Ekalavya movie review

Ekalavya Review: Storytelling Needed To Be Crispier

I won't say that Ekalavya is not worth watching. It scores more brownies than some of the Assamese films released in recent times

January 8, 2022

Ekalavya, the year's first Assamese movie to be released in cinema halls, is one of those films that tries hard to deliver the knockout punch right from the beginning, but goes haywire in the middle, tries to come back on track, and eventually ends with the expected flat end.

Starring Kamal Lochan and Roopchanda Sarma in the lead roles, Ekalavya's other cast members include Arun Nath, Himanshu Gogoi, Atanu Mahanta, Chinmoy Kakati, Mukut Nath, and Karishma Pujari. Mintu Baruah and Aparna Dutta Choudhury also appear in cameos.

The story begins with Abhay (Kamal Lochan) being taken to jail. He has been charged with IPC 511 and 307 for attempted rape and murder and has been sent for 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.

In jail, Abhay faces a lot of discomforts. He is constantly harassed by some inmates. They constantly instigate him for a fight, which Abhay keeps dodging.

Though they keep showing their supremacy over Abhay, the goons disperse and leave him alone in Raja's (Chinmay Kakati) presence.  Sensing their fear for Raja, Abhay hangs around Raja whenever possible. The plan works and the goons stop teasing him.

The film then goes into a flashback where it is shown that after Abhay's mother's death, he starts to feel lonely, which goes unnoticed by his father (Arun Nath). Nath essays the role of a school headmaster. Being better than Abhay in studies, Nath decides to fund the education of his maid's son Bijoy (Mukut Nath). After Bijoy's mother's death, Nath adopts him and this creates a rift between Abhay with his father. The only thing that keeps Abhay happy is Kavya (Roopchanda Sarma), his school crush. The childhood romance transpires well as they enter adulthood. This innocence is perfectly portrayed by both actors.

The movie then leaps forward six years. In these six years, Abhay and Raja become friends, and Raja also gets Abhay out on bail. The story moves to and fro, revealing more about Abhay's love for Kavya, the incident that puts him behind bars, the friendship between Abhay and Vyas (Himanshu Gogoi), and finally, revealing the real culprit who committed the crime for which Abhay was arrested.

Ekalavya's story isn't something that we haven't seen earlier. Stories like these were common in Bollywood in the 70s and 80s. There is nothing wrong with trying to retell an old tale. However, what doesn't work with Ekalavya is the execution.

Ekalavya's storytelling lacks the spark required. It needed to be crispier. It tries to tell several things, but without a definite direction. A simple story has been unnecessarily made complex.

From the performance point of view, Kamal Lochan as Abhay is good in patches. He needs to work diligently on his dialogue delivery and voice modulation.

The scene where he is shown standing on a bridge and crying out loud is the best. It reveals his potential as an actor.

Ekalavya's standout performance comes from Himanshu Gogoi. He brings Vyas alive.

As Kavya, Roopchanda Sarma has nothing much to do apart from smiling in the beginning and showing demented emotions towards the end. Her character could have been presented in a much stronger way.

Arun Nath's acting talent has been wasted.

There is nothing much to write about the others, except Atanu Mahanta and Karishma Pujari.

Mahanta does show some promise, but it comes too late in the film.

Pujari as the rape victim in a state of coma for six years has done a commendable job. It is not easy to carry a single expression throughout the entire length of the film.

The cinematography of the movie is average. Apart from a handful of beautifully executed shots, there is nothing much to write about it. In some parts, the camera was shaky, the actors were out of focus, and they even went out of frame.

The editing also needed to be tighter.

What affected Ekalavya the most was director Alfred Haque's "foggy" vision. A bit of wiping the fog away could have rectified the loopholes.

The film's saviour is its music. Both the background score and the songs have been brilliantly composed. The music stays with you long after you leave the theatre.

I won't say that Ekalavya is not worth watching. It scores more brownies than some of the Assamese films released in recent times. Not just Assamese movies, Ekalavya is also better than most of the Hindi blockbusters released last year.

Our movie-watching experiences have changed over the years, and we have also been introduced to new styles of movie-making. When compared to these styles, Ekalavya seems like old wine in the same bottle. A bit crisp touch would have Ekalavya a better movie than what it is now.

I will go with 2/5 stars for Ekalavya, and these points are solely for Himanshu Gogoi's performance and the soulful music.

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