Adapted from the kaleidoscopic, unabashedly provocative and uncompromisingly brilliant novella of the same name by Nabarun Bhattacharya, noted theatre personality Suman Mukhopadhyay’s debut film has done full justice to the complex psycho-analysis and tar-black humour of the story. Herbert Sarkar, the titular character, is a 40-year old crank who thinks he can speak to the dead, and, as another reviewer aptly stated, is as much a clown as he is a charlatan. However, that’s just the short of it. Vital subplots ranging from the struggle between rationalism and mysticism, to the violent Naxalite movement of 70’s Calcutta that had some of the finest students of the city embracing the intoxicating doctrines of Mao, Lenin, Che Guevara and Charu Mazundar and dying by the hundreds, make this fodder for passionate ideological discourse. Protégé of the Nouvelle Vague brand of storytelling, the director’s love for the medium and complete abandon have been expressed as much by the surreal “movie within a movie” angle, as by the exquisite pacing, the viscerally engaging narrative, terrific usage of flashbacks and dream sequences, and a fantastic eye for cinematic details that succeeded in depicting the beauty, the nostalgia, the decadence, and the shifting perspective that are all so unique to the city of Calcutta. The tragic-comic love angle and pointed satirical undertones make for viewing that is charming and disturbing in equal measures. The casting is as good as it gets. The true revelation of the movie, however, is Subhashish Mukherjee. His brilliant, explosive turn as the quixotic, irreverent, mercurial and delectably Chaplinesque protagonist is easily what one might call the performance of a lifetime.