Aditya Sengupta, in his deftly evocative debut feature Asha Jaoar Majhe which he'd composed sans any onscreen dialogues, displayed his bent towards eschewing conventional narrative forms. And with his marvelous sophomore work, Jonaki, he’s further expanded on his formal disposition by intermingling fragmented memories, broken dreams, desires and bleak realities, through visual storytelling, into a haunting montage. The result was a muted, atmospheric and gorgeously beautiful sepia-toned work that was distinctively Tarkovskian; ironically though, as revealed by the director in an interview, the only film by the Soviet giant that he’s seen is Ivan’s Childhood, and not, say, The Mirror or Solaris that this was stylistically or thematically closer to. The film portrayed, in the form of a free-flowing series of loosely connected dream sequences, the recollections and reminiscences of the titular lady Jonaki (in a daring turn by Lolita Chatterjee), of indeterminate but decidedly extremely advanced age, currently on her deathbed – the enormous mansion where she grew up which, like her brittle and decayed existence, is now a dank, crumbling and dilapidated building comprising of broken railings, dust-filled rooms, collapsing ceilings, empty courtyards and moss-covered porches; her soft-spoken father (Sumanto Chattopadhyay) obsessed with botany and oblivious to his growing tumour; her loving but dogmatic mother (Ratnabali Bhattacharjee) in increasing emotional stress; her doomed and forbidden affair as a teenager with a Christian guy (Jim Sarbh); her lonely and unhappy marriage to a much older businessman. As this magnificently composed and photographed dreamscape progresses, we also witness, in a rare peek into the present, her former lover, who’s now an old man (Burjor Patel), hoping for one final rendezvous over oranges, which is bound to end in heartbreak.
Director: Aditya Vikram Sengupta
Genre: Drama/Surrealist Drama/Romantic Drama