033 is a 2010 Bengali Movie directed by Birsha Dasgupta starring Parambrato Chattopadhyay, Swastika Mukherjee, Mumtaz Sorcar, Sabyasachi Chakraborty and others. Read the complete critic’s review of 033 Bengali Film.
- Parambrato Chattopadhyay- Som – Lead Guitarist
- Swastika Mukherjee: Mrinalini – NRI
- Mumtaz Sorcar Ria – Female Vocalist
- Sabyasachi Chakraborty : Santiago
- Dhruva Mukherjee : Voodoo – Drummer
- Rudranil Ghosh Rudra – Keyboardist
- Saheb Chattopadhyay
- Madhabi Mukherjee
- Director- Birsa Dasgupta
- Producer- Moxie Entertainments
- Music Director- Chandrabindu
Review: 033 Bengali Movie – A HOME WITHOUT AN ADDRESS
Where do your roots lie if you are a young, modern contemporary Bengali trying to create a successful music band in Kolkata? Why do you need to search your roots in your own city if you have lived most of your life in distant Delhi? What makes you come to Kolkata for the first time in your life on the eve of your graduation? What kind of music must you create to justify the name you have given your band – 033 that is the postal code for the city that shaped you? Should it be synonymous with the music of Pink Floyd? Or should it rather be a poor imitation of the Fab Four also known as the Beatles? Why should the members of 033, a Bengali music band, keep falling back on an old hit called Rhododendron for its performances to empty halls and not create its own lyrics and its own music rooted to the soil it sprung from? And why should Shome, one of the band members, forever seek inspiration from Jose Feliciano or insist on performing improvised versions of Rhododendron once written by his father who abandoned him and its music maker, the intriguing Santiago who didn’t?
Birsa Dasgupta challenges the craft of cinema to create his own, distinct structure. The production design of the different segments of the film, its light effects, variations in the cinematography (Shomak Mukherjee) as it keeps shifting back and forth from different kinds of colour to sepia tones to black-and-white to discotheque effects, the characters in their different eccentricities and dreams give shape to the narrative. The mind-blowing music along with the brilliant lyrics become the real stars who carry the film on their talented shoulders from beginning to end.
Santiago’s room is flush with different kinds of guitars hanging off its red walls; huge posters of the Beatles are splashed everywhere; a poster with Pink Floyd’s name written in big letters and the words ‘FAB FOUR’ are flashed across one door in bright red. There is an aquarium that instead of fish holds a lot of memorabilia. Santiago keeps one wondering if he is for real or if he is part of the young boys’ dreams and Mrinalini’s imaginary nostalgia. He wears long sideburns with a shiny red shirt with large floral prints to match. The lighting is in sharp primary colours of red, blue and green, similar to strobe lights seen in a stage show or in a discotheque. The figures of the boys show up in shades of dark and light, sometimes in silhouette.
Mrinalini, frightened by a loud knocking on the door of her hotel room, comes to stay with Shome’s grandmother in the ‘house without an address.’ It is an old, red-bricked structure with a winding staircase, a statuette on the landing lit by sunlight filtering in through the stained glass windows. The grandmother lives alone in this huge home that stands in the corner of two roads but without an address. The lighting here is mellow and romantic, much like the grand old dame who sings out lines of her favourite Tagore song ex tempore. Shome shows Mrinalini his father’s room as he had left it many years ago. A large photograph of Che Guevara hangs on a wall. The small terrace looks out on the river with an antique boat doddering on the waves. The camera moves merrily across the lanes and bylanes of the city, the Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, Loreto House, roadside cafes selling Chinese food, pedestrian crossings in the middle of the night, the vast yellows of the maidan and last but never the least, the beautiful grays and browns of the beach and the rolling waves of the sea at Shankarpur, where Mrinalini pushes them to shoot them perform Rododendron with the waves as audience.
Dasgupta proves that a story and its characters can be shaped from pure technique to add flesh, blood and some more to a narrative that is not credible enough to ring true. He shows how Srijato’s beautiful lyrics set to tune by the talented Chandrabindoo can become the backbone of a film and define its main characters – Shome with a chip on his shoulder, caught between a future in IT and his career in music, disturbed by a betraying father and a sick mother. Rudra cannot make the difference between Lenin and Lennon and is made the butt of jokes by the others. Rudra hails from the suburbs and always carries an umbrella like a moral crutch while Shaheb tries to wear his girlfriend, the fiery Mumtaz on his arm, in vain. Dhruv, tongue firmly in cheek, wears ear-rings while Shome and Mrinalini try to cover their mutual attraction with caller tunes on their cell phones. After wading through trial-and-error compositions like shukiye jacche jol anno kothao chol and the melodious neel alo, they finally find their feet and their audience in– thikana heen badi – the home without an address. They sing in proper band uniform, white shirts on blue jeans in the wide vastness of the Maidan with posters like “The War is Over” punctuating the backdrop. 033 finds its roots firmly entrenched into the city it seeks synonymy with, and reaches beyond.
Rudraneel is mind-blowing in his diffidence, in trying to belong, in holding on to his umbrella as much to his vegetarian food on a Thursday. Sabyasachi Chakraborty comes second while Shaheb who has also lent his wonderful voice to two songs, and Dhruv with his spontaneity, give them solid support. Mumtaz is very good in her first film. Shome and Mrinalini try their best to invest their characters with the angst that is called for, but the melodramatic twist in their love tale tends to spoil it.
