Thursday 19 January 2012

Baishe Srabon [2011]

Srijit Mukherji, whose debut film Autograph earned considerable popular success, has taken a completely divergent route with Baishe Srabon (the 22nd day of the Indian month of Shravan and the great Indian litterateur Rabindranath Tagore’s death anniversary), and is a clear indication of the director’s growing maturity as a filmmaker. This dark and noirish murder mystery, and carefully garbed morality tale, is a brave attempt at exploration of the seedy underbelly of the city of Calcutta, otherwise known for its gentility and bhadralok culture. Members of the bottommost strata of the society are getting brutally murdered leaving the police confounded; the only clues they have at their disposals are, the carefully chosen dates for the murders, and scraps of paper containing poems by some of the greatest Bengali poets left beside each of the victims. On one hand we have a young cop (Parambrato Chatterjee) begrudgingly having to accept the leadership of a moody, rough and brilliant ex-cop (Prosenjit Chatterjee) infamous for his involvement with custodial deaths and encounters; a key parallel narrative strand focusses on an angry, bitter and perennially rejected poet (director turned actor Goutam Ghose) who is a self-anointed member of the “Hungryalist Movement” which had attempted to revolutionize Bengali poetry during the heydays of 60’s and 70’s. The screenplay is a tad uneven leaving the moodiness of the story diffused at places, Parambrato is quite disappointing, and the finale seemed quite forced. However, the terrific visual treatment courtesy the expressionist photography, and the intense and powerful angst-filled performance of Ghose made the movie worth a watch. Prosenjit, too, deserves a mention for his strong turn.

Director: Srijit Mukherji
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Mystery
Language: Bengali
Country: India

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