Yeti Obhijan

Though I am a voracious reader of all entertainment related news (both global as well as local) I was not aware of the next Kakababu adventure movie until two weeks back. And you can’t blame me. I don’t watch Sangeet Bangla and the tabloids are apparently more interested in ‘actor’, ‘superstar’ Dev’s latest venture whose reports I avoid in fear that I might end up vomiting on the sofa. When Kuntala di expressed her wish to watch Yeti Obhijan on her blog I thought she must be talking about some NatGeo documentary film. But in Bengali? I got my answer the very next day. I was going by auto from Ultodanga to Sovabazar metro and I saw the poster. So after Mishawr Rohosyo Srijit was coming with his next Kakababu-Santu story. I have never been a fan of Kakababu series but something in me told me that I must watch this movie.

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What compelled me to watch this movie? I hadn’t read the book before and I can guarantee it was hardly a big miss. I never liked this very popular Sunil Ganguly character because of a sheer lack of substance in all the stories. Overly childish and so many loopholes that credibility slips through them halfway. And yet I was most eager to watch this movie due to its story. I knew this time the characters were heading for my most favourite place in the world looking for its most popular myth. The trailer looked awesome and so was the music. Both the songs are right now on my playlist on repeat mode and I am sure I am going to start hating them in a few days due to my over indulgence.

Story is simple and typical. Kakababu and Santu were heading for Mount Everest via Nepal on a secret mission approved by the governments of both nations. Kakababu is carrying a hundreds of years old teeth of some gigantic unknown animal which could be a Yeti. Yeti, or the abominable snowman. A mythical half human half ape creature that is said to live in the uninhabited region of Tibet. Although our Tintin’s friend Chang got captured by a Yeti that was hardly abominable, but rather a loving but lonely apeman. Tintin in Tibet’s influence was strongly felt at the end of the movie.

The story has tons of loopholes for which even Srijit couldn’t do much. Although few dialogues have the typical condescending Srijit Mukherjee touch. I sat and read the book this morning. When you are choosing a Kakababu story you have got to make peace with the weak plot. So nobody could explain why there is a huge dome like structure at the base camp. Or how Mingma Sherpa survives a fatal injury and a sureshot case of hypothermia. No explanation is there for how people could run around there so much in such high altitude. Not to mention the climax. Juvenile and very hard to swallow. My mother kept murmuring the whole time seeing Kakababu without proper winter clothes. I tried to explain to her that it was no fault of Srijit or Prasenjit. Sunil Ganguly himself mentioned in his book many times that Kakababu is immune to most mortal pettiness, like feeling cold or feeling scared etc. Well, when Marvel does it they are cult favourite and when our very own Bengali hero does it we snigger in unison? Highly unfair.

Acting-wise everyone was more or less OK. Except the boy who played Santu. Awful Bengali pronunciation and always on lost mode. Thank god Srijit no longer sleeps with Swastika. We didn’t have to tolerate her insufferable and irrelevant presence for the second time. Jisshu Sengupta’s acting left me flabbergasted though. He played a Nepalese Army officer, Major Jang Bahadur Rana. His Nepalese accent and weather-beaten look were right on the point. Although I couldn’t figure out why he became Captain Rana from Major Rana in one scene. And that too by an Indian special task force officer. That task force officer, by the way, has become a female from the original male version in the book. And do NOT mistake the Shipton in the story with the Himalayan explorer Eric Shipton who is famous for Nandadevi expedition and Yeti sighting (yes you heard right). And as far as I know Eric Shipton’s son (if he had any) never got involved into any dubious activities in the Himalayas.

Despite my exuberance I was shocked and heartbroken to find out that the Himalayan part was actually shot in Switzerland. (The Nepal bits were shot in Gangtok. One look and I recognised my favourite city.) They couldn’t find a single location in the entire Himalayas? I know Venkatesh Films has got a shitload of money and this movie is surely going to be a big hit. But why the Alps? Because it’s foreign so it’s more glamourous? I am still wondering.