Published:  04:16 PM, 28 October 2020

"Komola Rocket" - Humanity and the humanitarian crisis in a floating story

Film review


-Faridul Ahasan Shourav

Komola Rocket (The Orange Ship) is a Bangladeshi Bengali drama film, written and directed by Noor Imran Mithu, which was released in 2018. At the first glance, it seems like the stories are isolated from one another. It may seem out of place or disconnected because it was ambiguous enough to understand where the story started. Screenplay writer and director Nur Imran Mithu did not even feel the need to answer about the ending in this film. Despite this, "Komola Rocket" as a whole does not seem to be an incomplete or isolated story. On the contrary, it seems that the movie has managed to tell the story collectively on celluloid without any lack of sensitivity and moderation.

Shahaduzzaman and director Nur Imran Mithu scripted the film based on two stories ‘Original’ and ‘Cyprus’ by fiction writer Shahaduzzaman. From the beginning to the end of this film, it was all on a little ship from Dhaka to Khulna. Basically, "Komola Rocket" is a British-era steamer, which is still navigating on the river, preserving a hundred-year-old tradition. Ninety-six minutes into the journey, the upper class, lower class and a corpse of the society sat on the steamer. Although their travel experiences are different, their destination is the same - as if the director showed the class system of the society in one journey. Like Toukir Ahmed's "Oggatonama-The Unnamed", Komola Rocket also deals with the main crisis of a dead body. However, the story also includes unemployment, government jobs demand, extramarital affairs, economic inequality, physical love or the reference of recent disastrous incidents of Holey Artisan attack, Rana Plaza and other events. Komola Rocket also showcases a decaying circus team, which somehow survived the existential crisis from one steamer to another.

The beginning of the story is a little slow. Yet, over the time, the story has gained momentum in the middle of the sea. Although there is no twist in this straightforward storyline, there has been an attempt to unite the isolated events. In the presentation, it seems that the group representing the whole of Bangladesh has been lifted into this little ship. The physical needs of human beings have also been raised frequently throughout the film. The character of a passenger who boarded a steamer in the hope of a physical night; and the way in which the sexual appetite of one of the main characters of the story, awakened by seeing that intimate moment, has been embellished is undoubtedly admirable. Although he threw away the visiting card given by Mofizur at that time, he picked up the card thrown at that special moment which also says a lot, without using dialogue.

The aerial shots used by the drones are captivating. The most notable thing is that all the shots in the movie are shot from the inside of the ship, or at least the frame is focused on the ship from outside. The visible tendency to capture tight frames with an abundance of mid close and close-up shots in Golam Mawla Nabi's filming is just reminiscent of Abbas Kiarostami's "Close-Up". Although the composition of the scenes on the deck and in the circus troupe did not seem appropriate in many cases. In some cases, it is understood as a space crisis. Even using a wide lens in that formula was not a complete success. In that case, however, the sincerity and skill of the film editor Samir Ahmed are noticeable.

No character has gone less than anyone in acting skills. However, Atiq has gradually raised the bar of excitement as the main character of the movie. The character of narcissistic glamour girl Dishi proved herself to be a good actress in her performances along with beauty. Meanwhile, the Ayesha-Matin couple has done well too. At the beginning of the film, there is an impression of irrelevance and carelessness in the dialogue which is incapable to connect with the main melody of the story. The eloquence and dialogue of Mofizu's character was of special importance along with the comic relief. The character was an intelligent portrayal of ‘Humor lives amid pathos’. Different stories can be tied together through his role play in the last half. In contrast, Mansur has shown how to see the colour of sadness by accompanying the dead body on a journey.

The track 'Mombati' with Mohan Sharif's vocal melody has created a divergent atmosphere. There are also other minor incidents surrounding the movie in keeping with the traditional steamer ride. That is why the director's careful observation cannot be overlooked as an audience. Since the second part, the director has gradually humanized his movie by gently increasing the pace of the story. In the ensuing crisis, first-class passengers came down and stood in a line with the passengers on the lower deck, saying that they would eat some food (rice and pulse) for 200 BDT. That scene is like sticking in the eyes for a long time. At that time, Mofizur came to the line and was seen advising the person who was delivering rice and pulses to give him less food so that he could earn more profit. To exacerbate the crisis, the corpse was seen smelling the rotting food next to food lines. Everyone wanted to vomit because of the smell of the corpse! That situation became quite real in the scene of flies buzzing around and the rats were running over the wooden coffin to eat the decomposed corpse. Really an appreciating shot indeed!

Nevertheless, the last scene of the movie became the most significant one as Atik is confused from inside his body by the strange smell of his deed. Seeing that, Mansur is pushing two peppers in front of the plate so that Atiq can eat rice and pulse a little better. In a word, the way that the director chooses to show his perception and remorse about such an uncomfortable situation on the screen without any dialogue is just extraordinary in one word. In such a situation, Atiq could not bear it anymore and started vomiting. As if he wanted to be cleansed by removing all the guilt hidden in himself! Mofizur and Mansur were seen in a juxtaposition in Atiq's background trying to reduce the smell of corpse carried with them so the smell does not spread around. While all this was happening, the orange ship was not yet reached its intended destination.

The writer is an independent filmmaker of Bangladesh and international lead juror of “2020 Reel Youth Film Festival", Vancouver, Canada


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