When I bought this movie, I was under a great expectation from Sandip Ray, as I used to be a devoted admirer of his late legendary father. My other attraction was the stars, like Soumitra Chatterjee, Sabyasachi Chakravarthy, Dipankar Dey and Rituparna Sengupta.
First of all, I would say, it's one of those very interesting Bengali stories with a potential for realistic psychological suspense drama. We should thank Narayan Ganguly for that. Sandip Ray narrates the story quite well, as good as his contemporary Rituparno Ghosh.
The special effects used in the earthquake scene weren't really efficient enough to make it look believable. It looked more like the house has got a poltergeist or something! Furthermore, when everybody jumped out of the bed in panic and rushed downstairs, that moment they were neatly wrapped in their shawls! That was a ridiculous goof.
Let me ask you this. Is Bengali society (and Indian) still in that level that the housewife and her educated enlightened sister work at home almost as slaves, while all male characters sit around giving orders and drinking tea and gobbling snacks and smoking constantly?! Observe how differently they treat two guests, Sunita (female) and Brojen Lahiri (male). Even after the catastrophe, the women continue to pick up debris and supply food and drink until one of them falls on her face!!
Is it still in that level that in case of a childless couple, only the wife gets tested for fertility (and to be blamed)?!
Is it still in that level that even the young characters have no prior experience of outdoor activities like rock climbing/hiking etc or rescue training in a crisis situation, other than chain smoking and reading text books?! Western young men and women probably do that every summer just for fun!
Is it still in that level that people sleep in bed in sharis and sweaters or with outdoor clothes on?! Don't adults find their own separate homes in stead of living with their parents and siblings for ever?! Are we in the wrong century? They didn't look like from 18th century though.
But my main disappointment came from somewhere else. Sandip Ray might have his own reasons for this casting, which he also mentioned in his interviews, but some of the castings felt so wrong and odd. Soumitra Chatterjee didn't have so much task here as can be demanded given his reputation. I always wondered what actually made him such a big star. People say he is a talented actor, especially in stage (live theaters). I have seen almost all his life's works, and there is absolutely no exception in his acting, in my eyes. He plays all the good old men just as the same, with the same verbal tone, with the same accent, with the same gestures. When he plays bad guys, he just sharpens his eyes in addition.
Sabyasachi, Dipankar and Rituparna gave OK performances, though I liked them better in Atmiya Swajan. On the other hand, Parambrata Chatterjee was a complete disaster. Dark shades under his eyes like a drug addict and facial hair that made him look like a lamb, was that intended? He was pathetically uncomfortable! Every time Parambrata is in the scene, the movie comes down to the level of Anjan Chowdhury/Swapan Saha/Sukhen Das's movies. That's a shame! I must say that in the west we may get a wrong impression that these two guys Soumitra and Parambrata are two gay guys, because of their feminine body language, voice, line delivery, hand gestures etc.
Raima Sen's looks and acting totally impressed me, (if we kindly ignore her imperfect Bengali accent). She gave a much better performance than her contemporary Konkona Sen Sharma in "Titli" (2002). She definitely has the lead female star potential and a very sensitive face, like her legendary grandmother. It was hard to believe that Sunita had to consider this stay-home, no-good, gay-looking young man Shyamal as a future life-partner. Just because "he was there available"!! They had absolutely no chemistry together!
I believe it was only Anita who was under stress for long time and had been suppressing her emotions inside her like volcano until the natural disaster triggered the outburst. None of the other characters had any reason for that. Their smoothly running perfect life ended up in 3-4 days' starvation+dehydration+cold, which was responsible for their hallucination and insanity, and that might lead to cannibalism in the long run.
I understand that, it is certainly different to depict the gradual psychological/behavioral transformation of the characters after the chock in hundred pages in the book, than to show it in a more realistic way in a movie in only 140 minutes. Considering that, I would give it 6 stars out of 10.
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