Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sthaniya Sambaad (Spring in the Colony) [2009]

Sthaniya Sambaad is a darkly humorous film with loosely bound multiple narratives, post-modernist style and self-consciously arthouse sensibilities. Made on ultra-low budget with mostly non-professional actors, the ensemble film is a peek into the seriocomic lives of first, second and even third generation immigrants of what is now Bangladesh, residing in a bustling colony located in South Calcutta. Thus, while two aged and palpably nostalgic men, at odds with the world around them, aimlessly discuss on unrelated topics all day long, a young Romeo, in love with a well-off girl who, unbeknownst to him has just suffered a bizarre tragedy, bares his heart to a sympathetic, insomniac intellectual; unbeknownst to any of them, two smart-ass hoodlums have in their possession a strange object that they want to sell to a shady property dealer; meanwhile, a group of jobless youngsters, like their older counterparts, spend their days fastened to the same spot observing life in the colony. A host of sociopolitical issues have been touched upon ranging from memories of partition to real estate politics – some subtly, while others in an in-your-face manner. But what I found most interesting about the film was portrayal of the foibles, absurdities and idiosyncrasies of everyday life with wry, cheeky humour, through seemingly rambling conversations reminiscent of the films of Jarmusch; the scenes involving the two aged men and the youths, who are were like temporally shifted mirror images of one another, were amongst the most memorable moments. The acting, however, was wildly inconsistent, ranging from effortlessly comical to completely wooden, while the film itself was disarmingly engaging one moment, and didactic and theatrical the other.

Director: Moinak Biswas & Arjun Gourisaria
Genre: Drama/Social Satire/Ensemble Film
Language: Bengali
Country: India

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