Direction: Amit Dutta
Playback Singers: Sabina Yasmin, Kumar Sanu, Shibaji Chatterjee, Shakti Thakur, Kanu Bhattacharya, Swapan Basu, Sumanta Mukherjee,
Cast: Sudipta Chakraborty, Bhaswar Chatterjee, Abir Chatterjee, Mou Bhattacharya, Rumki Chatterjee, Gita Dey, Arun Mukherjee
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The story is set in 1977, the aftermath of the Naxal movement in Bengal. Shaon, a former naxalite and now a fugitive abroad, comes back to India after his mothers death and accidentally gets introduced to the daughter of the very man he had assassinated. He finds out about her grinding poverty and that she was forced into prostitution. Yet, there is something fatally attractive about her and he can neither confess to her nor stay away. The story of ‘Robibar Bikalbela’ is the story of the Dilemma of Shaon….
Robibar Bikalbela is a gentle film. Its gentle in its treatment of the main theme, its gentle in its critical look at the human price of political activity and above all its gentle because it does not take ethical positions. Its tells a tale and leaves you to judge for yourself.
Yet it is this gentleness that mires the film in mediocrity. The storyline had immense possibilities. There was human drama, there was the psychological aspect of an assassin returning to the scene of his crime. There was the futility of political action that is implied but never explored. Yet the film does not take an in-depth look at any of this. It focuses on the dilemma of the hero, but even here thetreatment is somewhat superficial.
Then there is a distressing lack of concern for detail. It is not the Calcutta of 1977 that we see here. its the Kolkata of the 1990’s. The street signs, the posters, the dresses are all wrong. It takes away much of the charm of an otherwise enjoyable movie.
If anything lifts the film it is the acting of Sudipta Chakrabarty as the young daughter of Shaon’s victim who is also a sex-worker. She portrays every emotion brilliantly. It is understated action – each idea is conveyed by a glance or a smile or a gesture and is done with such naturalness that one can’t help empathise withthe character. Sudipta portrays the cynicism of the sex worker beautifully, but equally projects the vulnerability and the emotional response of the young woman. Bhaswar Chatterjee as Shaon is nowhere as believable.
The film has some beautiful pieces of music. i particularly liked the rendering of Ave Maria by Robin Alicatore. Cinematography by Siumitra Haldar is outstanding.
But to sum it up, at the end of the film, you are left with a sense of lingering sadness at the futility of it all. You wonder why so many lives were wasted and what came of it. That perhaps is the director’s greatest achievement.
Overall its a film worth watching.
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