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  • Published 8.09.08

Five balding men and me. That was the crowd profile on the balcony of Radha cinema when Friday’s evening show of Antaratama began to roll.

The next two hours and 10 minutes proved just why. The five balding men had nowhere better to go for an evening siesta and I had no other film to review. So, we sat through the never-ending and oh-so-soppy love triangle based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel Swami.

Sreelekha is Soudamini, an educated village belle with a mind of her own who falls for the affluent foreign-returned Naren (Shyamal Akash from Bangladesh). Romance blossoms between the two only to bore the five bald men to sleep and me to desperation (to run).

Out of nowhere the two start singing Rabindrasangeet in the rains, around the trees and near a pond. After singing four Tagore songs in 20 minutes, the two decide to tie the knot. But not before Naren heads off to finish his studies abroad, leaving Soudamini behind to languish in love.

All is not well in her family; her uncle dies and her mother chooses a groom for her. So Soudamini croons four more painfully long Tagore tracks before tying the knot with Ghanashyam (Chiranjit).

But Naren returns to reignite the passion in Soudamini and the two decide to elope before she manages to hum another Tagore track. Though Soudamini develops a soft spot for her philanthropic husband, she decides to choose love over marriage.

Sreelekha and Chiranjit are competent, especially in the emotional moments together. After her glam girl role in Tollylights, Sreelekha looks good in cotton saris and barir bou make-up. Chiranjit does justice to his role of a husband torn between the love for his wife and the duty towards family. But Shyamal disappoints big time. Be it dialogue delivery or expressions, he fails miserably with his amateurish acting.

Even after signing up two competent stars (Sreelekha and Chiranjit), Soumya-Supriya go wrong with their debut venture. Too many songs, incoherent dialogues, poor editing and lengthy shots of Sreelekha shedding tears will make you yawn. Yes, that’s how the five balding men and I left Radha — yawning.