Hitlist (2009) Bengali Movie Review-Ratings-Stills-Box Office-Songs
Hitlist is a 2009 Bengali Thriller directed by Sandip Ray; starring Tota Roy Chowdhury, Koel Mullick, Subrat Dutt and more. Hitlist is set to release in December.
Casts: Sudipta Chakraborty, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Koel Mullick, Saheb, Dhritiman Chattopadhyay, Saswata Chattopadhyay, Tinu Anand, Dipankar Dey, Mithu Chakraborty, Siddhartha Chattopadhyay, Subrat Dutt and more.
Story and Direction: Sandip Ray
Producer: Mou Roychoudhury , Sumanta Mukherjee
HIT LIST – ‘INSPIRED’ THRILLER
Shoma A. Chatterji
Sandip Ray has a reasonably good grasp over action and somewhat on suspense. His venture into the thriller genre raised expectations firstly because it is Sandip and secondly because Bengali mainstream suffers from a perennial famine of suspense thrillers. The press handout claimed the film “is a new age psychological thriller” set against the backdrop of an ad agency. A dispute arises between four executives of the firm, comprised of Jayanto, Shubhodeep, Kamalika and Ranen on the one hand and Ronojoy on the other. Ronojoy voices his anger against the other four earning under-the-table money by selling excellent concepts to a rival agency, at the cost of the reputation and goodwill of their own agency, unknown to the trusting owner of the agency. A heated argument ensues at a drinking party and Ronojoy is accidentally killed by one of them. They make it look like an accident and the case is closed. Ronojoy’s widow Anindita, is inducted into the firm. What happens then makes for the thrills and the suspense.
[ReviewAZON asin=”B000053VBL” display=”inlinepost”]Few who have watched Hit List will even guess that the original concept and storyline are borrowed from/inspired by The Bride Wore Black (La Mariée était en noir) directed by Francois Truffaut in 1968, based on a novel by William Irish. The famous French actress Jeanne Moreau played the role of the avenging widow. The Bride Wore Black was a revenge film in which five men make a young bride a widow on her wedding day. She takes her revenge, methodically killing each of the five men using various methods. Only to discover in the end that the death was really an accident.
The central thriller theme of the double world – at once ordinary and extra-ordinary, mundane and adventurous is given a psychological dimension in Hit List. The characters are fleshed out extremely well. Ranen with his cool, cold-blooded diabolic intentions, Kamalika, nervous, not approving of husband Ranen’s ways but forced to back him, the temperamental, incurable, brazen flirt Shubhodeep with his floral shirts and put-on charm, and Jayanto with his never-care-less attitude offer solid support to Anindita. Koel Mullick’s controlled performance, brought across through the subtle nuances in her facial expression, her shrugging off the sudden push into the ultra-glamorous world of modelling, the cool way she tells Shubhodip that she has poisoned his food, the panic on her face when Ranen tries to throttle her, must be seen to be believed.
The film has a shocking opening. On a stormy night of lightning and rain, a young man is crushed into the wall of his building by a speeding car that reverses and speeds away at once. The camera cuts to a discussion among a group of young ad executives with varied temperaments where Ronojoy places his complaint about the skullduggery. They persuade him to see sense of join forces but he does not relent. Cut to Ronojoy and his wife Anindita on the darkened terrace of their apartment where Ronojoy tells her what is going on. A phone call summons him to an after-dinner tete-a-tete at Ranen’s place and Ranojoy leaves in a huff. He never comes back. The scene shifts back to that first accident and we realise it was a brief flashback. The young man who was crushed by the car was one of the four present when Ranojoy was killed.
From this point on, Ray Junior takes us on a slow and steady journey into suspense. He also introduces us to the killer – the innocent-looking but intelligent Anindita who is out to avenge the death of her husband she is convinced was not an accident but a murder. When the hot-headed Shubhodip dies of poisoning, things begin to get hot and Prabhat Banerjee, an ex-homicide detective is asked to take charge. In keeping with the norms of a psychological thriller, Ray does not care to conceal the identity of the killer for long. The chiaroscuro camerawork is typical of the thriller genre. But the film begins to totter on its feet, despite the wonderful mood music and the seamless acting by all the actors, when detective Prabhat Banerjee enters the scene. The film begins to roll down a smooth slope till it reaches a point of no return. One wishes Ray keeps away from his fondness for P.C. Chandra seeping into his films. Saswata Chatterjee as the police inspector is brilliant. The nightmare scene is very well orchestrated and cinematographed.
