Zulfiqar is a crime drama inspired by two age-old classics of William Shakespeare Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. Srijit Mukherjee, the blue eyed boy of Bengali film industry, has come up with a total package of action, drama, thriller on the eve of auspicious Durga Puja.
The director has chosen Kolkata's infamous dockyard as the backdrop of his godfather like cult classic. Srijit played a safe game while framing a cat-mouse crime thriller by an ensemble cast. A feast for the eyes the ensemble cast has its own advantages and drawbacks. Prasenjit Chatterjee appears as Zulfiqar Ahmed, the underworld don, who tries to overpower the syndicate comprises of Dev (the mute Markaz Ali), Parambrata Chatterjee (Tony Braganza), Kaushik Sen (Basheer), Jisshu Sengupta (Kashinath Kundu), Ankush Hazra (Akhtar Ahmed), Rahul Arunoday Banerjee (Laltu Das), Kanchan Mullick (Chheno Babu) and the poet Sreejato (Tribhuban Gupta).
The story is the cobweb of relationships, deceit, lust, loyalty, betrayal, commitment and leadership. The film focuses on the reality that there runs in the heart of the city parallel governance. Among this mudslinging and illicit tug of wars a few women appear but did not manage to steal the show.
The queen of the heart Shakespeare's Cleopatra and Srijit Mukherjee's Rani Talapatra could have stolen the show only if Nusrat Jahan could know how to act properly. Paoli Dam as Karishma Ahmed (Calpurnia) is a total waste. June Malia as Pariza Khan or Portia is just a two scenes wonder.
Now, this is always a problem with the ensemble cast. None, even if some of them are really good actors, were able to prove anything substantial. The fusion of two great classics had great possibility, but Srijit is no Vishal Bharadwaj, neither has he come any closer to the dark noir king Anurag Kashyap. Thus what could have been a great palatable dish to mass and class alike, Srijit's street savvy intellectualism could not save the film from being a caricatured overhyped unrealistic jatra pala of Chitpur. Only the feast of the eye was the dark alleys, shady dance bars, a tinge of terrorism, mafia and Soumik Halder's above average camera work.
The crux of the film is the focus on minority community of the city, but here also the director failed to fathom their pulse. Alfred Hitchcock said "You need three things to make a great film: a script, a script and again a script". Unfortunately this film misses that. Most dangerous factor of the movie was the music, especially the terrible background music which could even put the old jatra pala style to shame. Bengali culture thrives on mediocrity everywhere call it in literature, poetry or cinema. This film, besides all these ramblings and reviews, claimed to have done good business and that says all about contemporary Bengali culture and its saviours!!