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Honest Reviews: ‘Jodi Ekdin,’ Tahsan channels his inner Shah Rukh Khan

  • Published at 08:56 pm March 14th, 2019
Jodi Ekdin
Official poster of the film 'Jodi Akdin' | Facebook

The best character in the film is Jamie, portrayed by Taskeen Rahman, a popular musician. When he says “Autograph Naki Photograph,” I feel that he has already delivered the most memorable line in the film. I was proven wrong by the end.

Tahsan Khan’s debut film “Jodi Ekdin” is a treat for all its viewers. It is high in entertainment value—objectively speaking—and subjectively, the reasons why it is entertaining is the topic of raucous debate among Tahsan’s fans and lovers of Bangladeshi cinema.

Let us look at the characters first.

Tahsan portrays the role of Faisal, an architect of some sort, who is very professional. The only time he is unprofessional is when his alleged daughter, Rupkotha, throws tantrums at his home. In those moments, Faisal  leaves whatever work he is doing and runs across his office—like Shah Rukh Khan runs on train platforms—to appease Rupkotha's  mind. You are probably wondering why I referred to Rupkotha as an alleged daughter. I promise by the time this review ends, you understand the exact nature of Faisal’s relationship with Rupkotha.

Rupkotha, Faisal’s alleged daughter, is a spoiled brat who has OCD about the way her boiled egg is shelled. The film shows that Faisal’s mother shells the egg in a very uncaring way, while Faisal does a more flawless job. I suppose the director wanted to show that men, too, can flawlessly partake in cooking activities (like shelling eggs) but I feel that his mother being shown as an uncaring grandmother, is an insult to all grandmothers of Bangladesh. More on Rupkotha’s tantrums later. 

Kolkata’s screen siren, Srabanti Chatterjee, plays the new popular archetype of films, a female protagonist who tries to entice the male lead; instead of the (boring) other way round. Srabanti’s character, Aritri, is hired by Faisal’s office, and automatically starts judging her boss’ professionalism. She frequently bickers with her friend Aadri (Naziba Basher) that her boss is too cold and does not look at her properly, which is apparently a break in the pattern among guys she usually deals with. 

When Aadri protests that not all guys should be generalized, Aritri proves her point by standing up in a restaurant and saying “Excuse me! May I get some help please?” Believe it or not, the film showed all the men in the restaurant, standing up to crowd around her. I thought that all the self-respect, which a well-educated middle class Dhakaite male might have, is ground to dust at that very scene. Yet, we are merely at the exposition stage of the film at that point.

The best character in the film is Jamie, portrayed by Taskeen Rahman, a popular musician. When he says “Autograph Naki Photograph,” I feel that he has already delivered the most memorable line in the film. I was proven wrong by the end.

Having covered the nature of the characters in the film, let us look at how the plot unfolds and reaches its climax.

So, Aritri fails to woo her boss, Faisal, who plays hard to get. Conveniently, their office requires both of them to travel to Cox’s Bazar, to deal with a construction project in some vague way. Faisal also takes his alleged daughter Rupkotha on the trip. Aritri turns out to manage the spoilt Rupkotha, cracking Faisal’s professional demeanor. In a swimming pool scene, where Aritri seems to be having lots of fun with Rupkotha in the water, Faisal lets go of all his professionalism and secretly “objectifies” Aritri, who was attired in a one-piece swimsuit, which is too revealing for a Bangladeshi family drama.   

By the end of the trip, Rupkotha loves Aritri and wants her to be her mother. Aritri confesses to her parents that she has a crush on her boss, which prompts her parents to visit Faisal’s house with a proposal. This is another change to the usual customs shown in films; the girl’s parents visit the potential groom’s home with a proposal, instead of the other way round. Faisal throws a tantrum, like Rupkotha, after they leave, saying that he loves his “alleged daughter” too much, and does not want to bring in someone who might be a threat to her. Faisal also meets Aritri and makes his point clear. Aritri is saddened and her father starts shouting at her for treating marriage like a relationship. I feel that the actor who plays Aritri’s father acted very well in that scene.

Then, a man names Jamie comes to Dhaka, and Aritri starts dating him to keep her mind off Faisal. Faisal sees them together at a restaurant, and becomes jealous. Rupkotha starts crying regularly because Aritri does not pick up her calls. This leads to Faisal going to Jamie’s house. It is at this point that we find out that Faisal and Jamie were once college friends, and they have some bitter history between them.

When Faisal pries into Aritri’s personal life, at the office, by asking her personal questions, Aritri reveals that she will soon marry Jamie. Faisal meets Jamie and threatens him with physical violence, if he goes through with the marriage. Jamie retaliates by calling Faisal and announcing, “I am Jamie, and I can get any girl that I want.” Jamie announces that his engagement ceremony with Aritri is the following day.

The film's climax occurs  at the engagement ceremony, and it feels more like a scene from a TV series than one from a film. Faisal gatecrashes the engagement party—with Rupkotha and his mother—and reveals how he came by his alleged daughter. Faisal starts revealing truth about Jamie’s past. Faisal once loved a girl, who actually loved Jamie. Jamie left her pregnant, leading to a falling-out between the friends. The unfortunate woman passed away during Rupkotha’s birth, and instructed the nurse to call Faisal. And that is how Faisal ended up adopting Rupkotha, who is really Jamie’s child. This made me suspect that Faisal’s plan was to lose the daughter and take the wife.

Jamie tries to hug his child, who shies away from his scary eyes and abrupt hugging. It is then Jamie delivers the best line of the film: “I am Jamie to the entire world except you. For you I have always been ‘Mofosholer’ (small town) Jamil.” All the people at the cinema erupted with laughter at this dramatic development, and I somberly announced to a viewer next to me that a flood of memes about “Mofosholer Jamil” is coming soon.

Both friends, Faisal and Jamil, accused each other of winning every time and started crying like Shah Rukh Khan, the way he does in Karan Johar films. After the fateful engagement ceremony, somehow, Faisal and Aritri end up again at Kolatoli beach of Cox’s Bazar. Faisal proposes to Aritri by saying: “Tumi ki amar bachchar ma hobe? ("Will you be the mother of my child?") cueing more laughter from the cinema hall. And then, hopefully, everybody lives happily ever after, and I say hopefully, because we do not know if Rupkotha stops her tantrums or not.

There you have it. The characters and the plot of Tahsan Khan’s debut film “Jodi Ekdin” or “Jodi Akdin.” The: color-grading, editing, cinematography, set design, shooting locations, casting, music, and acting were very good. However, the film is a laughing stock because of its predictable story and pathetic dialogue.

Tahsan, Taskeen and Srabanti did justice to their badly-written characters as best as they could. Afrin Shikha Raisa was also great in her portrayal of a spoiled brat, and it is not her fault, that the director needed Rupkotha to be this spoiled. The show was really stolen, in the acting department, by Naziba Basher; throughout the film, only her lines as a best friend seemed fitting, and her delivery was natural and seemed relatable.

While returning home, I kept wondering about the logic behind releasing “Jodi Ekdin” on International Women’s Day. Because of such a release date, I expected some elements of the films to reflect the times we are in; as in women being shown as vocal about workplace harassment, and being less influenced by the men in their lives. How naive was I?

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