Cast: Sabyasachi Chakaraborty, Gargi Roychoudhury, Abir Chatterjee, Vikram Chatterjee, Sauraseni Maitra, Sayoni Ghosh, Anindya Banerjee
Director: Anik Dutta
Release date: 21st July 2017
After two social satires including the impactful debut with Bhooter Bhobishyot I was keenly waiting about Anik Dutta's third film. The genre is expectedly different.
Meghnadbodh Rohoshyo starts with famous English science fiction writer and Oxford University teacher Asimavo Bose (Sabyasachi) who is presently in his hometown Kolkata on annual vacation and is attending the launch of his latest book translated in Bengali. Asimavo's second and present wife Indrani (Gargee), who is much younger to him, is a national award-winning actress who is past her prime and now keeps herself busy with an NGO. The film takes us into Asimavo's life. He is having long meetings with Elina (Sayoni) who is the translator of his book which was launched in Kolkata and is penning down his biography. Asimavo is also writing his first novel in Bengali that revolves around some young freedom fighters of Bengal. Indrani chances upon Kunal Sen (Abir), a national award-winning filmmaker for whose film she was feted with the national award. Indrani sets up the meeting of her daughter from her first marriage- Guli (Sauraseni) who stays in Bangalore for studies and has come over to stay with her mother for a few days, with Rik (Vikram), Asimavo's son from his first marriage. So far, so good! The mystery starts as Asimavo gets the famous Michael Madhusudan Dutta book 'Meghnadbadh Kabyo' from an anonymous guest on his birthday. As we come to know, he received another copy of the book by courier sometime back in Oxford. The book received on birthday had a certain page bookmarked with a certain line highlighted. It breaks the peace and rhythm of Asimavo's life and leads to his sudden disappearance. Indrani refuses to be a mere sufferer as police investigation makes no headway and she is joined by her good friend Kunal in an attempt to unravel the mystery. As we get into it gradually, we realise that the book is a clue to a murder traced back to Asimavo's youth when he was a Naxal leader. The film is a whodunnit herefrom leading to the solving of the mystery of the murder of the real life 'Meghnad'.
I relished the unhurried pace Anik takes in developing the mystery in the first half and the whodunnit that has been crafted with a faster pace the second half. The first half was needed to be built carefully with the plot points to make the backdrop for the mystery. It's in the second half that the film picks up pace and weaves in a political angle as the plot draws from the Naxal era and establishes link with the Maoist movement of the present times.
Anik's signature pun and delightful sarcasm is peppered all over, like in this line of a retired cop to Kunal who said he wanted a make a film set in the Naxal era, "Apnaader Naxalgia konodin shesh hawbena, na?" or in the coinage 'Dhandamulawk bostubad' derived from 'Dawndomulawk bostudad'. There are witty jibes aimed at the ruling parties both at the state and the centre.
There are certain intellectual bits like a few clips of the play 'Meghnadbadh Kabya' showing Gautam Halder performing which may not go down well with a large section of the audience but the film can be enjoyed even if they are ignored.
The cast is apt and the performances are commendable. Sabyasachi is perfect as Asimavo. Gargee's Indrani becomes the perfect foil to het cerebral husband, as she basks in his fame and accomplishment. I only have reservations for Abir as I think he couldn't quite bring out the demeanour of a national award-winning filmmaker known for his brand of meaningful cinema. However, hr is good when out on the field solving the mystery. This is the first Bengali film of Sauraseni who is a model and has acted in two Hindi films including 'Chittagong'. She is impressive as the gen Y girl Guli for who the environment in her stepfather's home is alien. This is an ensemble cast and there are many actors who have been used wisely in small characters (Like Nimu Bhowmik as a retired police officer from the Naxal era).
Debajyoti Mishra's musical score has been used judiciously and the handful of songs fall in place with the flow of the story. The last song brilliantly penned by Debajyoti and equally well sung by Nikhita Gandi leaves a mark and brings the story to the end. The cinematography by the ever dependable Avik Mukhopadhyay, background score and other technical departments deftly support the storytelling. I only feel the police investigation dragged a bit and could be trimmed by a few minutes.
Overall, a rich mystery to relish.
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