This is a 2017 Indo-Bangladesh co-production, an arid yet somehow dissatisfying look at a crumbling marriage set within the Bangladesh film industry. The film is afflicted by a sense of intellectual self-importance. The camera is self-consciously erudite. The language is stylishly laconic. It's the kind of cinema that is born more out of vanity than passion.
While Irrfan’s character, a filmmaker named Javed Hassan, goes through the demoniacal struggle that finally kills him as he watches his life and family come apart, I could see Irrfan grappling far more successfully with his character’s complexities and emerging a winner.
This is an actor who never fails a film, although the film, for whatever reason, may finally let him down. I found Doob: No Bed Of Roses to be way too closely inspired by Guru Dutt’s Kagaz Ke Phool. Also, the whole idea of a 50-year old filmmaker throwing his reputation marriage and family away for a fling with a friend of the filmmaker’s daughter required a lot more compassion and empathy than the director is able to muster.
But Irrfan’s faith in out-of-box characters remains unshaken. He not only acted in Doob he also agreed to co-produce it. Just like he co-produced Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox which worked a lot better globally than Doob.
In this disappointing (yet, I repeat, intriguing) Indo-Bangladesh co-production directed by Mostofa Sarwar Faroki, Irrfan has spoken his own Bengali lines.
Irrfan was rightly proud of what he had done in Doob. “It’s my first Bengali film, hence special. And yes, I’ve spoken my Bangla lines. I must say it was a challenge because the Bengalis are very particular about how their language is spoken. One wrong pronunciation and you’re doomed. I play a man who has an affair with his daughter’s friend. It’s something I’ve never attempted before, hence interesting. It is always a pleasure to be part of an international project. I hope the film is noticed in India.”
The West reacted with lavish praise for Irrfan’s performance in Doob. India remained cold to its wry exposition on infidelity. Irrfan never stopped being hopeful about the endless possibilities open to actors and filmmakers in Indian cinema.
During our last conversation, he excitedly observed, “What I like about current filmmaking trends in India is the diversity. There are so many kinds of films being made. Of course, the big-ticket blockbusters will always dominate the box office. But other kinds of films are also getting an audience.”
Directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, Doob gets 2 stars!
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