I love to see movies; and when I see a good movie, I’m tempted to write about it. I don’t see myself as a film critic; so my statement in this note may not be in line with reviewing or critiquing the film. It’s just jotting down my opinions.
When a director’s debut film won 41 awards, screened at 5 film festivals and enjoyed more than 100 box office days; the success is termed as ‘super hit’. This success not only increases the expectation from his second film, but also creates a monumental pressure on the director to raise his bench mark.
I’m sure, while making Baishe Srabon, director Srijit Mukherji, had undergone such a situation. In my opinion, he is quite successful in this attempt; and Baishey Srabon will be remembered as a cornerstone among contemporary Bengali cinema.
Human psychology is very interesting subject. Everyone on this earth has a darker side in their personality. To some, this is prominent and we termed them as criminals; and for most of us, this darkness is invisible. Srijit’s Baishe Srabon, tells one such story.
I won’t categorise Baishe Srabon, as just a thriller or a murder chasing police story. It’s beyond that, which can be a pioneer film for new genre in Bengali cinema. It dwells upon the darker side of human face, where loneliness and insanity is not defined. The characters are very real, who use slangs randomly without any hesitation, as we do in our privy lives; but their motives are insane.
I prefer not to disclose the story-line, while talking about a film, as I believe, the pleasure of a movie is always in watching it in a theatre. Because, cinema is a visual subject and it will remain so forever.
Baishe Srabon, in spite of being a Hollywood style movie, is purely a Bengali cinema. The reason being the subject is intertwined with poetry, which is very much Bengali thing. As people say, though jokingly, there isn’t a single Bengali, who hasn’t tried inking couplets. Poets and poetry is such a part of Bengali living that whenever we heard the name Rabindra Nath; we recall none other than Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore. In this film too, he played an important role, not only the film is named on Tagore’s death anniversary, but his name is brilliantly used to create suspense in the story. His poetry is used too, to define two deaths in the film.
This film has four killings and each killing is linked with a poetry by Sukumar Ray, Jibabanada Das, Binoy Majumdar & Shakti Chattopadhyay respectively. Interestingly, the last two poets were part of Hungry generation movement in 1960; which is an integral part of the film. Lonely poet Nibaran Chakraborty, brilliantly portrayed by Gautam Ghosh, who is a strong believer of Hungry generation movement, is the central character in the film.
One should see Baishe Srabon for Gautam Ghosh’s act and Prosenjit Chatterjee’s brilliant histrionics. Prosenjit Chatterjee, in recent years, has gifted us with few films, where his actor soul is larger than his heroic personality. If I have to summarize in a single line, this film is the best of Prosenjit Chatterjee, till date. He has minutely orchestrated his mannerism and methods, to get into his character, which demands a super applause. I want to mention one instance from the film, where he tries to pull himself up, while sitting in his couch sipping his whiskey and calling his domestic help ‘Kanai’. Whomsoever, already seen the film will correlated with it.
Beside Gautam Ghosh and Prosenjit Chatterjee, there are two other male characters; Parambrata Chatterjee and Abir Chatterjee, and they are simply brilliant and honest to their roles. The role of Raima Sen is small but significant to complement Parambrata’s character.
In broader aspect, Baishe Srabon has three lead characters, but no one is independently a lead character. This is very interesting part of this film. Moreover, I have noticed an interesting pattern in Srijit’s films; our opinion built towards the lead character at the beginning of the film is shattered at the end of the film. It was there with Autograph’s Shubhobroto Mitra and it is very much here in Baishe Srabon. This is beautifully defined by a line of a song from the film itself ‘sotti bole sotti kichu nei’ (there truly nothing call truth). This is definitely the signature style of Srijit’s film making.
Talking about the music and songs in the film, Anupam Roy’s lyrics and compositions are definitely appreciable. However, I felt few songs are forced in the story-line.
Before concluding I must mention the important contribution of DOP Soumik Haldar, whose cinematography and use of colour made Baishe Srabon, a visual delight. Editor Bodhaditya Banerjee’s superb editing kept the pace of story and made it interesting till the end title rolls. Ananda Addhya’s art direction and Indradeep Dasgupta’s haunting background scores, also need a special mention.
To comprehend, I will say, after seeing Srijit‘s Autograph, Baishe Srabon may seem lacking on something; which is obvious as both the films are distant by opposite poles in treatment and cannot be compared with each other. However, Baishe Srabon is a must see film for everyone, who wants to enjoy a good movie.
Srijit’s first film Autograph was based upon great Bengali director Satyajit Ray’s Nayak. His second film shares the name with another stalwart Bengali director Mrinal Sen’s 1960 film Baishey Shravana. Shall we expect Srijit’s third film will relate to the third fellow of the trio of new wave Bengali cinema, Ritwick Ghatak? Does the dialogue from Ghatak’s film Meghe Dhaka Tara; “Dada aami baNchte chai” on Abir Chatterjee’s lips signifies so?
We are waiting for the answer.
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