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Love in the time of hate

Is it the Priyanka-Rizwanur love story? It is and yet it is not.

The Priyanka-Rizwanur angle begins and ends with a rich girl marrying a poor boy much against her family’s wishes. A manipulative uncle steers the hunt for the runaway couple, but there are no cops interfering and, hence, no Lalbazar.

Chirodini... Tumi Je Aamar could as well be a version of QSQT or any other tragic teen love story done to death on screen. But Raj Chakraborty’s directorial debut turns the cliche on its head and makes a two-hour-20-minute entertainer, without the tackiness, sloppiness and meaningless melodrama typical of mainstream Tollywood.

Chirodini’s strength is its screenplay — smart, crisp and racy with neat shot divisions, life-like situations and convincing characters.

The story unfolds in Siliguri where schoolgirl Pallabi (Priyanka) and garage mechanic Krishna (Rahul) keep bumping into each other and soon fall in love. She hails from a rich family with underworld connections, he’s a school dropout with a shanty for home. When Pallabi’s marriage is fixed elsewhere, the two decide to elope and tie the knot.

Chakraborty’s young lead pair has crackling chemistry. The scruffy Rahul with his lean look and soiled clothes is a delightful contrast to the glamorous Priyanka nurtured in luxury. They frolick in the sea in dream sequences (she looks great, he looks funny) and loll in bed in a dingy room in reality. Priyanka does a good job of prancing around in a towel too.

The lovebirds land up in Calcutta where Krishna’s do-gooder friend Ali (Rudranil) helps them sneak into his shabby, old messbari with pigeonhole rooms overflowing with bachelor boarders.

The storytelling is backed up by an army of competent actors — Rudranil, Tamal Roy Chowdhury, Rita Koiral, Gita Dey and the bunch of idiosyncratic men filling up the messbari. Watch out for Dance Bangla Dance kid anchor Aritro Banik’s garage assistant act.

Chakraborty has also got the secondary things right. Like locations, costumes (except the red lipstick and high heels that Priyanka wears to school) and song sequences.

Premer Kahini hero Dev’s item number blends in too; it forms the backdrop for Pallabi-Krishna’s hush-hush wedding on the messbari rooftop.

Just when everything seems right, the melodramatic climax dampens the real-life feel. Pallabi’s father and his goons beat Krishna to pulp, while she howls, fails to stop them and suffers a blackout.

Do they both die like Aamir-Juhi in QSQT, or does one live and the other die like Priyanka-Rizwanur?

Buy a ticket to see the final tragic twist.

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