Adventure of Sundarban: A great watch for children and young adults, despite its shortcomings
An adaptation of Muhammed Zafar Iqbal's novel 'Ratuler Raat Ratuler Din', Adventure of Sundarban was released on 20 January
Bangladesh has made a number of great films in recent years which is bringing fans back to theatres, but good children's movies have been few and far in between.
Enter 'Adventure of Sundarban', a new children's flick based on Muhammed Zafar Iqbal's best selling 2012 novel 'Ratuler Raat Ratuler Din'.
Iqbal is undoubtedly one of the best writers Bangladesh has ever produced, who predominantly writes for young audiences. 'Dipu Number 2' and 'Amar Bondhu Rashed', considered as the best children's movies in Bangladesh, were also adaptations of his books. Thus, there were tremendous expectations from Adventure of Sundarban before it hit the big screen. But has Abu Raihan Jewel's directorial debut, a government-sponsored film, good enough to win over the hearts of its audience?
Adventure of Sundarban had a very basic Iqbal-esque chronicle, where a group of young people embark on an adventurous journey before coming face to face with the 'bad people', and then fight back by showing utmost courage.
The original novel was not exclusively for children. The writer clarified this in the very beginning of his book. He intended the story for young adults. And this piece of information explains why the film's narrative had a romantic love triangle.
Zakaria Soukhin orchestrated the screenplay of the film. He remained loyal to the source material and kept most of Iqbal's bona fide dialogues. But it was not without its flaws. Not much happens during the first half of the film, it is only during the second half when the story begins to take an interesting turn, keeping the audience at the edge of their seats.
Dialogues were mostly witty, and bore the natural humour found in Iqbal's books. But in this day and age, it did feel somewhat dated. The conversations could have used a bit more realistic and modern touch.
The songs were good, but it did leave the audience wanting for more.
Suman Sarkar did a decent job as the cinematographer. He brilliantly captured the beauty of the world's largest mangrove forest as well as the sea route.
However, the biggest letdowns of the film were its actors. It had an ensemble cast, it starred Siam Ahmed and Porimoni as the leads. The cast also included Shahidul Alam Shacchu, Azad Abul Kalam, Kachi Khandkar, Ashish Khandakar, Abu Huraira Tanveer, and a group of child actors.But there was no stand-out performance from the adult actors. It seemed as if they did not take their job seriously, and their performance lacked sincerity. Childish acting from top to bottom really takes you out of the experience.
There was not much novelty or innovation in Jewel's direction. It was his responsibility to bring out the best out of his cast, and he failed to do so.
Overall, Adventure of Sundarban could not match the glories of 'Dipu Number 2' and 'Amar Bondhu Rashed'. But children and young -adults are way more forgiving towards flaws in a movie. So despite all its shortcomings and sillinesses, they will have a great time watching the film in theatres. They might even come back home with a few life lessons.