Director: Bobby Bandyopadhyay
Cast: Rii, Rudranil Ghosh, Anjana Basu, Shilajit, Meghna Halder
A pre-title disclaimer says: ‘No animals was hurmed during the shoot.’ You sit up. Then the title slides begin and one of them says: Story and Corrected Screenplay by Bandyopadhyay. By now Mr Bandyopadhyay has your complete attention. If after that the film does not quite measure up to your expectations, it’s no fault of the ‘corrected’ screenplay that has not ‘hurmed’ any animals – in a film that has none! It’s because your expectations cannot go any lower. And in a strange twist – quite literally so in the end – you even kind of warm up to the premise and the two leads, even if everything around them is pure camp. Maybe you do that because it is pure camp.
Ritwik (Shilajit Majumdar) is a loser with a capital L, a waiter at a seedy dance bar, who takes the last tram home every night – the only passenger in it. Like the average middle-age Bengali, who pulls out his muffler at the first hint of Kolkata’s almost non-existent winter, he drapes his head and face with one. Back home, he rushes through his dinner and then logs on to his desk top for his nightly fix. In between he walks over to the calendar on the wall and lusts after the buxom model gracing it, only to be interrupted by his wife Sumona (Anjana Basu) entering the room and advising him to ‘at least close the door’ when he is thus engaged.
It does not help that Sumona is a ‘prude’ who thinks Ritwik is a ‘pervert’ because he insists on keeping the lights on while making love. A schoolteacher by profession, Sumona has long phone conversations with her mother while waiting for Ritwik to get back, that is when she is not moping around the house and sighing over the love that has gone missing in their relationship. Her visits to the school seem to entail only sitting in the staff room, listening to unsolicited advice from her colleagues – who lament how she used to wear expensive lipstick and perfume at one time – on getting her act together. All in all, the two are in the throes of a classic midlife crisis.
Things turn around for Ritwik when on his way home one night he comes across a couple, Rudranil Ghosh and Payel Chakraborty (who died under mysterious circumstances in a hotel in Siliguri only a few days back). They have invented a ‘magical’ computer software called Dreamdot.com, which offers you a crack at wish-fulfilment.
Things turn around for Ritwik when on his way home one night he comes across a couple, Rudranil Ghosh and Payel Chakraborty (who died under mysterious circumstances in a hotel in Siliguri only a few days back). They have invented a ‘magical’ computer software called Dreamdot.com, which offers you a crack at wish-fulfilment. And soon enough Ritwik is experiencing a metamorphosis. His lady boss who only till the other day was prone to giving him a verbal whiplash for neglecting his work and yet having the temerity to ask for an increase in pay, while he balefully stared at her ample cleavage, now offers him a much-needed raise (in more ways than one).
A visit to his co-waiter friend’s house on the latter’s anniversary introduces him to his wife – to his shock, the model on the calendar in his room, who gives his libido a boost as they enter a clandestine relationship. Since one can never have too much of a good thing, Ritwik takes on another friend’s advice and meets a local don simply called Bhai (an unintentionally hilarious performance that reminded me of Rami Reddy’s campy ‘Spot Nana’, ‘Colonel Chikara’ and other similar acts in those ‘cult’ 1980s flicks). Soon, he is making money hand over fist, dealing in what Bhai calls ‘chini’ (sugar) and an orphanage for girls.
All this while, Sumona goes about with a hangdog expression, muttering such deeply felt words as ‘bujhte parchhi na ki hochhe’ (can’t make sense of what’s happening) – exactly echoing my thoughts – and soulfully singing Tagore’s ‘Khelaghar bandhte legechhi’ in what must rank as the funniest (I am not sure Tagore would have been amused though) and most inappropriate use of this classic song in any film ever.
Delightfully campy performances, corny dialogues often steeped in hilarious sexual innuendos, side-splitting faux ‘philosophical’ discussions on honesty and ambition, desire and goodness between the computer software couple as Ritwik soon finds himself drowning in a quicksand – Chaturtho Ripu is bottom of the barrel stuff right up to the ‘surprise’ twist in the tail, which, while not salvaging the film in any way, kind of makes it a very poor man’s Devil’s Advocate – if you take a very charitable view of the film, which I am inclined to for the guilty pleasure I derived from such low camp.
I will go for half a star, as much for that twist at the end, as for, well, the film actually ending. The filmmakers need not have worried about ‘hurming’ any animals, because the dozen or so watching it in the theatre were actually laughing their way right through at a film no amount of screenplay ‘correction’ could possibly rescue from being the unmitigated disaster it is.