically adjoined the message of the film. Every framing and detailing give the idea how the careful and devoted director was about everything. All through our life we hide ourselves under a mask, acknowledging the fact that this is a self-hypocrisy. Even sometimes our whole self becomes trapped beneath the mask and we feel no intention of removing it. Growing as a human being requires some skills in acting in every walk of life. Amitabh just pointed his finger to the truth. He united his voice with the few hundred years old grandpa, Shakespeare, "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts". I believe, nothing could be truer than this. This movie is a perfect satire of our daily life indicating the fact that how chameleon like we behave even after being the best creature of this planet. 'Aynabaji' is a perfect conglomerate of post-modern and Elizabethan era. Combining two different poles in one plot is just another magic spell of the director.
For a long time, ad makers were claimed to be incapable of making films in our country. Well, Amitabh Reza just swept off all the so-called opinions just by one movie. Though critics are focusing their gun towards 'Aynabaji' saying it's nothing but crap. May be they forgot, perfection can never be achieved as Salvador Dali stated many years back. Even the Spielberg's 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' had its potholes. Still it won Oscar for best sound effect, also, ranked as 103rd movie in IMDB's top rated movies. Moreover, much applauded films like 'Three Idiots' and even the Oscar winning film 'Slumdog Millionaire' had mistakes in the storyline too. That didn't stop them to get recognized and awarded. Because that is how creativity works. Today's 'Aynabaji' will be tomorrow's Oscar winning film. Critics need to enlighten themselves by the remark of the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Every artist was first an amateur." If we don't appreciate their amateur step, there will be no master in future. Compared to others, Amitabh stepped his foot way far from an amateur, near to an international level director. Constructive criticisms are always welcomed, but if because of tiny mistakes, critics title this extraordinary film as garbage, eventually the loss will be ours. This country will never be able to get film-makers like Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa or Satyajit Ray. Although, I believe, good things find their own way, therefore, hater's fault-finding mentality can't fade Aynabazi's glamor.
The author is schooling with BRAC University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org