Movie Review: Konttho (Kantho or Kontho)

“Smoking is injurious to health, it causes cancer.” How many times have you heard this warning in your life? No matter how many times you have heard it, it’s not a big thing, the thing is that we all are aware of this caution. But the question is, do we care about the caution at all?

Imagine, you are a radio jockey by profession and have been in this profession for almost forty years, and you have an outstanding reputation as a radio jockey. But in the morning, you woke up and realized you are dumb! You cannot speak! You cannot speak at all. How will you take the matter or how will you feel then?

Or think, you talked a lot but, there came a time when you saw your child, the dearest one, is falling from the roof but you could not warn him by your sound, and you are not being able to say your own words to the people of your surroundings; you have to write “leave me alone” on the slate as you cannot talk.

I don’t know how much I was able to connect with your mind from the first three paragraphs, I know one thing, you are thinking of something that you may not have thought of for a long time. However, these issues have been presented in an Indian Bengali movie titled ‘Konttho’.

I have watched a lot of films and movies and I forgot most of them. But I can say that I will never forget the movie ‘Konttho’ (Bengali: কণ্ঠ) directed by Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee under the banner of Windows in India.

Stories, that are so powerful, carry important messages to society, are rare and so do portraying characters and presentations in the Bangla film industries (Dhallywood and Tollywood). However, the Roy-Mukherjee director duo has done it beautifully. Here, Mr Shiboprosad Mukherjee, one of the directors of the film, played the lead role: Arjun Mallick.

Arjun Mallick is the main protagonist of the film. He has a habit of smoking. He is a radio jockey. He has been a very popular radio jockey for years. Someday, it was found that he failed to speak at an award-giving ceremony; because there was no sound coming out of his throat. Later tests revealed that he had cancer and he would have to undergo surgery to remove the voice box of him. It is a horrible situation for an RJ and his family. When you are an RJ, you must depend on your voice to earn. Someday, you are prescribed to remove your voice box through surgery, what will be your reaction then? This is the beginning of the story.

Shiboprasad Mukherjee has played the role of laryngectomy patient Arjun Mallick in the movie ‘Konttho’. He has done such a beautiful job with the role of Arjun. I saw a real Arjun Mallick in him in the whole movie.

This is not like a melodramatic movie, it has drama that it needs. I do not know if there were made any other movies based on laryngectomy patients before Konttho, but this story has touched my heart. It can be said that the movie- Konttho can inspire not only those patients but also every person who continues to fight without giving up.

In this film, Paoli Dam and Jaya Ahsan were as impeccable as ever. Paoli Dam played the role of Pritha Mallik. Pritha Mallik is a television news presenter and wife of Arjun Mallik. On the other hand, the character of Romila Chowdhury, a speech therapist, was played by Bangladeshi actress Jaya Ahsan. Whether it is Pritha or Romila, both of the characters are honest in their duties and the characters are very familiar in our society. Romila Chowdhury’s counseling and Pritha Mallick’s love and care helped Arjun Mallick to become stronger.

Pritha is seen as a traditional woman who does not want to share her husband with anyone else. We enjoyed special dialogues between Pritha and Romila where Pritha was worried about Romla’s attitude, she thought that Romila had fallen in love with Arjun.

Konttho is made in Tollywood, the Indian Bangla film industry; all of the artists are also from the same country but Jaya Ahsan. There is an accent difference between Bangladesh and West Bengal. This is why the directors have introduced Romila as a Bangladeshi so that the audience of the movie cannot raise a question about the accent. There is a special character from Barishal here, but it was not portrayed correctly.

We also found friendship in this movie. Koneenica Banerjee’s performance as Arjun’s friend was captivating. However, overacting is found in some supporting role players and some of the supporting roles are considered unnecessary.

The length of this nice feature film seemed a bit longer but I do not think a minute could be deducted from what I watched.

The music arrangement by Anupam Roy was brilliant in Konttho. The scene of presenting Kazi Nazrul Islam’s ‘Bidrohi’ was great; I do not think whoever watched this movie can forget the moment.

I believe Nandita Roy and Shiboprasad Mukherjee’s dubbing team had to struggle a bit, especially with the oesophagal voice of Shiboprasad and Paran Bandyopadhyay. It should be mentioned that Mr Paran played another laryngectomy patient in the movie. The oesophagal voice sample given by Romila Chowdhury (Jaya Ahsan) was terrible, I don’t know who did it.

Many things can be brought up in the review of the movie- Konttho’, but for now, I am going to finish writing here without increasing the number of words. Before going to the end, I would like to say that the movie- Konttho is about realizing life, experiencing death at the door, the indomitable mentality of not giving in to despair, the importance of the husband’s survival to the wife, the wife’s role in husband’s life, father’s presence in child’s life, roles of friends and colleagues in bad days, roles of physicist or therapist to patients, etc.

Thank you, Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee, for this nice creation. It is to be noted that This movie is inspired by the life of Bibhuti Chakraborty, a survivor of laryngeal cancer

If you want to watch Konttho, you can go to Hoichoi and Hotstar.

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