While entering the cinema hall, I asked at the counter the reason for the comparatively low priced tickets. When you are getting a Dress Circle seat for Tk80, questions come up.
‘We don’t have air conditioning,’ the man replied casually. Oh, alright, I answered back.
Anyway, Raja Babu: I am the Power is the name of the film. Sakib Khan is back with a signature line: No Commitment, No Appointment, Only Punishment.
Right on, let the odyssey begin! The surrounding sound system plays the number: Elomelo Joubon (fiery youth in disarray!)
In one town (location unknown, areas similar to parts around Hatirjheel) two families: The Babus and the Sawdagors are locked in a power struggle, with the
former being the decent guys.
Members of the latter group are pre-Neolithic age creatures who spend their time gouging out eyes of those they do not like, piercing innocent passers-by with ornate swords and ogling at navel exposing dancers at alcohol-fueled rave parties.
Very edifying pastimes, I am sure! As a result of the family clash, the senior Babu hides the fact that his wife gave birth to a dead child, saying to the public of his area that to save his son from rival groups, he will be brought up in the city and only come back after twenty five years.
The actual truth is known by only a few though the ‘secret planning’ is all done with a large group of villagers standing hardly two feet away.
I think the norm in that town (Babunagar) is for all locals to put cotton in their ears before they go to pay respect to the Babu family.
In the next scene, we are twenty five years later where some businessman is surrounded by murderous extortionists. All of a sudden, with burning flames on his feet, Sakib Khan makes an entry.
There is loud cheer in the hall! Enter Raja Babu whose shoes emanate flames when he goes into action! As a mark of gratitude, the businessman gives him Tk50 lakh and Raja is in seventh heaven. Well, not quite, because for Raja to get the Raani and the ultimate bliss, some bitter sweet episodes need to be faced.
Toned down Apu Biswas is the lead actress and, for Raja, it’s love at first pout!
Going back to the beginning, the Babu family is looking for a suitable candidate to impersonate the grown up son with Raja fitting the bill perfectly.
I am sweating like hell and, in the darkness, notice that some sort of negotiation is underway between a group of young men and women also involving the usher/light-man.
In a jiffy, the couples are directed to pitch black corners with a swift flash of the torch. The rest can be summed up in the lines of Raja Babu: Commitment and Appointment!
Meanwhile, with my hand towel totally soaked, I am certainly in Punishment! At the palatial home of the Babu family there is a ‘femme-fatale’ in waiting: Bobby!
She does not believe in any wooing period. I take what I like – is her style.
Pushing Raja on the bed, she sits on top of him and commands: from today you are my half husband, and therefore I will give you half ‘ADOR’ (loving). How can someone say no with such a starving tigress on top! The heat within the hall and the smoldering looks from Bobby have strange impact on the audience.
They give out animal like cries; on the screen, the word ‘9C’ appears at regular intervals at different places, Bobby and Sakib begin a song: Chol Tuli Selfie, Dekhabo Premer Bhleki and the usher comes behind me and says, almost rhetorically: mamma, bhitre jaiben ni (do you want to go inside)?
Very surreal indeed!
With Raja in Babunagar, it’s time to salvage the lost pride of the family. There’s of course the little task of pounding some bad guys but no worries, Raja has two Raanis by his side: one is a wild cat, the other a dormant volcano……indeed he is the power!
Wait, we still have time for an item song: Cholona Dujone Mile One Two Kheli (let’s play the game of one-two) where the dancer gives ample suggestions as to what the ‘One-Two’ game will involve.
End verdict: the songs are nice, Sakib Khan looks terrific with the rough un-cut beard while Apu and Bobby are deliciously slim. And, in an air conditioned hall…….maybe you may watch the full thing.
I, however, decide to come out: sauna and a movie – the combination doesn’t work! Standing in the soft rays of the late afternoon sun, the line in my head: elomelo joubon, elomelo joubon!