There are two types of critiques in the business today. One where you have a predominantly “desi” palate and critique it based on that data, and two you critique a movie based on the Hollywood /Global movie data. now there is a third type of critique – a person who has both these sensibilities. So I am going to critique this movie from the third kind perspective.
Director Sujoy Ghosh’s screenplay and the hero “Bidda Balon” a.k.a Vidya Balan have a good chemistry.Its the physics that falters.
The highlights of the movie for me – was its attention to detail. Here are some wonderful examples that caught my eye, see if you caught the too -
- RD Burman songs playing in the background. -Kolkata excercise its special right on panchamda’s renditions and I thought capturing that element in the movie was just right.
- The obvious one – Vidya being pronounced as Bidda – this a very typical Bong thing to do.
- Mocambo – The legendary stake joint on Park Street – a must visit for food lovers.
- Vidya walking fast in spite of being /looking 7 or 8 months pregnant.That was a clue about the pregnancy status which we come to know at the end.
- The Durga Puja build up from early days of bamboo constructions to the final immersion sequences.
So the movie has a realistic feel to it, but does it make you jump out of your seat – perhaps not.I thought the interval shot was near perfect to do just that – but it fizzled out. So when you see such who done it, how dow done it kind of movies,the narration needs to build tension. Again,unfair comparison but a relevant one comes from movies like Seven, Usual Suspects, or even Bourne Identity – there is a striking scene which brings the screenplay alive and taunts the viewer to leave their attention if they dare.Kaizer Soze keeps you wanting to know more right through the move but never really lets you come close.
Or even our own Johny Gaddar – I thought that was quite close to sensational edge of the seat stuff but for the climax.
The “records mila nahi ” sequences were a bit repetitive, maybe a couple of times would have driven home the point. You see the narrative has to keep moving after it has done the job of seeding the viewers mind with a thought, hammering it in does not always mean that it aids story progression. Some new ideas, quirks could kick in to give perhaps a misdirection angle. I thought Bob Biswas’ psycho insurance contract killer idea was superb. It had all the potential to develop and play a complex key to unravelling the mystery, but was perhaps left a bit undercooked.
Likewise the 2 or times Rana gets a call from his mom in the tram could perhaps be of some consequence, or the airport taxi driver, or the even Bishnu the running hot water boy , the ex informant etc.Each of these elements had a potential to kick in some amount of oh-my-god-sequences.But they didnt. Instead it added to too many somewhat significant characters in the story list.Now one can argue that it was by design,which is fair,but the impact on the discerning viewer is perhaps some testimony to look into.
The cops both Rana and Khan play their part, Rana a touch too soft I thought for a rough Kolkata city cop, was racking my brains when was the last time I saw one? Khan took sometime to ease into the role.The expletives were out of character, not because I have any moral policing issues on this, but just that his delivery was bit out of place.That role needed to be a bit less loud and more profound, deep and intense,which his looks are.Just that they were not in sync.
The climax sequence need a scene or two on how she got trained to play the role of Vidya Bagchi – would have balanced the narrative between keep guessing and realisation. Balancing the story is also very critical,in terms of how long to keep it oblivious versus when to get explicit just like the pacing ,when to kick it up and when to slow it down.
Overall – well it was a refreshing change to see someone actually thinking right through the story (albeit with some gaps) , a strong storyline always makes for a good movie unless the director completely screws it up – but that is not the case with this one.Sujoy Ghosh does a wonderful job in taking the viewer through Kolkata and Vidya Bagchi’s story.
I am going to with 3 out 5 for this effort – you should watch it once for sure, but will you buy a DVD for keeps? I am not too sure of that.