The editing is fantastic, like the rest of the film. So, does it deserve a ten on ten? Not really. Mrinalini in a towel is a needless distraction. 033 is more cerebral and intellectual than emotional which a film centered on music should be. The emotions could have easily come in if there were less intellectual references made to Guevara, Feliciano and one of Bob Dylan’s many girlfriends which makes 033 too niche-audience a film. This critic would liberally grant it an eight on ten.
By Shoma A. Chatterji
033-Bengali Movie Review by Anirban De
Verdict: Colourful, Lively, Spirited, Crispy
The story starts with Mrinalini, a Delhi based Bengali girl in search of her roots, reaches Calcutta or more specifically the gates of D minor, home to his father’s long time friend-cum-partner in music, Santiago. On entering D minor, Mrinalini is ushered into an enchanting world of harmony where she meets the band called 033 led by the apparently egoist Shome. 033 was formed by five friends, Shome, Voodoo, Rudra, Arnab and his girlfriend Ria. Their passion for music drove them to create their own songs but curiously the only song that their soul and audience craved for was ‘Rhododendrons’, written by Shome’s father who deserted him at the age of five. Though improvised by 033, but the charm of ‘Rhododendrons’ seemed everlasting. Thus their original compositions attracted only the empty halls and frustrations seemed to be only in store for the group till Mrinalini met them. Though she told them of her interest in shooting a video for her college project, but deep within she had an altogether different cause for pursuing the band’s ideology.
Mrinalini’s father had her roots in Calcutta and Shome’s father deserted him at a very early age. The hint was sufficient for the audience to make a connection and thus 033, synonymous with the Kolkata’s STD code seemed the only way for Mrinalini as well as Shome to connect with their past and thus explore the ancestry that seemed to bind them by an invisible tie. Thus Mrinalini, when opportunity provided did not miss staying with Shome’s grandma in the red bricked ‘Thikana Heen Baadi’ (house without an address) and thus coming closer still to the soul of the creator of ‘Rhododendrons’. In the process she also tried to convince the members of 033 of their wrong obsession of identifying themselves with the great city and thus urged them to perform at the seas away from the cosy nook of Calcutta. She tried to make them believe in their music that their ‘Rhododendrons’ drenched soul seemed to lack and thus sparked off a challenge of performing their best in front of the applauding waves. Santiago also agreed to the idea and thus they set off for Sankarpur where not only they discover their true selves but for Mrinalini and Shome, new realizations seemed to be in store there.
The story’s simplicity and the melodies had all the appeals for a musical extravaganza but for the lack of passion and some very unnecessary scenes (Mrinalini in bathrobes putting on her undergarments, Voodoo calling from toilet), the picture seemed quite mediocre. The two very important characters that the story missed very much was Mrinalini’s father and Shome’s mother who needed a little more explanation. I personally felt that the evolution of Shome’s character would have been better explained if his mother was more clearly projected. Another very curious character imposed on the movie was Santiago, supposedly the band’s mentor, whose emotions never seemed too much musical except for the lavish plastering of Fab Four pictures all around his room and an occasional reference to music and guitars. I just could not compare him with the characters that Anjan Dutta and Farhan Akhtar played respectively in Madly Bangalee and Rock On and found the former quite behind in feelings as far as music was concerned.
Rudraneel Ghosh, as expected, was just too good in his characterization of the amusing but serious Rudra, whose clinging to his sole umbrella correctly conveys the insecurities of a rural background. Saheb Chattopadhyay surprises with his personification of the care free Arnab and Mumtaz Sarkar was just the right choice for the spirited Ria. Swastika’s mature performance suited well with her character but Parambrata did not seem too comfortable with the role. Dhruv Mookherjee as the comical Voodoo sometimes did overact and Sabyasachi Chakrabarty though looking fine in the sideburns and glossy shirts but seemed underutilized and less passionate in his role of Santiago. Madhabi Mukherjee shows up in a side role as Shome’s grandmother and carries well in her short appearance.
Direction and more:
You have the camera rocking and rolling throughout, Rudraneel and Saheb once again setting up a brilliant performance, the debutant Mumtaz Sarkar’s supporting role lightening up the mood, Chandrabindu directing some engaging melodies including the captivating ‘Rhododendron’ and culminating in an equally well orchestrated ‘Thikana Heen Ekta Baadi’, but the forced abstraction of the Birsha Dasgupta directed and Debaloy Bhattacharya edited movie seemed to prevent a lasting impact on the audience’s mind. The movie though seemed to centre on music but the vagueness and intellectual content seemed to surpass the passion so necessary for a musical.
The chromatic collage had sometimes felt a bit excessive, cell phones and band movement proved to be an uncomfortable match and the camera really rocks a bit too much. As to the camera crew, though the frequency of close up shots for a big screen production could have been lessened, but Shomak Mukherjee’s superb cinematography is an added treasure for the movie. Not only was the mixing of bold shades with the lighter tones been done smartly but the shots on the move, Swastika’s staircase shot among the photoframes, ‘Thikana Heen Baadi’’s projection, the Ganges and the rooftop snaps were some of the best clips of the movie.
Kaushik-Barik’s art, Suchismita Dasgupta’s appropriate costume design and Amit Ganguly’s make up (specially that for Sabyasachi) all were just perfect for the movie.
Coming to the very last and definitely not the least is Chandrabindoo’s magnificent music direction that plays upon poet Srijato’s lyrics and carries the masterful voice of Upal and the rest through the nostalgic Rhododedrons, the rocking Rain Machine, the melodious Anya Kothao Chol and concluding in the harmonious Thika Heen Ekta Baadi.