A prince grants his father's dying wish and secures his inheritance by marrying. The palace librarian who was befriended by the new bride goes missing, and the prince invites Byomkesh Bakshi to uncover the truth behind his disappearance.
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Maharaja Arunangshu, the ruler of a princely state named Balabantpur,had made a wish list on his death bed in the presence of Dewan Chandrashekhar, the family physician Kaligati and the High Priest. It laid down certain conditions for his heir, his son Himangshu. The first of which forbade Himangshu from marrying a non Hindu girl, and the second demanded a legitimate heir within three years of his marriage. Bound by his father's conditions of succession, Himangshu is compelled to marry Alaka, an aspiring actress. A year and half into the marriage, Harinath, the young palace librarian disappears without any trace. This mystery occasions the arrival of the sleuth Byomkesh and his author friend Ajit to Balwantpur. The visit though is under the pretext of an invitation for a hunting expedition. In course of their stay, they unfold many secrets involving the residents of the palace and about the topography of Balwantpur. Byomkesh is particularly intrigued by the character of Kaligati, the ...Written by
Why, why, WHY was this allowed by any self-respecting Bangali to see the light of day? There sure is a crime involved in this story - and that is the brutal and vicious murder of one of the greatest icons of Bengali literature, Byomkesh Bakshi. It is also a highly irresponsible and arrogant act of ripping apart one of the best detective stories written in Bengali. What infernal right did Rituparno Ghosh have to do any of this? Most of the characters in the film cannot even pronounce Bengali words without a spurious "English" accent, Sujoy Ghosh (who is he??)included. No one can act to save their lives. Even the veteran actor playing Kaligati delivers his lines with unnatural pauses between words, in a singsong voice, reminding you of high school plays. Anindya as Ajit is tubby, insipid and only marginally better than the rest. And Sujoy Ghosh as Byomkesh makes you want to cry.
When I watched Shubho Muhurat a long time ago, I was amazed by the taut screenplay, wonderful adaptation of the Agatha Christie story, and the handling of the mystery by the director. I can go back to that movie again and again to watch Rakhi, Sumanta Mukherjee and character actors like Rajesh Sharma. It is tragic to see the same director deliver something like "Satyanweshi." This film has scarred me for life.
The 2012 Byomkesh film Anjan Dutt made with Abir Chatterjee and Saswata (based on Chitrachor) was an infinitely better film. That's because Anjan Dutt chose not to deviate from the story unnecessarily, wrote a really smart screenplay, and chose people who knew their business - i.e. acting. Although Abir lacked the polish and finesse of Saswata, he looked right and was competent if not scintillating. Keeping the narration in was a great idea too. Probably this movie worked because the director, for once, was not trying to be smart. Sometimes, it pays to acknowledge that you are not God but just another film director, who is capable of making bad movies as well as good ones.
A bad film is a bad film. An awful film is an awful film, and it is not wrong to say so. Even if its director is dead, even if it is his "swan song", even if he has made some good movies in the past. And I think it is high time we grew up and stopped idolizing our "famous" Bengalis. Rituparno had potential, he made some good movies, and he made some bad movies. That doesn't make him any less. And it certainly does not make him God.
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