January 3, 2023
by Carla Hay
Directed by Rohan Sen
Bengali with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in Kolkata, India, the dramatic film “Subho Bijoya” features an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-classs and middle-class.
Culture Clash: A family reunion during the Durga Puja festival results in turmoil and bickering while the family matriarch has a brain tumor.
Culture Audience: “Subho Bijoya” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching predictable and long-winded family dramas.
The concept of a family reunion is certainly not new as the plot for a movie. But in order for it to be interesting, the story and characters should be unique and engaging. Unfortunately, the family drama “Subho Bijoya” falls short in these areas. It’s just a rehash of so many other movies about family reunions where people argue, hold grudges, and are affected by a family member with a health issue. “Subho Bijoya” is just too sappy, too boring, and too long to make much of an impact.
Directed by Rohan Sen (who co-wrote the “Subho Bijoya” screenplay with Anubhab Ghosh), “Subho Bijoya” revolves around a family reuniting for the Durga Puja festival in Kolkata, India. (The words “subho bijoya” mean “good luck” in Bengali.) The family matriarch Bijoya (played by Churni Ganguly) has a brain tumor, and her doctors are suggesting that she get a biopsy. Bijoya’s husband Amarta (played by Kaushik Ganguly) wants the family to cancel its Durga Puja celebrations and not go out to any Durga Puja events.
However, Bijoy and Amarta’s daughter Uma (played by Koushani Mukherjee) suggests that the family members have their Durga Puja celebrations at the home of Bijoy and Amarta. The people at this reunion include Uma’s husband Aditya (played by Bonny Sengupta), also known as Adi; Aditya’s estranged younger brother Ahan (played by Devtanu); and Aditya’s older sister Aditi (played by Amrita De). Also at the reunion are Bijoy’s brother (played by Kharaj Mukherjee); his wife (played by Manasi Sinha); and their teenage daughter Mon (played by Shweta Mishra).
As expected in any movie about family reunions, it’s only matter of time before resentments and rivalries come to the surface. Aditya is angry at younger brother Ahan because Ahan cut off contact with Aditya for three years, with no real explanation. Ahan tries to get back together with an ex-girlfriend (played by Sayonima Roy), who is engaged to another man. Aditi is pregnant and separated from her husband, who wants Aditi to give their marriage another chance.
And you can almost do a countdown to when Bijoy ends up in a hospital. Speaking of keeping time, “Subho Bijoya” is so sluggishly paced and tedious, the average viewer will probably be checking what time it is on multiple occasions to see how much longer before the movie ends. Pity any viewers who don’t know in advance that “Subho Bijoy” has an unnecessarily long running time of 140 minutes. The entire plot of “Subho Bijoy” could have been been done in a movie that’s 90 minutes or less.
The cast members’ performances aren’t bad, but they aren’t great either. Everything in “Subho Bijoy” has been done too many times before in other family reunion movies that are of a much better quality. “Subho Bijoy” wants to be like a sentimental soap opera but lacks any sizzle or spark that will hook viewers into wanting to know what will happen next. The problem with all of “Subho Bijoy” is that viewers will already know what will happen next for each plot development that plods along until it’s inevitable conclusion. The hokey message at the end of the film sounds like it was lifted from a greeting card, which is the most emotional depth that this forgettable and trite movie can muster.
Reliance Entertainment released “Subho Bijoya” in select U.S. cinemas on December 9, 2022. The movie was released in India on December 2, 2022.