The character of the detective is usually peripheral in a crime thriller or even completely absent. But Banerjee here is completely overshadowed by Dhritiman the actor complete with his mannerisms, his sing-song tone of dialogue delivery and his image. The way he monitors the characters in Malaysia appear more amusing than scary. Tinnu Anand is wasted in an inane role which he does justice to. The film could have done better without Banerjee in it. The other ethical question it raises is – if Anindita is permitted to go free after having killed two in cold blood, whatever the motive, does this not give murder a rationale? Secondly, what right, legal authority and credibility does Prabhat Banerjee have to let her go?
Warts and all, Hit List deserves a five on ten. But didn’t the Truffaut film deserve a line of acknowledgment in the credits?
By Shoma Chatterji.
Review 1 of Hitlist Bengali Film by Anirban De
Hit List was advertised to be of the genre thriller and surely promised the same in the first scene with a quick murder but after half an hour or so the thrill curiously vanished followed by the suspense that lasted maybe a few minutes more. It is not that the story is not good, on the contrary, it had all the elements of a psychological drama but the sluggish way in which it is presented makes it a kind of tiresome watch.
Watch the Trailer of Hitlist Online
As mentioned, it was with a murder that the story opens but it immediately bounced back three months prior when a corrupt business deal of a group of four colleagues at Admix, an advertising agency, was being challenged by the creative director Ranojoy Chatterjee, an honest employee and a well wisher to the four. Fearing of a possible exposure, the mastermind of the plan, Deep Mitra, who was also the CEO of the firm, tried to calm down Rano. For this he and his wife, Kamalika, the accounts officer, invited him along with Subhodeep and Jayanta, the other two associates in the underhand dealings. Though it started on a friendly note, soon the discussion got heated up with Rano and Subho getting themselves engaged in a fight in which Rano received a fatal blow and soon succumbed to death. Deep took charge of the situation and with the help of others drove Rano’s car with his lifeless body to a nearby ditch. Soon a police patrol discovered the body and handed it over to Anindita, Rano’s wife, after the later identified the corpse. A condolence meeting followed at Admix, where the chairman, Rathin Goswami offered Anindita a job at the firm and soon she joined as assistant to Subho. Anindita blended well with the team and all seemed well when all of a sudden Jayanta is killed at his garage and only after three days Subho is found poisoned. The panicky Kamalika suspected Anindita behind this and Deep planned to execute her and started looking for an opportunity. On the other hand police investigation seemed to draw a blank and Inspector Somewar sought help of his retired ex-boss turned private investigator Prabhat Bannerjee. The climax is at Kualalampur in another of the advertisement shootouts but again the final ending seemed more than a bit stretched.
Thus though it had the elements of thrill but several factors marred the overall performance of the picture. First of all, Sandip Roy’s idea of showing the criminal(s) at the very beginning seemed a serious setback in this film as much of the suspense was soon lost long before the intermission. Added to this was the gradually reduced pace of the movie that took away much of its energy. Secondly several of the characters were quite unrealistically projected. Subho’s character showed him to be impulsive and highly strung in the first few scenes but after Rano’s death he seemed quite cool flirting with the widow. Anindita’s relation with her parents also seemed quite unrealistic. Again though Ranojoy’s autopsy clearly showed the alcohol content in his stomach during the supposed accident was very low, but the police never seemed to bother about further investigations. Prabhat Bannerjee seemed a super sleuth with his impeccable hunches and never cared to separately interview the suspects save one, and a single meeting with the group apparently made him aware of the others’ real natures. Jayanta’s murder was also never explained as the murderer, though ultimately revealed, seemed to have a tight alibi. Finally, it is never revealed the source from where Ranojoy found out about the sneaky dealings of his colleagues.
The casting was though perfect but the performances seemed a bit mediocre. Dhritiman (Prabht Bannerjee) seemed a bit too dramatic, Siddhartha Chattopadhyay (Rathin Goswami) devoid of emotions, Subhrajit Dutta a bit stiff and Koel (Anindita) and Saswata (Someswar) were definitely underutilized. Sudipta (Kamalika) and Tota (Deep) were the only ones whose acting seemed consistent and most convincing with the characters they played. Babul Supriyo (Jayanta) too carried out his short role flawlessly and Saheb performed the role of the temperamental Subhodip correctly. Tinu Anand also carried out his part with perfection.
The best thing about the movie is its background score that is richly melodious and also the cinematography that is so correct in any of the Ray movies.
HitList Bengali Movie Photogallery