The strategy of naming a Bengali film after a famous Hindi classic is perhaps sending out wrong messages to the audience. On the other hand, it should not matter much because the audience for Awara produced by Shree Venkatesh Films and directed by Rabi Kinagi has probably not even heard of the Raj Kapoor classic. What intrigues us is why give a Hindi title to a Bengali film where the title has absolutely no links to any character in the film, much less to the hero of this film portrayed by Jeet who is fast turning out to be a powerful action hero in Bengali mainstream cinema. Awara is the Bengali remake of the Telugu hit Krishna, properly bought by the producers of the film to avoid charges of piracy.
Surjo (Jeet) holds a Masters in computers but instead of holding a job, he is a cheerful do-gooder in the neighbourhood helping people. What stops him from doing both – holding a good job and being a do-gooder is a mystery even Sherlock Holmes cannot solve. But he makes a mistake without knowing. He falls in love with the beautiful Poulomi (Sayantika) without knowing that she is the sister of the fiercely possessive Indrajeet (Ashish Vidyarthi), a mafia don and kills people who try to get close to his sister. Indrajeet has an arch rival in the mafia business whose goons have been directed to kidnap Poulomi to get even with her brother. The don’s brother Tony (Mukul Dev) is serving a six-year sentence in prison. But he comes out after four years and is directed to kidnap Poulomi. His pitch is queered when he falls in love with the dripping wet Poulomi in a swimming costume getting out of a swimming pool. How Surjo steps in and with intercutting into some song-dance numbers shot in Ladakh and Malaysia, downs the members of the rival mafia gang headed by Supriyo Dutt and wins the heart of Indrajeet enough for him to willingly hand over his sister to Surjo.
The casting of Mukul Dev as Tony has enriched the second half of the film because he looks very handsome with his long mane and his piercing eyes. This somewhat turns the tables on the cliché that the hero should be better looking than the villain. Acting wise, Jeet is excellent in the action scenes but needs to polish up his act in the love scenes though he has shed the awkwardness his earlier films revealed. Sayantika has nothing much to do except look beautiful and wear sensual costumes and does both very well. She has a very good screen presence that still needs to be explored fully. Ashish Vidyarthi is in control for a change and the fact that his lines are dubbed makes for some good Bengali dialogue. Poor Supriyo Dutt, Biswanath Ghosh and Kharaj Mukherjee are wasted in overdone characterisations that could have been done by any average actor. Biswajit Chakraborty is very good as usual and Tulika Basu complements him well in a brief role. But the characterisations are polar opposites that leave no space for grey.
Jeet Ganguly and Dev Sen’s music passes muster and some of the dialogues by N.K. Salil hark back to his dialogue for Mithun Chakraborty’s films whose catch-lines are popular among the masses till today. But the catch-line he has given Jeet in this film fails to click because no one can understand what is being said nor does the tag-line make much sense. It is alarming to discover that mainstream masala films are not working as well as they were to bring in the front-benchers and the whistlers into the theatres.