Those who have seen the likes of 'Chorabali', 'Television' and contemporary Indian movies like 'Gangajaal', 'OMG' are familiar with the thriving newbie genre of showcasing sub-continental 'nifty' politics and centuries old radical traditions. 'Jalaler Golpo' another addition to this enlarging lineup, manifests these themes in a grand new way. The movie stands out for absence of songs, dances and romances a typical feature of South Asian movies.
The story is about a lost boy who gets adopted thrice before being abandoned for the curse of his identity crisis. In the third time though, it is Jalal the protagonist himself who chooses to abandon himself for a child whose fate deems to become like his own. The themes involved with this story ---envious village politics, destructive superstitions, ambitions for gaining power through election, deadly political equations are familiar to almost every South Asian. The basis of the plot may not seem too far from a prosaic one to a modern viewer. However the ending strikes a balance for all these since everyone expecting Jalal to finally confront the antagonist or at least fly off with the oppressed lady will be baffled to see Jalal 'losing' his life almost intentionally. The linear progress of the plot unravels civilisation in its basest form bit by bit. At the beginning we only get to see the foolish hankerings after money and the spiteful rivalry it ushers in when it comes to societies below the poverty line. As the story moves to the second stage this hankering for money and power brings about despoliation and fall of moral standards which in the third stage rises to total savagery.
Post modern absurdism is heard in the undertone of the movie, propagating that no one can be blamed without being biased. If the villages themselves and illiteracy, bigotry prevailing throughout them should be hold responsible for allowing malpractices the absence of educated people and city dwellers should also be questioned. In the movie there is hardly any educated person visible. Everything goes on the way it always was. And though in the course of time we see people growing conscious about voting representatives based rather on their character than on their reproductive prowess things do not improve much and on the contrary worsens.
If Shajib the notorious owner of a brick factory is to be convicted with suppression of women, rape, mass murder it needs to be remembered that he was the one who took Jalal in and envisaged to name Jalal his heir while others looked only for their own blood to preserve their names. His barbaric conscientiousness in this regard is far more elevated than the judiciary system of civilised villages. In a world where harshness of life hardly leaves any other option left than to fight back fate with merciless hands it indeed becomes confusing to make any point. While men like Miraj and Karim relents to darker means to win against fate Jalal does not. Even the oppressed female characters of the movie like Rahima and Shila in a way embraces their odd realities. But Jalal remains stiff from his birth which partly explains his lankiness and reservedness. He does not take actions against those we know to be devils like Amin does against his mater in Humayun Ahmed's Chandrakatha. Jalal knows the only villain if there is any is reflected in the mirror. Thus he does not support nor oppose anything. Whether the movie deals with this deliberately or not it does explain the reason behind Jalal's death.
Feminism is another principal factor of the movie. Jalal being intricately jointed with this factor develops intimacy with every feminine figure of the movie. Each of the suppressed women tends to forget their past and forgive their oppressors after being overwhelmed by emotions. This certainly does not indicate at female frailties but rather at the largeness of a typical feminine heart not chained by reasons as they do not seem to exist in the first place. And thus Jalal who does not grapple to come to terms with reality like all his male adopters do and remains neutral throughout harbors a safe recluse for all these ladies.
But it is neither the plot nor the themes that makes 'Jalaler Golpo' a must watch movie. It is rather the composition of the content, the strategy that Emon employs that takes the breath away. From the beginning to the end every single background is pictured significantly. The story is seemingly melancholic but the director does not let it bother us. There is no song or dance but there is hardly any ironic or sad music audible as well. Most of the backgrounds are scarcely populated and the fields and rivers are usually lonely. But the vibrant golden color of hay fields, cloudy but thunder free skies and rareness of night and ominous scenes strike a contradiction. Daytime instead of night is selected for most of the murderous crimes and lustful encounters. As if the director is echoing the thought of his local viewers that horridness is just another part of life and again the absurdist thought that there is not much distance between light and dark. The timing is perfect. None of the dissolving scenes seems abrupt. The transcending scenes are craftily curved as in the first major transcendence we get to hear about Jalal lamenting for his first mother just when the second one is about to come and in the third one we get a glimpse at Shajib's innovative style of paying homage to his victims.
As for acting the non major characters themselves speak for it. The Kabiraj with his occasional and irritating grunts though is tasked with the purpose of satirising a conventional radical religious cleric is not casted forcefully by all means. Likewise all the followers, servant and henchmen act with an ease of flow. Shajib's two sidekicks are perfect imagery of sidekicks of modern Indian gangsters who are neither as posh or sadistic like those from the west nor backdated.
Surprise puns appear in the movie when Karim has a final look at his moustache a family icon before finally cutting it off while blindly following superstitions in order to attain keys to politics and power. Again we see Shajib as he withdraws his orders of inflicting all out violence after failing to abort his illegitimate child so that he might make up for the controversy the existence of this child might spur in coming election. The cunning stratagems used by Shajib in politics are also crucial. Political factors -the opposition only pretends to rest but actually never rests, the practice of leaving an heir just in case as there is no room for over confidence are ideas not expected to arise in an uneducated mind but such is the case. All in all 'Jalaler Golpo' gives messages felt by every developing nation from heart with added touch for deeper ruminations.