Kaushik Ganguly does well with Brake Fail

Frm left: Parambrata Chatterjee, Rituparno Ghosh, Swastika Mukherjee and Indraneel Sengupta at the Brake Fail premiere

From left: Parambrata Chatterjee, Rituparno Ghosh, Swastika Mukherjee and Indraneel Sengupta at the Brake Fail premiere

Brake Fail
Cast: Anu Kapoor, Saswata Chatterjee, Santu Mukherjee, Parambrata, Swastika
Direction: Kaushik Ganguly
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The famed Bengali sense of humour and wit used to be an intrinsic part of films made during the so called golden age of Bengali cinema, the 1960s and ’70s. As film directors mysteriously lost their knack for finding comedy in everyday situations in the subsequent decades, the fun all but disappeared from our cinema.

Kaushik Ganguly, thank you for bringing it back with a film in which PG Wodehouse effortlessly meets Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay meets Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

If we ignore some of the weaker performances — but more on those later — Brake Fail is a nonsensical and fun-filled joyride that ought to draw family audiences in hordes. The direction is neat and light (note Ganguly’s deft handling of issues like communalism), the dialogues crisp and genuinely funny (Ganguly again), the editing and camera work competent (Mainak Bhaumik and Rakesh Kumar Singh). Granted, the look is not as glossy as that of some recent Tollywood productions, but if content is king, a few more films like Brake Fail will set Tollywood’s much hyped revival firmly on its way.

Essentially based on (deliberately) mistaken identities, the plot of Brake Fail relies mostly on situational comedy, with hilarious one-liners helping things along. Village boy Sidhu (Param) and village girl Hena (Swastika) meet and fall in love, but must endure several trials and tribulations — aided and hindered in equal measure by a golden-hearted garage boss (Kapoor) and his crazy assistants (Saswata et al) — before they can be united.

Thrown into the mad mix are well etched peripheral characters reminiscent of the kind we find in Shirshendu’s stories for children — principal among them Lorryda and Lorry boudi — played to perfection by Paran Bandopadhyay and Tanima Sen.

In terms of performance, the film belongs to Kapoor, Saswata, and, in the second half, Santu Mukherjee, brilliantly supported by Lama and Taranga. Param and Swastika are not challenged much, so it would not be fair to judge their relatively lukewarm performances.

Finally, a word about the music. Neel Dutt is in great form as usual, but the songs do slow the film down. Perhaps we could listen to them on the album only?

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