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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From essaying the role of Topshe on small screen to playing Shabor Dasgupta in the recently-released sleuth-flick, Saswata Chatterjee career graph is an enigmatic as well as admirable one. From being the heartthrob of the television as Akash in Ravi Ojha’s magnum opus Ek Akasher Neeche to being the nation’s favourite villain Bob Biswas (Kahaani, 2012), the growth of Saswata Chatterjee as an actor is worth a case-study.
True to his talent, Saswata wins hearts as a detective of Kolkata Police. Move over Feluda and Byomkesh, Bengal’s new “goenda” is here – Shabor Dasgupta. Ruthless yet humane, practical as well as emotional, sharp-brained with a sense of humour, this character penned by Shirshendu Mukherjee has been brought to life by Saswata Chatterjee’s magnificent acting and Arindam Sil’s credible direction.
A woman is found murdered in her apartment at Ballygunge Place and the case is assigned to Shabor. What enfolds is a tale of love, betrayal, revenge, jealousy and illicit affairs. Skeletons and dirty linen tumble out of the closet as the story progresses.
Every actor, even in miniscule roles, have put up worthy performances (the argument scene between Rahul and Debaleena was hilarious). The constant reference of Shabor’s sidekick to his Bengali medium school reminded me of Jatayu’s invocation of Ethenium Institution in Feluda series.
Moving over who dunnit, this film explores the human psyche – a ride which the audience is an integral part of right from the beginning. The story does not end with the discovery and arrest of the culprit; the film once again points out that we all are victims of circumstances. But as Shabor advices one character – “There are many options. Try earning the honest way.”
Full marks for the crisp editing and free-flowing screenplay. Bickram Ghosh’s score is refreshing, but out of place in some scenes. Arindam Sil had disappointed in his first directorial venture; Ebar Shabor makes up for the disaster that was Aborto.
Looking forward to more adventures of Shabor Dasgupta – the sleuth with a heart – in years to come.