With the first trailer of Yeti Obhijaan hitting the social media, I was going nuts to see this film and it’s not only because of the fact that I am a huge Srijit Mukherjee fan and have loved almost all his films but also because of the fact that this film looked spellbinding. The Bengali film industry, over the years, has been riding on a wave of renaissance and I have mentioned it time and again in my previous reviews of Bengali films. Srijit Mukherjee is one of the primary proponents of this change with films like Baishe Srabon, Hemlock Society, Jaatishwar, Chotushkone, Mishawr Rawhoshyo and the very recent Zulfiqar. Every time he has made a film, he has tried something different and most of the time he has succeeded. As far as Yeti Obhijaan is concerned, he has succeeded only to a certain extent.
Kakababu (Prosenjit Chatterjee) and Santu (Aryann Bhowmik) travel to the Himalayas apparently to climb Mount Everest. However as the story progresses, Santu comes to know that Kakababu might not be gunning for the Everest after all but is in search of the mythical Yeti, a giant amalgamation of ape and bear that is revered by the locals. After a lot of wait, the team of Kakababu and Santu finally get a glimpse of the Yeti only to be forcefully evicted from the spot by the locals who believe that their quest for the Yeti will bring nothing but trouble. The two are imprisoned in a secluded stone igloo for 5 days with no food and limited water. What happens next forms the crux of the narrative.
Yeti Obhijaan looks stunning. The swiping cinematography that captures the essence of the mood and feel of the film is truly remarkable. The film is exceptionally well lit and that makes every frame almost as good as one you can simply save and keep as desktop wallpaper. The use of colors is extensive. Every variation of red, yellow, blue and green just jumps of the screen against the serene white background of the ice-covered terrains. There is a sequence wherein Kakababu and Santu try to accumulate water from the snowfall using a window in their igloo. The manner in which the DOP plays with light in this scene is beautiful.
They say that the best VFX are the ones that you don’t notice. Well, if that’s the truth then Yeti Obhijaan scores well in the VFX department. It is apparent that there must have been use of a lot of VFX but when the film is in flow and the action unfolds, you will not notice a thing. Apart from two overhead shots wherein the use of green screen was noticeable, I was never bothered by the quality of VFX which marred a film like Chander Pahar. The film, like so many other Srijit Mukherjee films, boasts of great background score and music. I loved the title track. It was perfect for a film of this mood and nature. I can imagine myself listening to it everytime I workout in the gym.
Having said all that, I finally have to get down to the points that made this film a bitter sweet affair for me.
- To start with, the film takes way too much time in the initial sequences setting up the story and there were moments in the first half when I was getting a tad bit restless. I wanted something to happen and it was not happening.
- When you wait that long for the setup, you wish that the end result is worth the wait. Sadly, the film’s climax fizzles out terribly and what we get is neither novel nor intriguing. The end result left me totally unsatisfied.
- The performances, though are great, especially from Prosenjit and Aryann, they do suffer from a lack of urgency in many sequences. The example of this can be found in the scene when Kakababu disappears leaving a pool of blood and Santu doesn’t even break a sweat. He is cool as a cucumber. The same happens when they are trapped in the igloo for 5 days. The montage sequence shows them passing the time but without any sense of urgency or fear. I feel that anyone would lose their cool and panic in a situation like that. It does hit the believability of the film.
- The character of Chitrangada (Bidya Sinha Saha) is atrociously written. There is absolutely no information on her apart from the fact that she is a baddie and she dies that way without any closure.
- Jisshu Sengupta as Jung Bahadur Rana is terribly miscast. He is a terrific actor and it’s because of his charisma that the character survives. He does fumble here and there with the Nepalese accent and that is not half as bad as showing him falling for Chitrangada which I felt was a terrible idea and totally unnecessary.
- They say that a film is only as good as its antagonist. In that department, Yeti Obhijaan falters again. Alexx O’Nell’s Caine Shipton is an amateurish and feeble baddie who is overpowered so easily that you will question the fact that how did this character survived for so long. The fact that he was supposed to be the big reveal in the end and that it doesn’t extract the kind of emotions that it should have only takes down the film further.
- A character is shown dragging himself from a far away point to the scene of action leaving a trail of blood. That as one amateurish sequence and really left a negative impact.
- Many of the sequences, especially in the second half feel very hurried and almost give you a feeling that they might not have been finished fully.
I wanted to love this film. I wanted to be blown away by this film. But I wasn’t and that’s tragedy enough for me. This is a film that is truly of international standards if we speak of the technicalities but lacks in some of the key elements that were the hallmark of Srijit Mukherjee’s cinema. He is still one of my favorite Bengali film directors and I am not giving up on him. I know he will bounce back and bounce back strong.
Rating : 2.5/5 (2.5 out of 5 Stars)