Author Archives: Agnivo Niyogi
I had ended my review of ‘Ebar Shabor’ with the lines, “Looking forward to more adventures of Shabor Dasgupta – the sleuth with a heart – in years to come”. Needless to say, Arindam Sil has recreated the magic of Shabor Dasgupta in his second adventure ‘Eagoler Chokh’ (Eye of the Eagle). Shabor is truly the ‘Sleuth of the Year’. Crisp, witty, sharp – the murder mystery will keep you the edge till the end.
By now, any fan of Bengali sleuth flicks would know what a powerhouse of talent Arindam Sil is. Razor-sharp writing, screenplay that keeps the thrill intact throughout the movie, performances to die for and haunting score, the second installment of Shabor series gets full marks in every quarter. Shabor Dasgupta was a welcome break from the tonnes of Feluda and Byomkesh films, and the freshness of the flavour is intact in this film too.
‘Eagoler Chokh’ picks up the strings where ‘Ebar Shabor’ left them – right from the chase sequence in the beginning to the indomitable style of Shabor’s problem-solving, the director has recreated the magic of the first film. But Shabor is riddled with an overbearing guilt in his heart. He is constantly at war with his subconscious self; Sil’s treatment of Shabor’s mental feuds has been splendid throughout. In the middle of this tussle, he is drawn into a murder mystery.
‘Eagoler Chokh’ is much more than a who-dun-it thriller. It delves into the psyche of people, the deep layers of human thought process, tries to analyse how the mind works. That is why we empathise with Bishan Roy (played to perfection by Anirban Bhattacharya) who has a charm that attracts women towards him – despite being told he turns into an animal in the company of women.
Bishan has many women in his life – his wife Shivangi, with whom he does not even share a room. Shivangi’s friend-cum-business-partner Nandini lives with them and has tried to seduce Bishan on several occasions. There is a teenage girl Janhabi in the flat too. And there are dark secrets of the past, which open a can of worms when revealed.
A cerebral thriller would fall flat without performances up to the mark; in this regard all actors pass with flying colours. Saswata Chatterjee easily fits into the skin of any character, Shabor being no exception. On one hand he is an emotionless sleuth whose only job is to bring crooks to justice. On the other hand he is empathetic to Bishan, who is coping with a mental conflict like him.
Essaying Bishan’s character is not easy – essaying the nuances of psychotic stress can often become melodramatic. Anirban Bhattacharya easily jumps from blank expressions to guilt-ridden self. The other actor who makes this film classier is undoubtedly Joya Ahsan. The way she emotes with her eyes is a lesson for upcoming actors.
Calcutta too is a character in the film. It seems every location of the shoot had been selected after much deliberation. From the small eatery where Shabor and his assistant have dinner to the ghats of Ganga, Soumik Halder’s camera work breathes life into the city. Like the different layers of human psyche, we are introduced to the various underbellies of our own city like never before.
The captain of the ship definitely deserves a big ‘thank you’ from the Bengali film audience for bringing the thrill back to the theatres. He has dealt with a subject so delicate with extreme finesse. He gives us the ‘bird’s eye view’ of a crime on a canvas splattered with shades of grey.
‘Eagoler Chokh’ gives us hope that Shabor Dasgupta will help us understand our society better in the future offerings too.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
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Image Source: Facebook page of Shree Venkatesh Films
A debate has been raging on social and mainstream media on the proposed change of name for West Bengal. The state government, in a recent Cabinet meeting, decided to drop ‘West’ from the name of the State. It is proposed that the new name would be Bengal in English and Bangla or Banga in Bengali. This has triggered a debate among people with a section happy that the confusion, over why an eastern State was called West Bengal, will finally come to and end, while another section is flabbergasted at the attempt to denounce history.
The blame for this debate must go to Lord Curzon, who in 1905 decided to partition then Bengal Presidency into two parts: East and West. Although he cited administrative reasons for the exercise, the idea was to drive a wedge between the Hindus and Muslims in Bengal. There were massive protests across the province against the devilish designs of Lord Curzon; Rabindranath Tagore famously penned his song ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ and initiated the ‘Raakhi Utsav’ to foster ties of brotherhood between the two communities. Finally, the partition was annulled in 1911 and Calcutta paid a price as the National Capital of India was shifted to Delhi.
History too had different plans for Bengal; in 1947 after the partition of India, Bengal was again divided – East Bengal became a part of Pakistan and West Bengal remained with India. Until 1954, East Bengal was an autonomous unit which became an eastern province of Pakistan in 1955, thus becoming East Pakistan. In 1971, after the liberation war, East Pakistan became an independent country and took the name Bangladesh.
There have been attempts in the past to rename West Bengal (right from the days of Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy till Jyoti Basu). This is an issue where unanimous public opinion would always remain a red herring. East Bengal (or East Pakistan) managed to shed its baggage of history and adopted the name Bangladesh. Why should that burden be perennially placed on the shoulders of West Bengal?
The prefix ‘West’ brings with it the sad memory of partition, of refugees, of not-so-pleasant goodbyes; it is a constant reminder of the bloodshed and violence that came with independence. Homes were destroyed, families were broken, people were displaced – all for the whims of a few in power. The prefix ‘West’ before Bengal is like the appendix in our body; getting rid of it could bring closure to thousands who are still tormented by their experience of partition.
Bengal is changing, for the better. To move towards a new tomorrow, we must break free from the shackles of the past. As much as we remember our shared history with Bangladesh, we cannot let ourselves be weighed down by the gravity of a name. This is the age of branding and ‘Bengal’ is much more appealing and attractive.
We must also remember, no matter how hard we try, we can never put the two Bengals together again. Apart from our shared mother language, we have nothing left in common. ‘West’ Bengal is a province of a larger country with its own share of problems. Bangladesh is a different country with realities of its own. The two Bengals can collaborate, never unify. To carry the burden of ‘West’ to keep the idea of unified Bengal alive is an exercise in futility.
There is a section which feels this issue is a meaningless diversion from the lacunae in governance. I wish to point out to them the results of the recently-concluded Assembly elections in West Bengal where the ruling party was voted to power for a second term with a landslide verdict. Even the strongest critic of the government cannot point fingers at the voting process. A mandate of that magnitude is achieved only by good work, agenda for development and progress.
Moreover, anyone following the daily events would be aware that this proposed change of name is not at the cost of other works. On the same day the Cabinet decide to change the name of the State, the Chief Minister held a high-level meeting regarding illegal promoters and dengue scare. For the last 3 days she has toured three districts and held administrative review meetings about progress of various projects. West Bengal is placed in safe hands as far as governance is concerned.
Even Germany broke the Berlin Wall, which was a remnant of World War II and moved on. It is about time Bengal does too. East or West, the Bengali spirit always flies high!
P.S. – A lot of morons mocked the name Banga (confusing it with Bongo, that’s how we Bengalis pronounce Banga) without even realising Banga is a part of India’s National Anthem. Hope they expanded their knowledge of languages.
DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights