Saturday 22 May 2010

Asukh (Malaise) [1999]

The stretch from his debut feature Hirer Angti and roughly culminating with Utsab and Shubho Mahurat – his finest works till date, saw Bengali auteur Rituparno Ghosh at his most dizzying best, and Asukh released right at the middle of this immensely creative phase of his career. The film follows parallel narratives. The present shows Rohini (marvelously portrayed by Debashree Roy), a popular actress but an emotionally vulnerable lady addicted to sleeping pills, trying to cope with her mother’s illness, which ends up triggering a subtle schism with her father (yet another stellar performance by veteran thespian Soumitra Chatterjee). Flashbacks, meanwhile, show the slow disintegration of her relationship with her fiancé because of his increasing closeness with a younger upcoming actress, which in many ways ends up defining her present vulnerability, suspicious disposition and a perpetual feeling of betrayal which gets extended to include her father as well. An intense, brooding and thoroughly brilliant character study, Ghosh managed to capture the nuances of Rohini’s relationships and her internal turmoil through exceptional use of Tagore’s poems. The leisurely paced film is marvelously scored and photographed.

Director: Rituparno Ghosh
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Family Drama
Language: Bengali
Country: India

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