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Movie Review: Kadambari by Suman Ghosh

kadambari image

When I first read in the newspapers that Konkona Sen Sharma was going to play Kadambari opposite Parambrata Chattopadhyay (Rabindranath Tagore), I was thrilled. It seemed to be a dream come true; Konkona was just perfect for the role. The enigma that Rabindranath-Kadambari Debi’s relationship is, it was natural to have an insatiable urge to watch it on the big screen. But when I left the theatre this evening after 2 hours and five minutes, I was disappointed.

Kadambari – the film – is pretentious. It tries to create a make-believe world of late nineteenth century only through props and dated costumes. The script is sloppy, given the fact it is based on two great novels: Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Prothom Alo and Mallika Sengupta’s Kobir Bouthan. The dynamics of relationships – between Kadambari and Jyotirindra, between Jyotirindra and Gyanodanandini, between Gyanodanandini and Rabindranath or between Gyanodanandini and Kadambari – left a lot to be explored.

The film has several anachronistic loop holes. Even the age-difference between Jyoti (or Gyanodanandini) and Kadambari is glaring during the childhood sequence. The child actors are wasted as they seem to have been forced to parrot their lines (did they not grasp the gravity of their roles?).

If anyone has read Thakurbarir Andarmahal (or even its English translation Jorasanko), they would be fascinated by the aura of Gyanodanandini. Titas Bhowmick was a disappointment of epic proportions in the role. Her character was reduced to that of a manipulative vamp in a saas-bahu saga. Even Kaushik Sen was overrated as the supremely talented Jyotirindranath Tagore.

Although Parambrata was unconvincing as the young Rabi, his chemistry with Konkona was brilliant. In fact, it was the sheer talent of Konkona that pulls this film through 120 odd minutes. The blank expression of shock after Urmila’s death or the marks of jealousy on her face when she learns about Binodini can become text book case for what flawless acting is.

Apart from Konkona, Bickram Ghosh’s background score saves the day for the film. Beautiful recreation of Rabindranath’s timeless creations will leave you spellbound. Hats off to Ustad Amjad Ali Khan for the ethereal title track. Having said that, I really want to know what prompted the director to use Babul Supriyo’s voice for the end credits when Srikanta Acharya was part of the film!

At the end of the day, the director may have unwittingly described the relationship between Rabindranath and Kadambari Debi in one of the scenes, without meaning to. When Kadambari confronts Jyoti over his affair with Binodini, he replies she is only a muse and not his lover. Kadambari may have been the same for young Rabi? May be more than that… Only history will be the judge.

As for the fictional biopic on Kadambari, Konkona outshines a sloppy script and B-grade film.

My rating: 2/5 stars

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

Film Review: Chatushkone

ET00024560Durga Pujo is now synonymous with Srijit Mukherjee, just the way Christmas is for Sandip Ray. From Autograph to Chatushkone, the bar has always been set a notch higher. From the complexities of relationships and untamed ambition to the psychological murder mystery, Srijit da has time and again proved his mettle. With Chatushkone, Srijit da has not only outdid Jaatishwar (his best till date) but etched his place in the echelons of Bengali film industry.

Chatushkone is not just a story of who-dun-it. It is a journey of self-realisation, a journey of tying the loose ends of old strings… Former friends come together to relive their old days, some with a desire for vengeance, and some simply to escape the monotony of life. In a way, Chatushkone is a journey of introspection; it is the song of life.

Films within films have been done many times before in Bengali cinema; Rituparno Ghosh was a pioneer. Srijit da has not only given a fitting tribute to his Sir, but also surpassed Rituparno’s way of storytelling through year jump. The four stories, and their colour gradations, stay without even after the credits roll. Then there is the fifth story… an Ace hidden in the pack of King, Queen and Joker…

Music is an integral part of Srijit Mukherjee’s films and Chatushkone does not disappoint. We cannot thank him enough for the immensely talented Lagnajita… celebrating spring in autumn was possible only because of her melodious voice. And Boba Tunnel joins the elite league of life’s anthems after Amake Amar Mawto, Ei Srabon and E Tumi Kemon Tumi…

Even as I pour in my thoughts in this ‘review’ I am dying to scream my lungs out about the stupendous climax (and the anti-climax before that). I will desist myself from doing so. Do not try to guess the ending; even if you do, the twist in the tale will stump you.

Hats off to Parambrata for the heart-wrenching performance in the last 15-odd minutes of the film. The less said about the magnificence of Aparna Sen or Gautam Ghosh the better. The true revelation in the film was undoubtedly Chiranjeet. What a comeback!

The only thorn in this bouquet of roses that will prick you is the track between Anindo and Kaneenica. Their story demanded a proper closure, not the subtle hint left behind by the director for the audience to nibble upon.

All said and done, Chatushkone strikes the perfect balance between a thought-provoking ‘serious’ film and mass appeal. Some films stand out for the craft, some for their actors and some for the message. Chatushkone will be remembered for the style of storytelling.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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