Shaaticup: Bangladeshi 'Narcos' with authentic local flavour
A local teen gang has stolen a large drug shipment from a local drug lord Sohel Bhai.
Now the furious kingpin wants to appease his hurt ego and hurt wallet by punishing the upstarts behind this deed.
The local narcotics department is on his payroll and its in-charge Uttam Kumar is hot on the teens’ trail. What follows is the absolute mayhem of a fast-paced crime thriller ‘Shaaticup.’
Shaaticup means lying in wait in the Rajshahi dialect and the entire series is made in the Rajshahi dialect as well.
Set in the border region of Rajshahi, the series masterfully weaves the tale of teen gangs, narcotics, smuggling and corruption. The eight-episode series directed by Mohammad Touquir Islam was released on 13 January 2022 on Chorki.
The series has retained its local flavour in its dialogues and character development, so much so that it feels like an authentic visual experience of the city, the char, the Padma river.
Such authenticity and earthiness is a rarity, and the director, who studied filmmaking at the Asian School of Media Studies Delhi, has been successful in accomplishing such a laudable feat.
The cast does not boast of any big names. All one hundred and thirty-seven cast members are from Rajshahi and it undoubtedly enhances the exotic premises. Names like Omar Masum, Amit Rudra, Ahsabul Yeamin Riyad, Nazmus Sakib, Shah Asif Ahmed, Wasikul Islam Romit, Sazia Khanam and Galib Sardar may not be well known to the mainstream audience.
However, they shine brilliantly in the series. Especially, Ahsabul Yamin Riad, Omar Masum, and Sajia Khanom stand out in particular in their roles of Joynul, Babu and Babu’s wife respectively.
The myriad of narrow lanes, the Panchabati dyke, the Rajshahi rail station - as the story progresses, the heart pounds and follows the trail of drugs and gang rivalry.
Majhardia Char feels like the age-old days of Char Dakhal, when white sand used to bathe in brave men’s blood.
The city, the river speak in this series. The thriller gives the audience not a moment to rest until the revelation and keeps the adrenaline rushing. The series has a somewhat Tarantino-esque aura with its dark humour, long shots, crude slang, and strange approach to life.
The music composed by the famed music director Nabarun Bose in collaboration with the frontman of the band ‘Joler Gaan’ Rahul Ananda hits hard with its highly stylised variations.
The series does fall short at a few places. The lack of subplots tends to give an overly stretched feeling in the middle episodes. At times, the plot has little meaning or motivation.
The portrayal of the law enforcing agencies as the extension of narco-mafias may raise some eyebrows as well.
In the next season, the producers may want to fix the plot holes and keep the stake higher, so that the viewers may get even more enthralled.
Shaaticup has been a unique local series that has stayed true to its promise of telling a regional story in the region’s voice and the result is exhilaratingly refreshing. More such stories need to come up and break the mundane cycle of urbanite chronicles.