Cast: Gunjan Bhardwaj, Munmi Phukan, Kenny Basumatary, Lima Das, Anupam Kaushik Borah, Alishmita Goswami, Bonny Deori, Poonam Gurung
Director: Kenny Deori Basumatary
Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)
Romantic love, over the years, has become a rare commodity both in the real world and the celluloid sphere. Tender touches, fleeting looks at each other, and awkward yet cute exchanges have been replaced by stalking, physicality, and an ever-increasing indulgence of physical intimacy over emotional and romantic fluffiness. This is where Kenny Deori Basumatary’s Tomar Opekhyat scores heavily, as it is a tread back to the good old days of romance when love was innocent, pristine, and selfless. It brought back memories of my first crush, first romantic dialogues, and an insatiable desire to do the right thing in her presence. The series is about four different love stories wherein the guys are in some way or the other precariously close to their true loves but making their way into their love’s heart proves elusive, and in at least one case impossible.
Bhaskar (Gunjan Bhardwaj) is in love with Sunita (Munmi Phukan) for the past 3 years but hasn’t dared to tell her his feelings even though they are best friends. After her latest breakup, he decides to give her a month to recuperate and then tell her his feelings. Sadly for Bhaskar, Sunita recovers in 15 days, and he is left bewildered. Gautam (Bonny Deori) is betrayed in love by his girlfriend who has been two-timing him for over a year. Heartbroken, he finds solace in the company of Hana (Poonam Gurung), who offers to train him in martial arts. Soon, Gautam develops feelings for her but his expression of love is met with a sudden snap of their friendship by Hana. Desperate, Gautam tries to understand what wrong he did to deserve such disdain.
Arif (Anupam Kaushik Borah) meets Pinky (Alishmita Goswami) at a party where they immediately strike a chemistry. They seem to be the perfect match in mind and spirit. After Pinky leaves the party unceremoniously after an embarrassing episode, Arif makes up his mind to track her the next day and carry the relationship forward. Strangely enough, no one in the party seems to recognise or remember Pinky, and it appears as if she never existed. Singer Joseph (Kenny Deori Basumatary) crosses paths with a fellow singer Moitreyee (Lima Das) multiple times always appreciating one aspect or another of her but never meets her. When they finally meet, a bizarre misunderstanding threatens to ensure that they never meet each other again. However, cupid has other plans for them.
Each of the stories in this tale may seem simple on the surface but is peppered with such character development and is brimming with so much energy and heart that within moments of the commencement of the series we are lured into the world of the individual characters. I was able to identify with almost all the boys at different levels and it is this personal connection with the characters that is at the heart of why all the stories were so endearing and loveable. There is such a sense of simplicity and romance in each of the stories that it is impossible not to fall in love with them. It must also be noted that each of the stories is interesting and can hold on to our attention. That goes on a long way into making the series intriguing and investing.
This is a character-driven drama, and the performances by the ensemble cast make up for almost 90% of the series. I am glad that each and every one of the cast members excelled in their respective performances. Even minor characters played by Bibhash Sinha, Rubul Boro, Himanshu Gogoi, Rajib Kro, and Dipjyoti Dutta have perfect comic timing and made me roll with laughter. I have to agree that it would help if one was an Axomia to understand and enjoy this humour fully but when it is done so well, chances are its appeal will be extensive in some inexplicable way.
It is extremely difficult to pick out a favourite among the major character as every one of them has done such a great job. Gunjan Bhardwaj as the hopelessly-in-love Bhaskar who doesn’t have the courage to express his feelings is wonderful. I just loved the sense of helplessness that he brought to the character, and it felt utterly and heartbreakingly real. Munmi Phukan exuded just the right kind of gusto to make Sunita feel like a character that would be so difficult for Bhaskar to approach with his true feelings. Bonny Deori and Poonam Gurung are refreshingly real and subtle in a track that must have been difficult to handle and envision. Seeing Bonny being able to bring such depth to a nuanced character that hasn’t lost its sense of humour was wonderful. Poonam Gurung is the perfect foil for him, and it’s impossible to imagine anyone else playing the character.
Anupam Kaushik Borah and Alishmita Goswami had to make an impact strong enough for the audiences to get hooked to their track in one scene. They both displayed the kind of charm and organic charisma that is not only bound to grasp the audience’s attention straight away but would also make them wish that these two were reunited immediately. That is saying a lot about how effective they were in their respective essays. Last but not the least, Lima Das and Kenny Deori Basumatary are just as good as we expect them to be. They are both so comfortable in the skin of the characters that they inhabit that their comfort rubs on to the audiences who are hooked to their tale. The fact that they are both equally charming and charismatic, albeit in totally different ways, only makes their essay that much more enjoyable.
Tomar Opekhyat’s music is soulful. The songs make perfect sense and they are placed in portions that were elevated by their placement. The melodies are soulful, extract a gamut of emotions, and are performed immaculately. The best kind of music never forces us to feel in a certain way but complements the feelings that the situations trigger. That is the most apt definition for the music of Tomar Opekhyat. While I was too enamored by the 4 stories of the series, I did occasionally notice the technical finesses that the series had on its side. Be it the editing or the cinematography, the series felt extremely well made and yet wasn’t too polished to detach us from the world that it was trying to place us into —a world that we all know all too well.
Tomar Opekhyat is the perfect Valentine’s week watch. It can be enjoyed by different people at different levels for different reasons. The performances and the endearing stories are at the heart of its success. The music is an additional pull and I am confident that it will soon become a melody that will be on everyone’s lips this valentine’s day. I was excited to see how Kenny Deori Basumatary’s style of filmmaking would fit into a romantic series and I was blown away by his accomplishment. Tomar Opekhyat is a must-watch for every Axomia romantic.