Bhorer Pakhi (2011)-Bengali Movie Review

Bhorer Pakhi-Bengali Movie PosterDec 27, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Bhorer Pakhi is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Tapan Dutta with Sreelekha Mitra, Manoj Mitra, Manu Mukherjee and others in the cast. Read the Bengali film review at Calcutta Tube.


Produced by: Fivestar Communication

Producer: Aparna Dutta

Story and direction: Tapan Dutta

Screenplay and dialogue: Tapan Dutta and Gourinath Mukherjee

D.O.P.: Samik Talukdar

Editing: Malay Banerjee

Music: Ashok Das

Lyrics: Sriborun and Purnima Biswas

Art direction: Swapan Sil

Cast: Sreelekha Mitra, Manoj Mitra, Manu Mukherjee, Sankar Chakraborty, Amitava Bhattacharya, Rajatava Dutta, Mrinal Mukherjee and others.

Date of release: December 16, 2011

Rating: 03/10

Bhorer Pakhi (The Morning Bird) is a bad film practically rescued from oblivion by the acting cast. The heroine’s nickname Pakhi, is used several times in the dialogue in different ways with adjectives like ‘the caged bird’, ‘the wild bird’, ‘the free bird’ and of course, ‘the morning bird.’

Director Tapan Dutta the sad story of a sex worker (Sreelekha Mitra) nicknamed Pakhi as his central character. He gives a non-voyeuristic vision of the sex worker. His film does not include disrobing, sensationalisation of the subject or character, sizzling bedroom scenes or much physical violence. He uses story-telling within the film as his structure. Pakhi visits her new client Subhoranjan Dutta (Rajatava Dutta), a famous writer in a hotel room. The writer persuades her to tell him how, in spite of being an educated young woman with training in music, she stepped into this profession. As she narrates her story, the film moves into large flashback segments to come back to the hotel room.

Pakhi has been persuaded by a pimp, a neighbourhood guy to enter the profession. Her experience in the mainstream has not been good. The landlord (Manoj Mitra) of the flat they live in and his son, her music teacher (Mrinal Mukherjee) lust after her, making it impossible for her to lead a normal life. Her boyfriend Aseem (Amitava Bhattacharya) suddenly suffers from pangs of guilt for living off his industrialist father and decides to go away to the US. (With whose money, pray?) Her older brother (Sankar Chakraborty) remains a passive observer after the father (Manu Mukherjee)’s factory has pulled down its shutters. The younger brother is an alcoholic and the kid sister is still in school. Pakhi is the sole earning member. Her approach to her profession is no-nonsense. When her oral narration ends, it is early morning and she ‘flies away’ like the morning bird. Before that though, she learns that her famous client is actually Aseem’s industrialist-cum-writer father and he blesses her ensuring her of his son’s return. He also has his stuff for his next novel Bhorer Pakhi.

Fine story for cheap sentimental melodrama; but after the interval, the film diverts to different worlds that just cannot happen within Pakhi’s flashback. The first is her younger brother’s tale of woe where he is frustrated in every attempt to find a job because everyone knows he is an alcoholic. The second shows the pimp portrayed as a beggar who talks into his cell-phone while his fifth wife and her string of kids chase him for money. The third concerns Pakhi’s father’s flashback as an ice-cream vendor. The fourth is absolutely bizarre. The camera enters a massage parlour run by Pakhi’s mother dressed to her teeth and the terrible-looking massage girls giggling away waiting for customers. Plainclothes anti-prostitution squad members step in and round them all up. Pakhi wakes up from a nightmare. Where? In the hotel room? How? Isn’t she unfolding the story of her life? Why, because the director did the disappearing act after the interval?

Technically, the film is so bad that often, the screen goes almost white for complete lack of post-production colour processing. The editing is bizarre. The cinematography has nothing to offer. The music is so-so. So what gives? The acting is an example of what excellent actors can do in a badly made film resting on a weak script. Sreelekha does her best and Rajatava matches her in every shot. Manoj Mitra and Mrinal Mukherjee are in control while Amitava is extremely lack-lustre.

– Shoma A. Chatterji

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