Movie Review – Vinci Da by Srijit Mukherji

 

The Übermensch (meaning super-human) is a concept developed by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In his book ‘Thus Spake Zaruthastra’ Nietzsche describes how God is dead and it is up to the Übermensch to set the world in order, for a better future. Srijit Mukherji borrows this concept in his latest venture ‘Vinci Da’ – a psychological thriller that questions the very concept of what is good and evil.

Vinci Da is the story of a mentally-deranged man Adi Bose, who considers himself Nietzsche’s Übermensch. A ‘lawyer’ by choice, Adi had a troubled childhood (having murdered his own father, just half an hour before turning 18; thus avoiding capital punishment) – more of that later. Adi Bose is law unto himself, who does not care about a few ‘collateral damages’ in this war against law-breakers who escape justice because of the corrupt system.

To bring his ‘noble cause’ to fruition, Adi Bose hires the services of a prosthetics make-up artist in Tollywood – Vinci Da. A Leonardo Da Vinci fanatic, Vinci Da finds it hard to find work in Tolly-para because of his uprightness and refusal to budge from the righteous stand. Inadvertently, his artistic acumen suffers as he is forced to earn a livelihood by working for local drama companies. It is not a surprise that he laps up the proposal of a challenging work from Adi Bose, which will demonstrate to the world the wonders he has up his sleeves.

What follows is an intense Ken and Abel-esque clash between two ideas. Vinci Da is torn between his artistic enterprises and the hapless suffering the innocent ‘collaterals’ have to bear. Adi Bose, on the other hand, metamorphoses from the vigilante who wants to rid the society from law-breakers into a shrewd, manipulative, power-hungry villain who would stop at nothing. In signature-Srijit Mukherji style, the duel enters the final act with a bang and curtains fall with a dramatic twist. Fate has the artist imprisoned in his own work.

‘Vinci Da’ may not be Srijit Mukherji’s best work, but surely is among the front-runners to qualify as his best five films. With power-packed performances by the two leading actors, hard-hitting dialogues (a forte of Srijit Mukherji), spellbinding art direction, foot-tapping music by Anupam Roy and the brilliant use of lighting in some scenes, Vinci Da easily makes an impact. The chemistry that Ritwick Chakraborty (Adi Bose) and Rudranil Ghosh (Vinci Da) share would remind one of Feluda and Maganlal Meghraj.

There are scenes in the film, which stay with you. The dream sequence where Leonardo Da Vinci is painting Mona Lisa – with Rudranil and Sohini’s voiceovers, or the sequence before the interval where Adi Bose demolishes Vinci Da’s reverence from Da Vinci, are truly of international standards. And then, there is the gruesome murder sequence in the beginning of the film. Riddhi Sen hits the ball out of the stadium as young Adi Bose.

Alas, after all the memes and videos on DCDD Poddar, one had to satisfy themselves with a scene or two of the enigmatic character – forever in pursuit of Bose and Vinci Da. Even in his short presence on screen, Anirban Bhattacharya is a beacon that shines bright. As does Sohini Sarkar as Vinci Da’s love interest, and a pivotal character who significantly influences the game of nerves between Adi Bose and Vinci Da. The hasty climax and jarring background score in some scenes are the only sore-points in an otherwise Srijit-esque thriller.

As I had said in my immediate reaction on Facebook after watching the film, Vinci Da is more psychological than thriller. The film provokes you to think and question your belief-systems. Notwithstanding Nietzsche and Übermensch, Vinci Da is also a socio-political commentary on the daily mockery of democracy in our country, that has become the mainstay.

May be, our very own Übermensch will rise from within.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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Little known Shiva temples in north Bengal

There is a reason why Bengal is known as ‘Ruposhi Bangla’ (Beautiful Bengal). Nature has blessed her with divine beauty – from the Himalayas in the north, resplendent forests in the foothills, relics of history strewn across, and the scintillating sea beaches in the south.

The history of the sub-continent is deeply interlinked with Bengal. It is here that the East India Company defeated Siraj-ud-daula, the last independent sovereign. It is in Bengal that the Sepoy Mutiny began. And it was Bengal that played a central role in the Indian freedom struggle.

Unsurprisingly, our beloved Bengal has also been the seat of various religions. There are no less than 13 Shakti Peeths in the State, along with countless other temples, mosques, churches, and even Buddhist stupas – all bearing a stamp of the rich legacy the land bears.

On Maha Shivratri, I thought of sharing my experiences of two famous Shiva temples in north Bengal – Jalpesh and Jatileshwar. Both the temples are located in Jalpaiguri district, where I come from, and I have fond memories of visiting both at various points in my growing up years.

It is even more interesting that my visits to Jalpesh temple have mostly been with relatives from my father’s side of the family, while Jatileswar temple visits were with my maternal relatives.

Jatileswar Temple

Legend has it that Jatileswar Temple was constructed during the Gupta era. Built with stone and clay bricks, the traditional architectural pattern of that time, this temple will also impress those who have an interest in history.

The name suggests that this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the one with the jata-juta (matted locks). However, the walls of the temples are adorned with sculptures of several other Gods of the Hindu dharma.

 

Jatileswar Temple

 

Jatileswar is located around 30 km away from Jalpaiguri town and about 13 km from Maynaguri town. One can hire cabs to visit the temple or take the bus, get off at Huslurdanga and take a rickshaw.

Bonus: The serene location, idyllic rural setting and solitude will help ease your stress, apart from providing you a spiritual experience.

 

Jalpesh Temple

The Jalpesh Temple is one of the oldest temples of Jalpaiguri, as well as Bengal. It was founded by Bisu Singh, king of Cooch Behar in 1524 AD. The temple was rebuilt by Maharaja Narayan, son of Bisu Singh, in 1563 AD. It was again rebuilt by Pran Narayan in the year 1663 AD.

The main attraction of Jalpesh temple is the elephant-shaped archway at the entrance of the temple. A replica of Lord Shiva is seen balanced by the trunks of the elephants. As one enters the temple complex, there are many shops where you can buy ‘samagri’ for offering puja.

 

 

The Shiva Linga – called ‘Anadi’ – is located underground in the sanctum sanctorum. To touch the Shiva Linga, one has to completely lie down on the ground in prostrate position. During monsoons, the entire sanctum sanctorum is submerged in water, yet people come in large numbers to offer their puja here.

The ‘Shraboni Mela’ or Jalpesh Mela (as it is popularly known) is very famous in the region and attracts lakhs of devotees during the month of Shrabon (July-August). Maha Shivratri is also an important occasion where devotees congregate at this temple.

You can reach Jalpesh by cab. Nearest town in Maynaguri.

 

Mahakal Mandir

Located near the Gorumara National Park, Mahakal Mandir in Lataguri is a popular attraction for devotees and tourists alike. Located off National Highway 31, the ambience of the temple is ‘surreal’ and ‘adventurous’ to say the least.

Tall sal trees surround the array of stones, smeared in sindoor, alta and other puja samagri, the ‘deity’ at this ‘pagan’ setting. It is assumed that tourists entering the forest offer their prayers here for a safe journey. A small break in your journey, this ideal setting will also satisfy the photographer in you, apart from your spiritual bearings.

 

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