Peeking between the real and the unreal with ‘Unoloukik’
Over time, we have developed this peculiar tendency to be happy with some of our locally produced content just because they allowed us, the audience, a different experience, whether in terms of cinematography or a unique storyline. Often times, we have applauded content of subpar quality because of this very reason, convincing ourselves that this is just the beginning of a fresh stream to come.
Just when this routine started to get tiring, I came across 'Unoloukik' on 'Chorki', a local OTT platform. It would be an understatement to say that this show completely took me away. Not just because it's different, but because it's actually, truly, mind-bogglingly brilliant.
The 5-episode anthology series, based on stories by Shivabrata Barman and directed by Robiul Alam Robi hovers somewhere between absurdism and magic-realism but doesn't quite fall in either. Rather, it hits a sweet spot right between what is real and what is unreal, without conforming to any one of the two, making the audience believe in both of the elements present in the stories.
It astounded me to see how the visualisation of this idea was made possible in the simplest and most minimal way possible. Whether it be the most appropriate background score that went with the mood of each episode or the simplistic yet thoughtful set design incorporating the mundanities of the everyday life around us, every one of these little aspects added more value to the process of the storytelling.
I will not get into the plots of the episodes and break it down for the readers because I genuinely want them to have the rawest experience possible when they finally get to watch the series. I bet those who have already watched it will get exactly what I mean when I say that. Every story is distinct on its own while keeping the essence intact. The revelations in the climax are not dramatic in the conventional sense, yet they deliver the elements of drama in a way that is somewhat haunting and lingers on long after you have finished watching the episode.
This particular phenomenon is made possible by the delivery of beautiful scriptwriting throughout the series, the most important element that goes missing in most of our local production. The show keeps getting better with each passing episode with its writing, reaching its peak in the finale, an episode titled "Dwikhondito", which happens to be my favourite episode of the series.
The portrayals are mostly conversational, but it never bores the audience, thanks to the stellar cast. Both the new and the established actors fit perfectly into their roles, convincing the audience of the narratives of their characters and simultaneously confusing them about what to believe and what to not. On that note, Intekhab Dinar in particular deserves special mention. He plays the lead character in the final episode. I was left absolutely dumbfounded with his acting brilliance and how he carried a monologue for almost 20 minutes throughout the episode, keeping the tension alive even after the climax. This was an absolutely breathtaking performance, to say the least.
'Unoloukik' was an ethereal experience through and through with its brilliant writing, brilliant execution, brilliant art direction and brilliant music. This is a local production that is capable of hitting the right chords with the audience in its minimalistic ways of expression. Watching this made me feel genuinely hopeful about the future of Bangla content. I would love a second season and honestly cannot wait to watch what the makers do in their next endeavours.