March 10, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Ekdin Theek is a 2011 Bengali film directed by Nirmalya Banerjee with Debasree Roy, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Soma Dey and others in the cast. Read the Bengali movie review at Calcutta Tube.
EKDIN THEEK – GOOD STORY, BAD TELLING
Production: Anjana & Co.
Presented by: Anjan Majumdar
Story, screenplay and direction: Nirmalya Banerjee
Camera: Siddhartha Dey and Pradip Chakraborty
Editing: Anu Sarkar
Music: Deepak Choudhuri
Cast: Debasree Roy, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Ashrunu Maitra, Soma Dey, Mousumi Kar Chatterjee and others
Some people step into film-making with their personal agendas. Nirmalya Banerjee who scripted and wrote the story of Ekdin Theek and also directed it, belong to this group. Ekdin Theek is his agenda to use the film as a platform for the poetry the hero Nikihesh (Ashrunu) keeps mouthing. Without funding to back an experienced acting cast and technical crew, minus thoughtful planning, even a story with good potential can collapse.
Films like Ekdin Theek mysteriously pop up in empty theatres without a press release, a television promo or even word-of-mouth publicity. Ekdin Theek is about a budding writer Nikhilesh, son of bar-at-law Soumen Dutta (Dhritiman Chatterjee) who writes poetry and flies kites. He can afford this because his father is both affluent and powerful with strong political ties at the centre. His mother (Soma Dey) is a homely, gentle soul and after a long gap, we see a screen housewife who actually chops vegetables, fries fish and scolds the maid for breaking crockery.
The senior Dutta is very unhappy about his son’s lackadaisical attitude. Nikhilesh has a muse. She is Siddha (a very jaded Debasree Roy) who lives alone and is close to Nikhilesh. It is an ambiguous relationship the director fails to explore. Then, Nikhilesh wins a top literary award for his first novel. His status changes like magic. Ankita (Mousumi Kar Chatterjee), a television journalist who comes to interview him, falls in love with him. An art filmmaker buys the film rights of his novel and youngsters mob him for autographs when he enters a bookshop.
We get to know that Nikhil has party affiliations at the state level at a very late stage. His party banks on his popularity and fields him as a candidate in the coming elections. But his father with his barrister’s robes’ tied tightly to Delhi is warned by the powers-that-be to hold his son back at any cost. When the son refuses to bend, the father drops a bombshell – he had fixed the literature award for his son through his Delhi connections! Nikhilesh is devastated. He decides to call a press conference and spill the beans at the cost of his fame, popularity, relationships and party dictates. But they withdraw support because they have invested a lot to get their own mileage out of his fame. The girlfriend says, “What will my family say?” though we never know till the end what this ‘family’ is all about! Nikhilesh is determined to address the press conference alone. He goes back to flying kites with his street boy friends in the open fields under a blue sky. The film closes on this open note.
A very topical issue and story with very good cinematic possibilities is ruined by very bad filmmaking. Except Dhritiman Chatterjee and Soma Dey, no one makes the least impression. The flashback into Nikilesh’s past love is superfluous. The romantic interludes are hopelessly amateurish, artificial and unconvincing. Debasree Roy does not seem interested in an ill-defined role that makes her sing, dance, spout poetry and engage in obtuse conversations with Nikhilesh without either reference or context to the character. Ashrunu as Nikhilesh is insipid, dull and unimpressive. Mousumi fails to carry off an ill-etched role. The title song Ekdin Theek is the only saving grace.
Ekdin Theek has been shot on actual locations no thanks to the shoe-string budget that tells on the film. The post-production work is so rough that the picture resolution is often too blurred. One wonders whether the director bothered to get into post-production colour and sound processing at all. Then why make a film in the first place?
Shoma A. Chatterji