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Kolkata-based Sheela Bhowmik feels isolated and neglected, and decides to leave her busy film-maker husband, Raja, to spend sometime with her friend, Renu, her mom, and then subsequently travels to Kashmir to spend some time by herself. Raja gets involved in a new movie depicting the life of Gautam Buddh, and is on the look-out for a male child to play the character. He does find one, a young school-going lad, Abhirup Mitra; introduces him to the Producer, Vikram; as well as other crew including beautiful Anjali, who has a crush on Raja. Neither Vikram, Anjali nor any of the crew are aware that Raja is the prime suspect in the abduction of Abhirup. Written by
A Gem By Rituparno Ghosh That Centers Around A Child
Rituparno Ghosh's films usually have a poetic feel to it. They are whimsical but in a very subtle way and he knows how to showcase Rabindra Sangeet (poems by Rabindranath Tagore) in his films. 'Khela' also falls under this category. However it's somewhat different from his other films as the main focus of the story is a child instead of a woman.
Workaholic filmmaker Raja (Prasenjit Chatterjee) and housewife Sheela (Manisha Koirala) have a dysfunctional marriage. Sheela yearns for intimacy and a child with her husband while Raja is too busy giving his all to films. As the frustrated director is on his seemingly hopeless quest to find a child to cast in the lead role of his newest movie, Sheela shares her thoughts with her friends. Raja's prayers are answered when he finds THE child, Abirup (Akashneel Dutt). However, Abirup's parents do not consent as they feel that going on location for filming would compromise his studies. So what does Raja do? On Abirup's suggestion, he 'kidnaps' him and they head of to the filming location for an unexpected adventure.
I found the original story to be very appealing and Ghosh tells it beautifully. The lyrical writing is solid. The execution is simple but very well done. The editing, cinematography, music, songs and art direction are brilliant.
Rituparno Ghosh has always extracted the best from Prasenjit Chatterjee and 'Khela' is additional proof to that. Manisha Koirala is spellbinding in a restrained performance. Raima Sen is adequate (even though she tends to go over the top at times). Akashneel Dutt does quite a competent job.
'Khela' is about the effect of the presence of a child in one's life. Abirup's entry to Raja, Sheela and Anjali's lives changes them. This movie is another gem from Rituparno Ghosh's factory. For me, it's one of his best alongside 'Titli' and 'Utsab'.
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