- Release Date: 29/07/2023
- Platform: Chorki
- Cast: Afran Nisho, Tama Mirza, Shahiduzzaman Selim, Mostafa Monwar
- Director: Raihan Rafi
‘Surongo‘ chronicles the journey of Masud (played by Afran Nisho), a simple and content man who falls head over heels in love with the wildly spirited Moyna (portrayed by Tama Mirza). Their romance swiftly blooms as Moyna shows unprecedented interest in Masud. The two soon marry, but then their story takes a sinister turn. Moyna’s insatiable desire for material possessions takes a toll on Masud’s already fragile financial situation, forcing him to seek employment abroad to meet her demands. When Masud leaves India, Moyna does the unthinkable, not only shattering Masud’s life and happiness but also setting him on a path that transforms him into a hardened criminal unafraid to commit the vilest acts imaginable.
‘Surongo’ changes its genre every 20-25 minutes:
The film begins as a romantic comedy, then evolves into a tragic romantic drama, before transforming into a heist film. But that’s not all; it further morphs into a darkly funny, sarcastic commentary on the current societal situation and the struggles of a man seeking true love within it. Finally, it culminates as a slasher with unflinching violence that can catch many viewers by surprise, considering the film’s initial tone. What makes the film even more enjoyable is how the director sets up shots and edits each of these segments in a way that starkly differs in presentation but is in strong keeping with the genre it corresponds to. The presentation still maintains a sense of unity in the overall feel and never lets its audiences question its realism, authenticity and tone.
The direction by Raihan Rafi and writing by Nazim Ud Daula is outstanding:
Every segment of the film is crafted with meticulous attention to detail, and the writer-director duo wholeheartedly commits to each genre, fully embracing the demands of the overall storyline. They hold nothing back, resulting in a screenplay that feels comprehensive and successfully justifies nearly all the genres it aims to address. Despite its substantial runtime of 2 hours and 37 minutes, the film maintains a breezy pace, keeping the audience engaged until its conclusion. This achievement is attributed not only to the exceptional writing and direction but also to the phenomenal performances, which we will discuss later. The film’s ability to convey a heartfelt narrative while delving intimately into its protagonist’s struggles and heart-wrenching predicament ensures that the audience remains captivated and emotionally invested throughout the entire viewing experience.
Afran Nisho is sensational as the protagonist:
Afran Nisho is a formidable presence in the theatre and OTT landscape of Bangladesh, and ‘Surongo’ marks his big-screen debut. He delivers an outstanding performance that harmonizes seamlessly with every aspect of the film. I was in awe of how effortlessly he transitioned from one facet of his character to another, rendering each aspect with a striking naturalness. The writers provide him ample opportunities to showcase his acting prowess, and he reciprocates by delivering a portrayal that is as heartfelt as it is captivating. Nisho’s performance is particularly remarkable in moments where he conveys grief, confusion, and a profound sense of loss while striving to reunite with his wife, Moyna. His excellence shines in these segments.
As the film progresses, we witness a much darker and more sinister version of his character, one that feels just as credible as any other facet of his performance but carries a significant shock value. It would have been easy for any actor to overact in these moments, but Nisho not only stays within the boundaries that underline and define the character’s authenticity but also manages to evoke a sense of shock and dread for the character’s actions.
Tama Mirza impresses as the primary antagonist:
I’ve learned from some of my friends who closely follow Bangladeshi films that Raihan Rafi can be likened to Luv Ranjan of Indian cinema. In many of his works, his female characters often take on a villainous nature, and he appears to emphasize the darker aspects of women characters in his films. Moyna is no exception. She is one of the worst individuals one could ever fall in love with, and even worse, marry. She not only shatters Masud’s life and happiness but, through her continual deceit, emotional torment, and insults, transforms him into a bleak and embittered individual. His hatred for the person he once loved blinds him to the fundamental qualities that had made him a gentle, modest, and kind-hearted human being.
Tama Mirza’s portrayal of Moyna is pitch-perfect in capturing the unbridled villainy of the character. She efficiently delivers the insults and heart-wrenching blows that shatter Masud’s world, doing so with conviction and unadulterated malevolence. I was truly impressed by the realism and sheer intensity of her performance. Equally remarkable is her portrayal in the initial segments of the film when we see the couple as an innocent and quirky duo. As Moyna’s character transitions from being a ruthless money-grabber to being unrelentingly cruel to someone as sincere and devoted as Masud, one can’t help but experience a strong sense of aversion towards her. The audience revels in every misfortune that befalls her, yet remains unsatisfied—such is the depth of Mirza’s portrayal, which infuses pure villainy into the character. Without her performance, this character would not have the impactful presence it ultimately has on the storyline.
Shahiduzzaman Selim’s comic timing is impeccable:
The film’s dark comedy finds its way to the audience through the character of Apel Khan, brilliantly played by Selim. His rendition of the character is delightful and he infuses his unique brand of humour, making the comedy emanating from his lines and his delivery truly unmissable. It’s not just the comedy in his dialogue, but also his performance and interpretation of the character that adds to the charm of the character and the moments. Shahiduzzaman Selim grabs your attention with his impeccable comic timing and fantastic execution of humour in moments that might not be particularly funny if it weren’t for his portrayal. He also intriguingly shifts gears in certain situations, revealing a more ruthless side of the character. Selim has ample screen time, and he certainly makes the most of it.
It wouldn’t be wrong to admit that the ensemble cast of the film is brilliant throughout. Even minor characters are beautifully rendered and essayed by dedicated actors who give it their all.
‘Surongo’ unfolds as a cautionary tale, warning us of the consequences when a man devotes his all to a fundamentally deceitful woman. While the story may feel somewhat familiar, it offers unique elements and perspectives that make it an utterly delightful watch. We witness the transformation of a simple man, meticulously moulded into a formidable criminal force because of his unwavering love and dedication for a woman who doesn’t truly deserve it. This narrative serves as a reminder to never lose ourselves for someone else and urges us to be cautious about the unbridled passion and obsession to possess someone’s love and presence in our lives.
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Through the Masud’s poignant dialogues in key moments, the director underscores the importance of money and success in achieving a prosperous and harmonious love life, a message I wholeheartedly agree with. These are some of the most valuable life lessons to take away from this film. However, beyond these themes, the movie also offers an engaging blend of drama and entertainment that can be appreciated on various levels. There’s something for everyone, and I foresee myself revisiting this film multiple times, confident that this will be the case for most who watch this film.
Rating: 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)
The views expressed in this article are that of the reviewer and do not reflect EastMojo’s position.
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