Megmallar is a beautiful disappointment. The film is about a chemistry teacher mistaken for a rebel during the war for liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Based on a short story called The Raincoat, the film deals with the persecution of people at the wrong pace at the wrong time, reminiscent of Kafka’s The Trial in terms of the palpable feelings of injustice.
Unfortunately, the film did little to stretch the short story for a feature length film, so much of the result is padding. While the lush cinematography of the dense forests and rebels along the river are evocative, it only slows the film down as the audience eagerly waits of the next scene with our protagonist teacher Nurul Huda (Shahiduzzaman Selim). Scenes of Nural and army soldiers crackle with intensity, as an academic bewildered and frightened by soldiers confident in his culpability.
Selim seems like a fine actor in these interrogation scenes, but is given very little to do in this film. He spends at least 1/4th of the film walking around, whether it be in the town, or the college he works in. His family does every less, as his wife and child lack screen presence, as their scenes involve them waiting around at home. The visual flatness of the domestic scenes wear on the patience of the audience, as will the rest of the padding. The results plenty of scenes of beautiful scenery gone to waste. I can’t wait for the fan edit of this film that cuts it down to a sharp, focused twenty minutes or so.