Directed by Dhrubo Banerjee, Karnasubarner Guptodhon stars Abir Chatterjee, Arjun Chakrabarty and Ishaa Saha in the lead
A treasure hunt led by Sonada, Abir and Jhinuk’s banter, Bengali nostalgia, humour and folklore — Dhrubo Banerjee’s Karnasubarner Guptodhon delivers on all counts that we have come to expect from this adventure franchise.
This time Sonada, aka Subarna Sen, a professor of history and researcher, uncovers one of the forgotten chapters of Bengal’s history — the reign of King Shashanka. Karnasubarna was King Shashanka’s capital. Going by lore, King Shashanka had hidden a chunk of his wealth at a secret location, sensing defeat in his battle against King Harshvardhan of Thanesar and King Bhaskaravarman of Kamarupa.
The task of retrieving this lost treasure falls on the shoulders of Sonada and his two bright associates — Abir, who’s a lawyer by profession and Sonada’s nephew, and Abir’s romantic interest Jhinuk. The trio head to Rohitashwogarh.
Shot extensively in Purulia, Karnasubarner Guptodhon has exquisite aerial shots of Jangalmahal. The blooming palash trees, pristine lakes, a village fair celebrating the Tushu festival, earthen huts beautifully decorated with wall paintings — Karnasubarner Guptodhon has all the tropes to tingle the Bengali audience’s sentiments.
Then there’s the franchise staple — catchy songs, elaborate meals, menacing-yet-comic villains, a kidnapping, car chase and unexpected twists before the final showdown. Like the previous films, the makers again tease us with a glimpse of Sonada’s secret love interest, Semanti Sarkar, without revealing who she is.
Unlike Guptodhoner Sondhane and Durgeshgorer Guptodhon, where decoding the hidden meaning of clues formed the crux of Sonada’s adventure, in Karnasubarner Guptodhon, the focus is on the physical hunt for clues rather than solving the cryptic texts. The journey becomes even more enjoyable with a dash of comedy that Arjun Chakrabarty’s Abir adds to the mix. Post-intermission, as the main villain is introduced (we’ll keep his identity a secret), the laughter quotient shoots through the roof.
Abir Chatterjee steals the show as Sonada. The franchise is unimaginable without him as this Bengali version of Indiana Jones. He blends his natural charm with an intellectual edge, which makes Sonada an endearing character to follow.
Arjun Chakrabarty and Ishaa Saha share a sweet chemistry as Abir and Jhinuk. Their relationship has matured over time and jokes are often cracked about their conjugal life. But it is about time that some gravity is added to Arjun’s character, instead of portraying him just as a man-child. After all, he is a lawyer by profession.
Sourav Das reprises the role of a ruthless local mafia Bhujanga Hazra, who doesn’t bat an eyelid before firing bullets at anyone and everyone. He is menacing in the first half but transforms into a comical sidekick as Sonada’s real nemesis makes an entry in the second half. Sourav aces both avatars, as an antithesis to Sonada. He represents the intellectual dip Bengal has witnessed over the past few decades.
Among the supporting cast, Barun Chanda, Kamaleshwar Mukherjee and Indraadip Dasgupta have little to offer. Kinjal Nanda, a reflection of the character Umanath Ghoshal (played by Haradhan Banerjee) in Satyajit Ray’s Joi Baba Felunath, shines as the debt-ridden son who has gone astray because of financial needs.