We are all born to die one day. But before our mortal remains reach their expiry date, we need to live by the rules of this world. Being alive does not necessarily suggest a zest for living. Our mundane routine often seeks change, an outlet to escape the monotony of life, and seek adventure. It is our outlook towards life that gauges our spirit.
Aparajita Tumi is the story of a Bengali couple, Pradeep and Kuhu, living in the United States. Their unromantic conjugal life enters a tumultuous phase as Kuhu learns about Pradeep’s extra marital affair. Relationships are put to acid test, sensibilities invoked, hard decisions made. Aparajita Tumi transcends the simple tale of a failing marriage and delves into the psyche of human mind, a feat Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury accomplishes seamlessly.
Based on Sunil Ganguly’s novel “Dui Nari, Hate Torobari”, Aparajita Tumi also features another Bengali couple, Ronojoy and Ushashi – the antithesis of Pradeep-Kuhu. Their dissimilarities are the common thread between the two couples. A clash of egos, Ushashi’s low self esteem and a saga of vengeance unfolds as the story progresses.
Viewers might find the pace of the narrative a bit too slow. Actually the film moves at a pace slower than Raincoat. But when you juxtapose this fact to the tumultuous episodes facing the characters, one is forced to marvel at Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s acumen. From Anuranan to Aparajita Tumi, he has finally matured as a story teller.
Aparajita Tumi is visually stunning. I do not remember watching a more beautiful portrayal of San Fransisco in any movie made in any language. Aniruddha always manages to make the city a part of the script. Aparajita has been no exception.
In a film where expressions matter more than dialogues, actors become the pillars of the movie. Padmapriya and Prasenjit live upto their characters. One can easily sympathise with Kamalinee when she is rebuked for the “extra salt in the Ilish Mach” in front of a room full of people. Indraneil Sengupta (Yousuf) comes as a breeze and passes by like a whirlwind. One cannot help but take notice of his flawless Bangal dialogue delivery. Albeit Chandan Roy Sanyal has a small screen presence, but he makes a dent on your minds with his recitation of Shakespeare.
The film would be incomplete had it not been for three men – Chandreel, Shantanu Moitra and Anindya. The music fits into the screenplay so beautifully that it takes the narrative ahead without becoming nuisance. The conflicts of the minds lay bare in the songs penned by Chandril and Anindya. Shantanu’s score adds the salt to the food that could otherwise have become bland.
There is a sincerity with which Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury tells his stories. His serene approach towards the gravity of life and its ugliness is his signature appeal. Quite similar to Anuranan in theme, and strikingly resembling Antaheen in execution, Aparajita Tumi brings out his best so far. No matter what others say, its slow pace is its USP.
My Rating – 3/5
P.S. – 1. Read the film’s music review here.
2. The film has its obvious flaws. Some cliches and some overt advertisements for the sponsors do take away the sheen from the beautiful poetry in motion on screen.
Autograph, Srijit Mukherjee’s first film was a tribute to Satyajit Ray’s Nayak. Although not a brilliant film, it gave us a sneak peek into what Srijit is capable of. 22se Srabon establishes him as a director par excellence. Tribute the unsung poet found in almost every Bengali home, the film touted as a musical thriller, delves deep into the human psyche and shows us a dark facet of life, answers to which we seldom seek.
Poetry is the crux of literature in any part of the world. It took Srijit Mukherjee to make poetry a character of the film – it spoke, played its part and in the end emerged as the real winner. Bengali literature will always be indebted to Srijit for 22se Srabon – this beautiful amalgamation of bengali cinema and bengali literature will go down the pages of history as a relic. To supplement the poetic screenplay, was the background score which accentuates your cinematic performance. The aalap when Parambrata enters Prasenjit’s house still haunts my ears.
We have known Gautam Ghosh before as an ace director who has won accolades all across the world, we have known him as a cinematography wizard who has given us films like Mr and Mrs Iyer. 22se Srabon gives us Gautam Ghosh, the actor, who almost everyone can relate to – the idealist poet, whose words the State refuses to hear, driving him to “insanity”. But was he really insane?
22se Srabon is his career best performance by Prasenjit. His opening scene took me back to “The Last Lear” – i had thought no one can match the persona of Big B ever. I was happily proven wrong. And proudly so, by an actor of the Bengali film industry. The arrogance, the indifference, the angst, and moreover the quite mind game playing in his eyes – Prasenjit gifted us a magical performance on his 50th birthday. 22se Srabon is what it is for the brilliant screen presence of the two actors – Gautam Ghosh and Prasenjit Chatterjee.
Many films have been made from poetry. Sob Choritro Kalponik, Jara Brishtite Bhijechilo have been the most recent ones i can remember. But they failed to engage us into the words like 22se Srabon did. To even conceptualize murders which enliven couplets penned by stalwarts like Joy Goswami, Binoy Majumder, Shakti Chattopadhyay, Jibanananda Das, Michael Madhusudan or Sukanto, requires a great knowledge of their works.
This film also subtly gives us many messages in the one liners that the film is full of. The unabashed use of expletives (in the vernacular) can give the makers of Delhi Belly a run for their money. But that does not make you uncomfortable seated between two elderly ladies in the theatre. The characters are as real or normal as we are. We share their pain, relate to their grief. From the loss of your wife and child to the constant tangle between boyfriend and best friend, the subplots in the film just enrich the two and half hour long experience.
22se Srabon must be watched by all. For the love of bengali cinema, for the love of poetry, and above all to learn a lesson. We tend to ignore the dark domains of our psyche, and in doing so let it capture our existence to an extent of living death. And as one of the characters says “Dada ami bachte chai”, the message we all can take from 22se Srabon is to live life.
Eagerly waiting for Srijit’s next film.
My rating – 4/5 for 22se Srabon.