Bhalobasar Chupkatha (2011)-Bengali Movie Review

Jan 3, 2012 (Calcutta Tube): Bhalobasar Chupkatha is a 2012 Bengali movie directed by Suranjan Dey with Smritika, Suranjan, Deborshi and others in the cast. Read the Bengali film review by National Award Winning film critic and writer Shoma A. A Chatterji at Calcutta Tube.

BHALOBASAR  CHUPKATHA – MUNDANE

Banner: Innovative Media

Story, Script, Dialogue and Direction: Suranjan Dey

Music: Kundan Saha

Lyrics: Rajib

Singers: Roni and Sohini

Art: Ratan Saha

Sound: Sanjoy Dey

Cinematography: Soumitra Haldar

Editor: Abhijeet Poddar

Cast: Smritika, Suranjan, Deborshi, Amit

Rating: 05/10

This is the first film directed, written, scripted and directed by Suranjan Dey, a noted cultural journalist based in Kolkata. It is basically a love story about Monanto (Suranjan Dey) an ordinary man successful in his own way in terms of job and the material comforts in life. He falls in love and marries Suparna (Smritika) a glamorous young girl. Life is a roller coaster ride in a picnic spot till the bored housewife decides to take up a job in an ad agency.

Monanto’s happy world falls apart. Suparna begins to lead a promiscuous and wayward life, drinking, gallivanting around with different men till she walks back to her parental home. The end is open with the estranged wife crying when the current boyfriend ditches her and she breaks down in her room. The film does not show whether she goes back to her husband or not but there is a hint that perhaps she will.

After a leisurely opening with the camera wandering along Vidyasagar Setu and then on the main road, it zeroes in on the living room of the hero. Dey uses the flashback to structure the narrative with Monanto narrating his tale of woe to his Mumbai-based filmmaker friend over drinks in his Kolkata flat. The narrative moves back and forth between the young man’s love story and the drinking bout at home but it strangely ends without returning to the story-telling session revealing a lack of cohesiveness. The story is simple, narrated simply with a melodious opening song filling the soundtrack.

The dialogue is direct, straightforward and does not make any pretence to intellectual, verbal jugglery. Suranjan acts well but Smritika as his wife could have put in a better performance. She is good in the romantic scenes but stiff and conscious towards the end. The use of the clock in the end is good. Dey has used monochrome and colour in the flashback at random without any aesthetic or narrative design behind it. The English subtitles are a horror in terms of spelling and grammar which should have been taken care of considering this film is targeted at the international market too. The cinematography is in keeping with the simple story but the editing falls back on one too many repetitive shots.

The film lacks is an original and powerful storyline with some more conflict and drama than the predictable marital conflict beaten to death by hundreds of filmmakers over dozens of years across language, culture and geography. In other words, it lacks the ‘magic’, the ‘kick’ of an interesting storyline that could have established some kind of screen chemistry between the lead characters. Yet, for a first time director, it is an honest effort put across with the simplicity it deserves.

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