LAPTOP (2012) A Bengali Film by Kaushik Ganguly: REVIEW

How and where does Laptop fit into Kaushik Ganguly’s earlier films? It establishes the creative identity of Kaushik Ganguly as a significant filmmaker who can not only write a credible story but can also tell it with conviction in a poetic and lyrical manner even if the central figure is an inanimate creation of modern science – a laptop. A laptop owned by the head of a fertility clinic (Arindam Sil) is stolen by a poor cabbie (Rajesh Sharma) to enable him to foot the bill for his wife’s artificial insemination. The cabbie sells it off just for Rs.16000 – the money he needs to fill the deficit to a poor manager (Pijush Ganguly) of a local eating house who needs it for his brilliant son (Gaurav Chakraborty) doing his post-graduation in computers and so goes the laptop on its wayward, chancy journey unwittingly creating, sustaining and destroying the lives and relationships of those who suddenly find it in their possession.

Review

LAPTOP – KAUSHIK GANGULY’S BEST YET

Shoma A. Chatterji

  • Banner: Brand Value Communications Limited
  • Presented by: Gautam Kundu
  • Written and directed by: Kaushik Ganguly
  • Cinematographer: Sirsha Roy
  • Editor: Mainak Bhaumik
  • Music Composer: Mayookh Bhaumik
  • Art director: Mridul Baidya
  • Sound: Anirban Sengupta and Dipankar Chaki
  • Costume: Suchismita Dasgupta
  • Cast: Rahul Bose, Churni Ganguly, Saswata Chatterjee, Ananya Chatterjee, Kaushik Ganguly, Rajesh Sharma, Pijush Ganguly, Arindam Sil, Gaurav Chakraborty, Ridhima Ghosh, Arun Guhathakurta, Aparajita Adhya, Anjana Basu, Jojo, Pratyay Basu and others.
  • Date of release: April 13 2012
  • Rating: 07/10

 

In this character-driven story, Kaushik the physical reality of the laptop subtly points out the changing values among people, sometimes positive, at times negative but mostly bringing in separation and a reinforcing of the loneliness the characters are trapped in. The blind writer (Kaushik Ganguly) wonders whether he has fallen in love with his no-nonsense typist (Ananya Chatterjee) who moves away and he gives her the laptop as a parting gift. But like things happen in real life, it is already too late to bring it back to where it began. The young computer geek who seeks out the pretty girl whose pictures he discovers in the laptop that still retains its memory on the hard disk, suddenly finds his romantic world collapse when his father is taken to be the thief and is threatened by the CEO of the fertility clinic to leave town overnight if he wants to save himself from jail and his family from social ostracism. His budding love is crushed and so are his self-respect and optimism.

 

Laptop runs four stories, each one with an undercurrent of pathos that does not end happily. It leads the characters into a bigger morass of loneliness and pain. The  metaphorical laptop becomes a catalyst that enlarges and enriches their emotional map in unpredictable ways. Laptop is an emotional film where love in all its shades is the primary element. Characters from one story sometimes overlap into other stories and sometimes do not. A man desperate to become a father persuades his wife to agree to artificial insemination. We never get to know if the strategy was successful or not. A young boy wants a laptop for his project work. But when he gets it, it takes him on a journey he had never imagined beginning with stirring of love and ending in tragedy. The stories, like life stories, are never complete.

 

The penultimate journey of the laptop with the writer’s publisher (Rahul Bose) who goes toDarjeelingto take a look at the son he sired through artificial insemination eight years ago is the weakest link. Rahul’s mechanical acting and half-uttered dialogue do not help the track at all though Saswata Chatterjee performs the frustrated husband who cannot suppress his anger brilliantly. Churni is too self-conscious at places. The acting is generally convincing but the stellar honours go to Kaushik Ganguly as the blind writer, Ananya Chatterjee as his typist and little Pratyush Bose as the eight-year-old boy filled with the innocence and naiveté only he is capable of. Anjana Bose’s character is redundant.

 

Laptop Bengali Film Poster
Laptop Bengali Film Poster

Mayookh Bhaumik’s music justifies the National Award because it adds to the romanticism and the poetic ambience enriching it beautifully. Shirsa Ray’s cinematography creates magic in capturing the closing shot of the Lepcha boy running away into the misty morning  grabbing the laptop. It is equally eloquent in the narrow and dark corridors of the blind writer’s home or, in the scene where the typist is surprised by her boss’s sudden entry when she is undressing. It closes on the hands of the blind writer when he tries to feel the Braille on his ms and the keys on the laptop. The sound design is created with great care – the irritating tap-tap of the manual typewriter keys, the Sanskrit chants heard in the distance when the writer visits his typist’s home, the eating house waiters shouting out orders, their voices overlapping, the small boy shooting off his toy gun at the new guest and so on.

 

Mainak Bhaumik had a challenging and difficult task editing the four strands with many characters often overlapping sometimes in different places and time zones. He meets the challenge and reaches beyond smoothly and fluidly rendering seams, if any, invisible. Except that sudden jerky movement of the publisher being shot at twice or thrice by the police at the Mall as the shooting watchers crowd in the distance, Laptop is poetic, lyrical and haunting for the audience to carry home its fragrance for a long while. Congratulations Kaushik for a lovely film, the logical gaffes notwithstanding.

 

 

 

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