Saturday, 2 December 2017

Samantaral: a review

bésame mucho
como si fuera esta noche
la ultima vez.
bésame mucho
que tengo miedo a per-derte,
perderte después…”

The first time I had seen the trailer (or rather, stumbled upon the trailer) I knew that I had to watch this movie. By hook or by crook. There was something there. Something that probably I still can't pinpoint, which attracted me to the movie. I am a person who hasn't watched any movie at a movie hall alone and so I badly needed a partner to accompany me. Sadly, no one was free enough. Finally, I decided that l will watch the movie alone but not before having that one last try. Guess what? A friend agreed. So at last, one Saturday evening, decked up in warm clothes we reached the multiplex. A 5:35pm show of a bengali movie in Kolkata at a place like Diamond Plaza, I got to have this special mention: the screen was houseful. Enough for us to get seats where we have to crane our neck to watch. All thanks to the push back chairs that made it at least a bit comfortable.

Once inside the hall, seated, I knew that finally Samantaral is waiting for me. An out an out Parambrata Chattopadhyay film, this film surely deserves a mention. I wonder why it wasn't promoted that well or not many people know about it. But what I do know is the fact that you, as a viewer don't choose the film. The film will choose you. I would like to believe that the film is not for the masses who love watching action or romance but it is for the selected few. Also starring in a family as the head is Soumitro Chatterjee, his sons- Kushal Chakraborty and Anindya Pulak Banerjee and their wives- Aparajita Addhya and Tonushree. In comes the new entrant of their family, the son of the only daughter of their family and now an orphan- Riddhi Sen. His returning from hostel to carry on his further studies is liked by a few family members, while the others don't really like it.

Riddhi’s Arka comes in with a fresh mindset and has no idea about what has happened all these years in the house and instantly shows a liking towards his mejo maamu, Parambrata’s Sujan. And dare I say, we start showing a liking towards him too. Throughout the film and his journey in understanding his mejo maamu, he is supported by his Facebook friend of 3 years turned college mate, Titli played by Surangana Banerjee. Their friendship off screen reflects on their on screen chemistry. A special cameo is also reserved for Sambit da, Titli’s cousin who is a psychiatrist. Guess who aces the role? Our very own Sidhu (Siddhartha Shankar Roy). Now, having you introduced to the characters it is time for the story and its presentation.

Partha Chakraborty, the director of the movie has taken a bold step into showing what he has shown through the movie. The societal message that the movie portrays would leave every viewer gobsmacked. I am a lover of books. I love to read a good fiction and try to predict what's gonna happen in the end. A lot of times I am correct while other times, I am wrong. But this time, the director takes us on with the journey of Arka and Sujan and it is during the climax that both Arka and the viewers (including myself) know what actually is the truth. I would like to give kudos to the director for achieving such a feat. The end surely gives you the answer of why this movie was made. Small incidences make this movie what this is. Like the one where Sujan is sitting quietly with his food in front of him while he watches the ant eat all away. The reason, why? A smiling, innocent Sujan with dreamy eyes of a child says- the ants have come over to dinner at his place. Or the one where he runs away from home only to be found later on. And the  only two scenes with Surangana where it shouts Parambrata all over the scene. The easy camaraderie shared between Parambrata and Riddhi makes your experience watch worthy.

Aside from the climax and the why's of the movie, this movie didn't have enough weight. Heavy actors failed to put in the much needed impact on the story. Certain things, I believe, should've been shown with more convenience or more strongly while the others, according to me, could've been left to the imagination. For me, the screenplay was weak. Padmanabha Dasgupta has a lot of expectations riding on his shoulders and he could surely have given the movie the much needed push which somehow went missing. The first half of the movie to a certain extent at times felt dragged but I know that it was creating a base for the movie to stand. Another thing that put me off the movie a bit was the fact that the shots were too tight and close. Too many closeup shots and lose subplots doesn't do much good to the movie.

The sub plots of the movie didn't give in much of the punch needed. Neither were all the characters memorable. I still do feel about the movie that it could've been a stellar book if written rather than a movie but again, a movie is the only way to show what the director wanted to. This movie will get its share in due course of time, I am sure. Coming to the music, Indraadip Dasgupta has done a splendid job and songs like Dekha hobey boley and Tui chhuli jokhon surely catch the mind of the viewer but the only song that stayed with me throughout the movie and even now in repeat mode has to be Bhalobashar gaan, originally a song of Lalon Fakir and Mexican Pianist Consuelo Velázquez, recreated and sung by our one and only- Parambrata. The innocence, the eyes, the profile, the bold attempt at even agreeing to do such a role shows how versatile an actor he is (and now even a singer too).

I can somehow go on and on about the movie because I still can't pin point, after writing over 900 words on it now, what about the movie I like and dislike. I hope, I just hope, this movie gets its due. I just wish this movie was promoted more strongly. I just hope this movie is made into a book. So if any of you reading this (if at all you could make it till the end of the write-up) want to discuss the movie and make me talk about it, mail me, ping me and I promise I will be there.

To the spirit of being equals. To the spirit of Samantaral. Let us, like Sujan, open our arms wide and know that everyone deserves happiness. Let us sing out loud...

“Khuji taare aasman jomi

Amare chini na ami..
Ki bishom bhromero bhromi
E bishom bhromero bhromi
Ami konjon se konjona
Ke kotha koy re dekha dey na...”

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