HING TING CHHOT (2010) Bengali Film Review-Soumitra Chatterjee creates magic

December 5, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): HING TING CHHOT is a 2010 Bengali Comedy Movie directed by Anasua Roy Chowdhury starring Soumitra Chatterjee, Samodorshi Dutta, Ankita Chakraborty, Rajatava Dutta, Sudipa Basu and others.

Cast and Crew:

  • Presented by: GBC Enterprises Ltd
  • Produced by: Sugata Bal and Krishnendu Das
  • Story and direction: Anasua Roy Chowdhury
  • Screenplay and dialogue: Debaloy Bhattacharya
  • Cinematography: Barun De Joardar
  • Editing: Sumit Ghosh
  • Sound Design: Ayan Bhattacharya
  • Music: Mayukh-Moinak
  • Cast: Soumitra Chatterjee, Samodorshi Dutta, Ankita Chakraborty, Rajatava Dutta, Sudipa Basu, Anindya Banerjee, Lama and Madhabi Mukherjee
  • Date of release: December 3 2010
  • Rating: 6/10

Soumitra the Magician -Bengali Movie Still
Soumitra the Magician -Bengali Movie Still

HING TING CHHOT – CONFUSING COMEDY

It is difficult for a director making her first film along the lines of her producer’s implicit demands to fit into his scheme of making the film promote his tea estate as a tourist resort, especially when the producer is a stranger to cinema – as art, entertainment or business. Anasua Roy Chowdhury sets herself the onerous task of making a film that journeys across multiple layers of story, character and meaning. Hing Ting Chhot promises wholesome family entertainment through a different brand of the comic, the magical and the romantic.

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Akaash is an aspiring musician, lyricist and singer. After a broken relationship courtesy his susceptibility to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, he sets off, guitar under his arm, for the hilly and green terrains of North Bengal. He meets an odd couple, the Lodhs who give him a lift. At the hotel mid-way, they encounter a strange magician named Kuhak who surprises them with his swift sleights of hand. During a magic show, Kuhak produces a beautiful girl he calls Digital Sonali because she is a computerized creation and not a real human being. Akaash falls in love with Digital Sonali believing her to be human. Is she? Does he manage to snatch her away from Kuhak whose show cannot survive without Sonali? Does Sonali find out the truth about herself? What happens to the Lodhs? These are questions the weird answers to which make Hing Ting Chhot not exactly a comedy, but a very different brand of film indeed.

Anasua has invested her normal characters with eccentric traits. Akaash wipes his girlfriend Kutti’s lips with a handkerchief before kissing her. Sonali who Kuhak claims is computerized, cannot perform unless she drinks endless cans of coca cola and listens to the Mahalaya chant. D.K. Lodh, an aspiring film producer, loves to write out cheques at the drop of a hat that are most likely to bounce. His wife Lotika insists that she has slimmed down considerably after her forced stint in the red suitcase. Gabu, the soft-spoken and kind lock-and-key man is really an ex-thief who has reformed himself but cannot control his hands from going their own way. Kuhak is the only character who knows that he is a bad performer and must depend on Digital Sonali to draw in the audience.

On the pro side, the film is enriched with the slow and steady love between Akaash and Sonali that flowers in pure innocence minus sex or seduction. It is filled with some beautiful moments shared between the two captured through telling dialogue, a childish Tagore rhyme, some memories and a lovely Tagore song The two offer the brightest and the best moments embellished by their natural spontaneity. Sudipa Basu as Lotika and Lama as the lock-and-key artist are mind-blowing. The songs and the lyrics are another plus. Barun De Sarkar’s camera fulfils the financial motives of the producers by throwing up some of the most picturesque and lyrically poetic images of North Bengal tea plantations like Mekhliganj and Fagu.

So what are the cons? The first drawback is the sleepwalking, completely disinterested performance of Soumitra Chatterjee as Kuhak. He looks tired, indifferent and somewhere else in a role around whom the story, the characters and the events revolve. The pace of the film is too slow, where needless details of Akash’s OCD and loneliness are harped on. The pace picks up only when Sonali and Akaash meet and get to know each other. It is a relationship bound by their loneliness that strips Sonali of her desperate need for endless cans of coca cola as it cures Akaash of his OCD.

Too many sub-plots spoil the core of the story – the love between a human and what is believed to be a lifeless product of technology. Kuhak is the unwitting catalytic agent who brings them together, till he gets out of his bizarre gown and funny headgear to step into normal clothes. The third con is the entry of Madhabi Mukherjee in the closing shots meant to be a relocated meeting in time and space between Charulata and Amal as a tribute to the Ray film. The song chino go chini tomaarey is rubbed in on the chance that you might not get the connection. But it fails to work. The same song floats across the hills and meadows with two young lovers in long shots cutting to Akash and Sonali dancing away in the green fields. The story lacks cohesion between and among the sub-plots and the main plot and this lack of synergy spills over into the film. Yet, it is a very different film.

Shoma A. Chatterji

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