Friday, 29 November 2013

Sunglass [2012]

Rituparno Ghosh’s Sunglass, for reasons not known to this reviewer, had been on hold for quite sometime now. This hitherto unreleased film finally saw the light of day at this year’s KFF which held a retrospective to commemorate the recently deceased Bengali filmmaker. Though covering such topics as marital fidelity, simmering urban discontent and ennui, this would easily rank as his most unabashedly mainstream venture, and hence appeared as an odd one out vis-à-vis his oeuvre – particularly compared to his last few films which were at times too deliberate in their high-brow aesthetics and were affected by his increasing real-life activism. Further, this was also his first try at magic realism. Consequently, given Ghosh’s forte as a storyteller, as proven by the first half of his filmography, one might expect this to be worth looking forward to. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a rather half-hearted effort full of clichés, predictable plot developments, and weak attempts at social satire. The story is about an upscale and seemingly happy couple (Konkona Sen Sharma and Tota Roy Chowdhury) whose veneer of respectability comes crashing down when the wife stumbles upon an antique sunglass which allows her to become aware of what is not directly visible to the eyes, and she ends up knowing things about her husband, friends, housemaid, etc. that she wasn’t supposed to know. There was promise in the premise, but the above mentioned factors, coupled with its tad didactic nature and mediocre performances by all, including the reliable Konkona, made the film forgettable at best. Both Naseeruddin Shah and Jaya Bachchan were wasted in their brief roles which had considerable potentials. I'm happy there are a number of good films to remember Ghosh by.

p.s. Watched this as part of 2013 Kolkata International Film Festival (KFF)

Director: Rituparno Ghosh
Genre: Comedy/Social Satire/Marriage Comedy
Language: Bengali
Country: India

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