Monday 5 March 2012

Charulata 2011 [2012]

Rehashing of Satyajit Ray’s films seems to be the flavor of the season. The Ray masterpiece Nayak was given a reinterpretation a couple of years back in the largely mediocre Autograph, and now Charulata, Ray’s classic adaptation of the Tagore novella Nashtanir, has been transplanted to the modern era in Charulata 2011. Chaiti (Rituparna Sengupta) is the fiercely intelligent and well-read but lonely and sexually frustrated wife of Bikram (Arjun Chakraborty), the rich and soft-natured editor of a newspaper who’s perennially occupied with his work. Out of her boredom and loneliness Chaiti, using the profile name ‘Charulata 2011’, strikes up friendship and gets emotionally embroiled in a platonic cyber-affair with the London-based Sanjay (Dibyendu Mukherjee) who, incidentally (but not surprisingly), calls himself ‘Amal’ in the virtual world. However, when Sanjay comes down to Calcutta that things start taking complicated turns for all the three characters – not just because their relationship doesn’t remain purely emotional any more, but also because of a twist thrown in by the director. Given that the film is dialogue-heavy it demanded a better script as the dialogues often seem tad clichéd and labored – and the inclusion of risqué quips didn’t go well with the overall storytelling; further, the second half also dragged a bit unlike the more efficiently done first half. However, that said, the overall treatment of the movie, in terms of its photography, usage of music, décor, moodiness, etc., was quite good. Also, though unabashedly bold in its content, it still managed to evoke sensitiveness. And not to forget, Rituparna has provided a nuanced and effective turn of a sensuous woman torn between guilt and lust in her quest for love.

Director: Agnidev Chatterjee
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Romance
Language: Bengali
Country: India


Sam Juliano said...

Well, there are few S. Ray films I love more than CHARULATA, so this updating definitely has some interest for me. I will keep your astute insights in mind when i finally get to seeing it. Again, excellent work here Shubhajit!

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. Charulata remains one of my favourite Ray films too and a canonical work in Ray's oeuvre. In fact, know what, Ray himself considered Charulata his favourite movie among his filmography. So yes, I had watched this film with considerable trepidation :)