By Anjum Ferdous Utsho
Released on the September 23, Operation Sundarbans is a Bangladeshi wildlife action thriller directed by Dipankar Sengupta Dipon, also known for Dhaka Attack. Even though the production of the film was set back by a few years due to the pandemic, its theatrical release was highly anticipated. Did it manage to live up to expectations? or did it crumble underneath the very same? Here’s what I felt
Story Structure and Screenplay
One would be wrong to say that Operation Sundarbans has a mediocre story structure because even if the story is pretty straightforward, it has depth. The film revolves around the persecution of pirates who have readily held the Sundarbans hostage, and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and their pursuit to end this turmoil. As the film was also produced by the RAB Forces Welfare Trust and Three Wheelers, the film did not deviate from its origin and fall into the marketing loophole.
Despite the fact that the story seems linear and predictable, it has managed to keep the audience including me engaging with the movie and constantly thinking about the next scene. The screenplay was excellent and the direction, for me, at least, left nothing more to be desired. If anything, it is the linearity of the story structure and the endpoint that ended up being the target of criticism. Overall, both the story and screenplay get an A.
Unlike the film Hawa, which has a solid look to its visuals with some really dominating and saturated colours, the visuals of Operation Sundarbans felt lackluster and flat in my opinion. I keep going back to Hawa because to me, it has set a baseline for any Bengali films here on out. Even if I’m not comparing it to any other film, the fundamental aspect a movie should have, other than its story, is its color grading. Despite there being some amazing shots and a very good narrative structure, the film to me seemed flat which kind of threw me off a bit. Having a strong sense of colors and how it defines a film goes a long way as it helps to set the identity of the film. Operation Sundarbans lacked in that department which made it feel pretty mundane.
This particular section has got me the most hyped as the cast includes some of the most well-known actors and actresses from our film industries such as Riaz Ahmed (Ishtiaqe Ahmed), who is making a Dhallywood comeback after four years; Siam Ahmed (Major Sayem Sadat), the protagonist; Nusraat Faria (Tania Kabir), amongst other. In all honesty, you get pretty much what you paid for, some top-notch acting from industry professionals. The actors and actresses each knew their roles and played it successfully. Hats off to them for putting up such an amazing performance. Neither did any of their acting feel forced, nor did it seem half-hearted. The dialogues felt totally natural. Honestly, a really good job on the acting part.
Visual effects and sound design
You can’t get a tiger and teach it how to act in certain scenarios, even if you want to and so, you have to rely on visual effects. If your expectation is to see some visual effects like Marvel films, you are in the wrong cinema hall. Visual effects tie down the story structure way more than one would think because having the best visual effects doesn’t always mean the best movie and even though Operation Sundarbans did not have eye-catching visual effects, what they worked with was put to great use for the storytelling. The sound design was also well done. It felt really natural, integrating the mesmerizing ambience of the Sundarbans, giving us a soothing yet terrifying sense of the nature around us.
From the artistic vision of a very talented and critically acclaimed director, Operation Sundarbans has managed to leave a favorable impression on the viewers. If you are looking to watch some action-filled thrillers, Operation Sundarbans is definitely worth a shot. The film will not only manage to live up to your expectations but also leave you wanting more from the Bangladeshi film industry and the wondrous path it is taking.