What might have been Jeet and Abir Chaterjee’s share of male bonding in a Tollywood film, ends up in a dud climax with the prior being victim to schizophrenia. When the middle-class Bengali tries to fit in a society staying true to the norms of being bhadralok (gentleman), his chivalry is repelled by the evil lurking around in his vicinity and workspace. He pulls through even after being provoked time and again. But there comes a point when the alter identity decides to be rebellious as that is the only alternative. What happens thereafter is a show of spirit and courage by the alter identity, The Royal Bengal Tiger!

Writer-Director Neeraj Pandey who has previously written some of Bollywood’s finest films (A Wednesday and Special 26) co-writes a story with filmmaker Rajesh Ganguly which is repetitive and reminds me of films previously made on the same lines, namely Singham and Aparna Sen’s 15 Park Avenue. Produced by Friday Filmworks, the film is an average watch because of its principle cast that performs well.

Abhirup Banerjee (Abir Chaterjee) is a timid Bengali man whose life circles around his family in Ballygunge, his job and metro journeys with a colleague Nandini Sanyal (Shraddha Das). Abhirup who gulps down the harshness inflicted by his co-workers, boss and a nasty tenant meets long time accomplice Anjan on a day when everything in his life that can possibly go wrong, does so. And the film gains momentum here on with the duo beating men black and blue, causing ruckus in Abhirup’s office and letting Abhirup’s rival Dipankar (Shantilal Mukherjee) get killed by a speeding truck.

Priyanka Sarkar who plays Abhirup’s wife has very little scope in this loosely-written story. The film promises to entertain post Jeet’s entry and does so too, but lacks enough substance to keep their chemistry going till the end. The Royal Bengal Tiger occasionally gives you a high with unarguably flawless performances by its supporting cast which includes Rajesh Sharma, Kharaj Mukherjee, Barun Chanda and Shantilal Mukherjee. The director whose earlier work includes Hindi film Blue Oranges does a fairly decent job. Sanjoy Choudhury’s music does not stay long after the film ends. The major loophole in this film is the climax until which I still had high hopes for an unpredictable twist in the tale. Vaguely written female characters give no room for Priyanka and Shraddha to justify their roles.

Overall, Rajesh Ganguly’s film is designed to be categorized as a suspense-thriller, but by the time the cat comes out of the bag, the film loses charm and makes the climax predictable. For watchable performances and decent direction, you might want to catch the uproar of The Royal Bengal Tiger.

The film released in theatres on January 31, 2014

By Soham Bhattacharyya

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