Adapted from a novel of the same name by a Bengali novelist whose work I like reading, Suchitra Bhattacharya, Dahan is one of Rituparno Ghosh’s best works, along with Utsab. The movie chronicles the lives of two women whose lives get entangled following the occurrence of a terrible incident. A complex, layered and brilliantly explored tale of relationships – marital and otherwise – and the various hypocrisies and double standards therein, on the backdrop of the urban milieu of Calcutta, Dahan is anything but a date movie. Ghosh, an exceptional women's director and one of the finest explorers of dysfunctional families and relationships surviving on the garb of saccharine outward gargs, didn’t mince words while presenting a pointed insight into the minds of the characters in particular and the society they live in, in general. Despite the subject matter being heavy, the exceptionally well crafted narrative managed to make the viewing experience both engaging and disturbing. The acting, as in most movies by the talented auteur, is good; Rituparna Sengupta, however, stands out in her devastatingly real and emotionally wrenching portrayal of a lonely housewife’s desperate attempts at surviving with dignity – in a way reminiscent of Naomi Watt’s equally searing turns in 21 Gramsand Mulholland Drive. Though the basic theme of the tale falls in the domain of “bra-burning feminism”, in the expert and sensitive hands of the director, the movie has managed to rise well above narrow diktats.
Director: Rituparno Ghosh Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Family Drama Language: Bengali Country: India