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Pradhan review: Anirban Chakrabarti is a showstopper in Dev-Paran Bandyopadhyay’s drama

Pradhan is a perfect example of a Bengali commercial film that ceases to exist in today’s world. It has Bengali sensibilities and is presented with high-octane drama.

Pradhan review: Anirban Chakrabarti is a showstopper in Dev-Paran Bandyopadhyay’s drama
Dev and Anirban Chakrabarti in Pradhan

Last Updated: 09.58 PM, Jan 11, 2024


Story: Soon after getting married, police officer Deepak Pradhan (Dev) gets transferred to Dharmapur. He travels there with his newlywed wife (Soumitrisha). He meets his landlord and a former headmaster of a local school Jibon Krishna Sarkar (Paran Bandyopadhyay), his wife Shanti (Mamata Shankar), and many other characters around the area. His bravery and honesty upset the local panchayat pradhan, Jatileshwar Mukherjee (Anirban Chakrabarti). The film finally is a fight between a corrupt politician and honest residents of Dharmapur under the leadership of Deepak Pradhan.  

Review: After the success of Tonic and Projapati, Atanu Raychaudhuri, Avijit Sen, and Dev’s third collaboration Pradhan is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated Bengali releases this year. And it does not let you down. It makes you laugh and emotional. It has its share of highs and lows but the makers successfully deliver an out-and-out commercial film.   

Deviating from Tonic and Projapati’s family sentimentality, Pradhan focuses on a social drama that bravely draws references from the ongoing corruption cases in Bengal. From school recruitment scams to corruption in mid-day meals – the charges are specific and unapologetic. So much so that a character attempts to swallow a few ballot papers -- an incident that made headlines in the last Panchayat Poll in Bengal. The film becomes instantly relatable due to the familiar incidents.


Dharmapur is a picturesque Hamlet tucked in the foothills of North Bengal. All the ‘adharma’ activities are done by the local Panchayat chief, Jatileshwar, who bribes local police and carries on illegal works. After having a tiff years ago, he and his gangs cornered Jibon Krishna Sarkar. Jatileshwar fails to bribe Deepak Pradhan, who teams up with his colleague Bibek (Soham Chakraborty) and challenges the power of Jatileshwar.

Anirban as Jatileshwar owns the film. He is known to be a good actor but got trapped largely in the same kind of roles. Here, he is a cunning villain – cold and ruthless. And yet, he is afraid of his wife Jaba (Sohini Sengupta). His character is comical yet shrewed and his portrayal is a slam dunk. The actor brings in his expertise in comedy effortlessly and blends it with the shrewdness of a villain and leaves the audience in awe. 

Paran Bandyopadhyay
Paran Bandyopadhyay

Paran Bandyopadhyay is also outstanding as a ‘khitkhite’ cynical old man of a small town. The trauma of this fidgety and timid man will make you cry, especially in the martket scene. Paran Bandyopadhyay and Mamata Shankar share an emotional track that does not work much and drags a bit too long. But his performance throughout is delectable. So is Mamata Shankar’s. Their chemistry is just perfect. 

Dev is the protagonist and he delivers a solid performance. The best bit about Dev is that he never shies away from an ensemble cast and shares space with other actors liberally. Also, he is known to be a keen learner and his conviction gets reflected in every film. Here, he is subtle and looks outstanding on screen. However, his chemistry with Soumitrisha is a damp squib. 

Besides, Pradhan has a stellar star cast, including Soham Chakraborty, Ambarish Bhattacharya, Koneenica Banerjee, Kanchan Mullick, Kharaj Mukhopadhyay, Biswanath Basu, and others. Everybody put their best foot forward. No one seems to be a misfit in the show. Soham regulates his stardom and becomes a perfect Viru of Dev’s Jay. Their low-key bromance is too good. Ambarish is fascinating as usual. Debashish Mondal deserves a special mention. 

However, there is a problem. While many of the characters are developed well, some characters have little to do. Soumitrisha is just meretricious ornamentation in the film. She has limited scope and leaves little mark. On the other hand, Sujan Mukhopadhyay’s character is an important one but shabbily written and depicted, especially in the end. He does his job fine. His slap (not literally) on Jatileshwar's face is thrilling. But the change that he goes through due to a mishap is not captured well. In fact, the mishap should have ignited a level of conviction and resilience not only among the cops but also within Dharmapur. That emotion and portrayal are missing from the show. It is a problem in the writing. 

Another problem with the film is that it is too long – almost three hours. The sentimental scenes of Paran Bandyopadhyay and Mamata Shankar visiting their son, and his interaction with Mr Mali are a tad too boring. The fact is, the tearjerker scenes rather fall flat as the comedy works better in the film.

Editing could have been tighter and smarter. The scene of fire comes right from nowhere and the impact it meant to leave goes up in the air. However, the film is shot well in a breathtaking location. The songs work perfectly well and are used at the right corners of the film. 

Verdict: Pradhan is a perfect example of a Bengali commercial film that ceases to exist in today’s world. It has Bengali sensibilities and is presented with high-octane drama. While it is long, it is largely engaging and packed with solid performance. Don’t miss it!         

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