Oct 1, 2011 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS): Baishe Srabon is a Bengali film directed by filmmaker-actor Srijit Mukherjee with Prosenjit Chatterjee, Raima Sen, Parambrata Chatterjee and others in cast. Read the Bengali movie review at Calcutta Tube.
With all the hype and hoopla surrounding another feature film from director Srijit who gave us the immensely popular Autograph, and with the subject being a dark thriller, expectations were sure to reach a fever pitch. But even as crowd fills up movie theatres from day 1, the celluloid experience of Baishe Shrabon dazzles at times but somehow tries to mix a little too much.
The film begins with a murder in a dark night street of Kolkata and with police officers running baffled about the appearance of a serial killer who also churns out lines from poems of famous poets.
So we meet Parambrato Chattopadhyay as the young police officer Abhijeet who nags a bit but is the only one competent to handle the case which also eludes his grasp.
Raima sen appears as his muse and the two have a fight leading to break up and thus an opening for Raima’s childhood friend Abir Chatterjee to propose to the girl.
Amidst this love triangle we also meet a rejected poet Nibarun aka Goutam Ghosh who talks each night with Rabindranath and seems to be a bit eccentric.
With the stage set it is time for the entry of the big man himself- Prabir Roy Chowdhury aka Prosenjit Chatterjee who sets the mood for the film with stunning dialogues and a scornful cynicism towards the current generation of cops.
But Prabir has his own past to deal with and he manages that with glasses of whiskey and smoke fuelled delusions while Abhijeet has his love problems.
Thus we are greeted with a pseudo thriller cum romance for the rest of the movie with a fantastic twist in the end. (No no I am not spilling the beans)
The story – 3/5
Alas! What injustice evils of commercialisation often do to plots with stunning innovation and what can very well turn out to be one of the best conceived designs in recent celluloid history manages to reach only a fraction of its potential.
Watching Baishe Shrabon gives a familiar feeling of mixed emotions as we see unfolding a novel story with unpredictable twists and unconventional dialogues but a one that is bogged down by a totally unnecessary love triangle amidst all the blood curling suspense.
The movie starts with dark jittery scenes that immediately pull you into the adrenaline pumped excitement of exploring recently unfamiliar territory of a gory thriller.
The mood and the gripping pace continues, reaching a fever pitch with Prosenjit’s introduction and then suddenly it starts to lose its way.
For a long time then the movie completely deviates from the touted thriller genre and becomes a love story between three people and though there are moments of great anxiety thrown in between the urban story of confused adorations, the script largely becomes let downer for most of the middle parts of the 2 hour plus movie.
Then as you almost loose heart thinking that the end will disappoint you just as rest of the lacklustre storyline, almost out of the blue Baishe Shrabon does a Farhan Akhtar Don jiggle and a twist turns up knocking your bails out.
Apart from the truly inspiring ending however Srijit falls prey to his familiar trap of trying to do too much and overall the story becomes only a mere flash of the actual macabre it could have delivered sans the love story.
A special mention must go to the beautifully written dialogues that give the characters a realistic edge and manage to bring a delicious flavour of bad ass cop Prabir. They will simply make you flinch and carry you to a world of realism rarely ventured into by the other contemporary movies in all of India.
The direction and technique – 3/5
Kudos to the director for creating an environment filled with believable characters and kudos to the cinematographer for some spectacular scenes.
Everything from the camera work to the transitions and the colour tones appear to behave like a one giant colluded mass of beauty that surprises and pleases you at every turn. Yes what makes most of the movie appealing is the visual adroitness coupled with the terrific characterization.
With Bollywood producing one “goonda” cop after another that are all stereotypes and slightly altered versions of one another, ex-cop Prabir comes packed with a freshness that is bound to captivate.
Looking at our very own version of a cop with killer attitude you feel right at home and every word that comes out of his mouth makes this movie a treat to watch. Somewhere down the line what Bolly does good, Tolly just did better.
But the movie comes with its own set of flaws like the sudden transitions from suspense to romance and back again with pieces of background stories of the characters being thrown in between the run, leave you often dazed and hankering for better editing and organization.
The acting – 3.5/5
If this topsy turvy thriller works then much of the credit goes to the Tolly star who turned 49 just last day. Yup Prosenjit delivers the goods with a damn attitude and with a dialogue delivery that leaves you longing for more.
He alone takes this otherwise disturbed effort to new heights and shows us dimensions we knew he was capable of but were unaware of the assiduous dexterity that he could display with such effortless ease.
You believe him, you love him and you hate him as he drives much of the movie forward through the entire unwanted romance lullaby.
Parambrato starts off good but then settles into his comfortable setting of Topshe as the sidekick of Prabir (indeed he is even called by the name once) and manages to remain unimpressive for the rest of the movie.
Raima Sen is experienced with the urban muse character and does well while Abir too manages to bring smiles with bright freshness that he exudes in the little screen time he is offered.
One mention is reserved for Goutam Ghosh as the lost poet. He frets and chafes while mouthing poetry with a brilliant deep voice and eyes that lit up with a sincere effort to emulate the darkness that a man broken by society faces. For those who have seen his work behind the camera will marvel at the wonderful performance he put up in front of it.
The music – 3/5
A lot has already been said about how good the music is but I sincerely believe it could have been better and much of the song sequences were appearing forced and totally non synchronous with the mood of the entire film.
Having said that the songs in itself are good and may have worked in another fixture, but it is rather the background score that offers the support to “Baishe Shrabon”.
Should you pay homage at this “Baishe Shrabon”?
You may and you certainly should if you are Prosenjit’s fan for this is a chance to see him in a new light in a role he has nearly played many times before.
You can certainly watch it for the enticing visuals and the thrilling (though slightly overdrawn) twist at the end that will certainly make your head spin.
But if you need something more than “Bumbada” and just the idea of a full blown thriller then you can wait till it appears on your television screens.
By Arnab Chakraborty