Su wrote on May 1 2009 3:11AM
033 is the code for the city of Kolkata. The city stands with its 200 years of musical history culminating in the band movement of the nineties. After years, the city has finally been able to absorb the voices of the young and unpredictable into its closely guarded drawing rooms. This film is a tribute to the efforts of the two centuries that have absorbed themselves with music, reflected here through the band named ‘033’ and its young members. It is a story of how music turns out to be a metaphor of the changing times and emotions for these young people. With its light mood and youthful emotions, the film insists on taking every situation as a celebration of love, life and music like a joyride through the 300 year-old city trying to rejuvenate itself through flyovers and metro rails, shopping malls and mobile phones.
The story begins with a girl from Philadelphia named Mrinalini visiting Kolkata for the first time in her life. She meets the members of 033 as she expresses her desire to make a music video on one of their songs, entitled “033”- an early band song that they have revived and earned fame for. But she has some secret agenda for herself.
The band comprises of Arnab, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist; Shom the band master and the lead guitarist who plays an acoustic guitar besides singing a few songs whenever necessary; Voodoo the drummer, Rudro the keyboardist, and Ria, the female lead who is also the bass guitarist of the band. Lastly, there is the old man Santiago with his guitar store ‘G Minor’, who happens to be the band’s patron.
Mrinalini’s proposal generates tremendous excitement, as 033 is not yet prominent as a band, even though it has been noticed at various college fests. Mrinalini starts capturing the members of 033 on camera as they perform and express their passionate and ambitious views. But the progress on the video is stalled at every stage by something or other that goes wrong. In the meantime, Mrinalini faces problems staying at a hotel and shifts to Shom’s grandmother’s old mansion. This mansion is a house without an address. Since it is situated at the intersection of two lanes, it falls under two post offices. Hence there is a dispute over the correct address. This constitutes an element of fantasy for the band. They have been struggling to write a song on the house and failing every time.
Slowly Mrinalini starts getting involved in the internal dynamics of the group - in their struggle to sustain their identity against all odds. In Shom, Mrinalini finds a withdrawn, sensitive person behind the facade of the apparently egoistical group leader. Through him, she also finds out the reality of their situation. The band members need to get out of the city to make their career, she realizes. Kolkata is a city of displacement, of migration. Though it is never spelt out, the band also faces threat from within. Will 033 be able to keep the members within its boundaries? For that the band 033 has to turn to the entire city of Kolkata known by the code 033.Shom helps Mrinalini to imbibe the spirit of the city….the roads, the flyovers, the mysterious nights… the city with all its history and its longings. Through these journeys, Shom emerges as a more interesting person – but one with a tormented soul.
Mrinalini is keen to know everything about Shom, his life and family. Shom lives with his mother who is a singer and a single parent. He has no hard feelings about his father who, himself a good singer; had left them and moved away when Shom was a little boy. He still cherishes childhood memories of him. Mrinalini has much to tell Shom too, but can’t bring herself to do so. She can only say that she misses her mother, who is no more, and that her father who lives in Philadelphia, is very lonely. But much about Mrinalini remains a mystery to Shom. Why does she want to leave her father to come and stay in this city? Why is she so attached to the song 033?Though shooting in the city gets jeopardized as a result of political turmoil, Mrinalini and Shom seem to enjoy coming close to each other. But, with every step that brings her closer to Shom, Mrinalini begins to feel more and more vulnerable.
Mrinalini tells the band members that the song “033” embodies an ideal relationship with the city, but that such a relationship is just a fantasy for them. They have still not matured enough to represent the city. So the code 033 can change anytime… turning into 011 or 022. This annoys the band but Shom stands by Mrinalini. She decides to finish off the shooting in three days at a nearby sea side. They set off.For three days the shooting goes on with much vigor. But, a distance seems to be growing between Mrinalini and Shom and it is obvious to all. Finally, on the last evening, as they chill out on the beach, Mrinalini pours her heart out to Shom. Her mother has passed away leaving her behind with her father, who is a wonderful man and her only link with the world. Mrinalini says that her father is a singer, the original singer of the song “033”. For a while, Shom argues that his own father had been the original voice for the song, but gradually realizes the inevitability of fate. Both their fathers are the same person. He only asks if Mrinalini knew it all the while. She nods as she watches Shom getting upset.
Soon this spreads among the band and a complex situation develops. Social taboos and prejudices get the better of them. How can a half-brother and half-sister be in love? Unable to cope with the crisis, the group breaks up. Mrinalini turns out to be the culprit. She leaves for Philadelphia while Shom moves around the city restlessly. As time passes by, the band members realize that the city does not sustain them, but the band does. For them the city 033 is the band 033. The gap needs to be bridged. Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Mrinalini learns from her father that she in reality is his step daughter. “Suppression of truth” he confesses. He left Kolkata when his son Shom was five years old; met Mrinalini’s mother when Mrinalini was three; got married and settled in Philadelphia. Though this information bothers Mrinalini, she emotionally declares that she prefers to suppress the truth and remain her father’s daughter, because he is her only link with the world. But her father convinces her to reveal the truth to Shom. He tells her that even after that he will remain her father, and at the same time she will not feel guilty of the relationship she shares with Shom. This eases Mrinalini’s confusions.
Amidst all this, a crisis in their rented apartment compels Shom and his mother to shift to the house without an address. All the other band members shedding their small egos, join Shom. They claim they have an idea for a new song. As they reunite, they realize that the idea is the same old incomplete song…. “house without an address.” Through this new song they try to get back to their roo