Jeena is a 2009 Bengali Movie directed by Sanghamitra Choudhury; starring Swarnakamal Dutta, Soham Chakraborty, Arpita Mukherjee, Indrani Haldar, Abhishek Chatterjee and more. Check out the review of Jeena – a psychological drama at CalcuttaTube.
Review: JEENA – GOOD PLOT RUINED BY BAD HANDLING
Review by: Shoma A. Chatterji
Script and direction: Sanghamitra Choudhury
Production Banner: D.R. Entertainments
Playback: Srikanta Acharya, Jojo, Rupankar, Rathijit, Anwesha, Anasua and Premlata
Cast: Swarnakamal Dutta, Soham Chakraborty, Arpita Mukherjee, Indrani Haldar, Abhishek Chatterjee and Amrapali.
Her first released film which was actually her second, was Raatporir Roopkatha, released a couple of years ago. It was about Rajani (Indrani Haldar), a sex worker in a red-light area of Calcutta, who had just one aim in life – to give her daughter a life that was different from her own by educating her and giving her a good upbringing. Though the treatment was tacky and amateurish, it remains Choudhury’s best directorial film till date. Her first film released after Raatporir Roopkatha was Chakra. It played the oft-repeated political card of the girl child neglected and mistreated by her own parents. The agenda is okay but the way Choudhury plays the card is all wrong. The film was withdrawn after barely a week of screening to empty theatres. Her third feature, released earlier this year was called Premer Phande Kaka Tua. Kaka and Tua were the nicknames of the lead pair whose attraction is veiled by cooked up fights that defy all logic and understanding. It had the potential of a wholesome comedy. But Choudhury shifted the basic premise from an elderly couple’s love story to nonsense games by grown-ups pretending to be youngsters and ruined the film.
Her fourth, Jeena, is named after its psychologically disturbed female protagonist. But we learn about her mentally disturbed state only towards the end. We also learn that the young man she finally died for was never in love with her. Jeena, described as ‘a victim of domestic violence’ in the film’s press release, is not a victim of ‘domestic violence’ but is born to irresponsible parents with a sex-worker for a mother and an alcoholic father who behave just as they are expected to. She keeps chewing on her nails as a symptom of her instability but is done very unconvincingly.
Narrated in flashback with the story running back and forth through time and space, the opening frames show newspaper headlines screaming out a sex scandal between the state’s sports minister and a top model. The minister is nabbed for the model’s unnatural death. His wife is furious and considers a divorce. But her ‘secretary’ hands her two diaries of the dead girl and the tragic story pops out of the near-empty pages of the two diaries. The wife empathizes with Jeena’s tragedy. When her husband is handcuffed and carted away by the police for the possible murder of Jeena, she assures him of her faith in him and love for him.
Jeena’s adolescence and growth into adulthood has a checkered history that suggests how the consequences of a disturbed childhood have weighed on her mind, filling her with an insane quest for revenge. But it is strange that the affection and warmth she gets in her aunt’s house does nothing to change her for the better. She remains an introvert, except her secret meetings with the young hero, a minister’s son who gives her a red rose as a symbol of their love. Cinematic amnesia overtakes the hero when he gets married and becomes a minister himself. But Jeena’s wait for him is unending and she kills herself in a way that traps her supposed lover.
The film had the potential of a psychological thriller turned wrong through very bad acting by almost the entire cast but the worst is Swarnakamal Dutta in the title role. She looks awful in her modeling outfits, her hairstyle and make-up are miserable and her body language is disastrous. Choudhury’s veiled attempt to pull off a Fashion out of Jeena fails miserably. The minister moves around freely without the usual entourage while his wife (Arptia Mukherjee) grieves over Jeena’s tragedy dressed and made up perfectly to her teeth. Soham as the hero is the only one in complete control of his character. The love scenes are scripted and handled very badly and his discomfort comes across at times. Indrani Haldar as Jeena’s loving aunt and Abhishek Chatterjee as her husband have done well but are wasted in inane roles.
The sole redeeming quality of the film lies in the musical score and the lovely songs belted out by the best among contemporary personalities of Bengali music. But even these tend to be gobbled up by the sad script and the bad construction of scenes. Rupankar himself belting out a disco number sticks out like a sore thumb. The Purulia locales are picturesque but hardly lend to the script.
Jeena does not deserve more than two on ten.