Srijit Mukherjee is back, and how!! After he wowed us in “Autograph”, He Does it again with 22 Shey Srabon.This time it’s a thriller and it seems he has done it much better this time.
The story is original at best. There is a poetic serial killer at large in Kolkata, who has already committed four murders (the brilliant opening scene shows him committing one) leaving lines of Bengali poetry as signatures.Clueless about where to start the investigation, rookie Cop Avijit (Parambrata) seeks help of a troubled and suspended Veteran Prabir (Prosenjit).And ultimately solves the case. Or does he??
Let’s start with the acting first, and it’s got to start with Mr.Prosenjit Chatterjee.if you have loved him as the charming superstar-with-a-midlife-crisis Arun Chatterjee in “Autograph”, his alcoholic-tough-cop-with-with-a-dirty mouth-and-killer-attitude Prabir Roy Chowdhury will startle you. He has the best lines in the movie (albeit with a wide array of some of the choicest Bengali swear words), and the way he acts, it seems that it was totally justified. Where he doesn’t speak, he lets his eyes do all the talking. From the tired but piercing gaze when parambrata’s Avijit goes to meet him at first, to the vacant stares during flashbacks, finishing finally with the sick brilliance at climax, his eyes compel you to love him and hate him, all at the same time. As he had said in an interview that “No other hero would dare do this role” is well put, because frankly no other hero could do this role. Parambrata does a swell job too, acting as a perfect foil to Prosenjit’s character. His Avijit is Clumsy but inspired, charming but insecure and adorable but irritating. He may have done a course on direction but it’s evident that he would never need an acting course.the romantic scenes (mostly in two songs “Je kota Din” and “Ekbaar Bol”) of him with Raima are a joy to watch, except the Do-jism-ek-Jaan-ek-Toothbrush scene of course, that’s gross!! Also watch out for the climax where he goes head to head with Prosenjit. Raima on the other hand is a natural and plays the cute reporter girlfriend act with élan.Abir Chatterjee does well as Raima’s Childhood friend and boasts of a very good comic timing. He looks very good-boyish too, but as the cliché goes, the good boy never gets the girl. Rajesh Sharma is superbly restrained as the top cop, and lets you believe yet again that he is one of the most underrated actors in Bengali cinema.
But the Surprise revelation in 22 Shey Srabon is Goutam Ghosh.His portrayal of the manic-depressive poet Nibaran Chakrabarty is awesome. The surrealism and pathos that he inserts as he emotes, amazes you and also creates a lump in your throat. The scene in the railway station where he recites a poem to his alcoholic buddy would surely take your breath away. His Character has the director’s sympathy and he makes sure he gets yours too.
The Screenplay is tight; there is not a single minute of lag. It has the right amounts of suspense, thrill and chill with occasional bits of romance and comedy thrown in. The Dialogue is appropriate to say the least. Its satiric, surreal at parts and funny too, having just the right ratio of Bengali and English in it. The Gillette Mach III razor-sharp editing by Editor Bodhaditya Banerjee keeps with manic pace of the movie.
The Cinematography by DOP Soumik Haldar,is another great reason to see the movie. The Red One Camera has never been used better recently. The dingy bylanes of Harkata Gali, or the plush love nest of Avijit and Amrita, every frame is a delight to the sore eyes ,best Being the last scene of Course. Then there are some very good crane and steadycam shots which only enrich the experience. The dark goth tone used in Prabir and Nibaran’s Shack and the warm tone used in those romantic scenes are well thought out and are very very well executed.
Well, the Music is by Anupam Roy. Do I need to Say Anything else?? The Lyrics and Music are both wonderful and are placed very well in the movie, and well picturised too, best being the catchy “Ek Bar Bol” By Mr. Roy Himself. Rupams "Ei Srabon" , Raghav’s “Maati Khunre” , Rupankar’s “Gobheere Jao” and Anindya’s “Je Kota din” are all equally good and makes you wonder why still Bangla Music directors need a Kunal Ganjawala / Mohit Chauhan to record a Hit song. I mean Rupankar Vs. Mohit C., are you kidding me??
And now the direction. Srijit never pretends while directing 22 Shey,nor he ever plays the godman act manipulating the characters. The interplay of characters is unabashed, real and engrossing, the camera angles bizarre but very interesting and then there is that crackling climax. There are leitmotifs, most prominent being the wooden rocking-horse. But the cleverest are the homages spread across the whole movie. There is Guy Richie’s Wham-Bam-sorry-Ma’am style (Prabir’s Interrogation room Torture), Hitchcok like self-appearance, Top Gun like Girl in guy’s oversized shirt (Raima after the kiss and make up scene), Stoned-and-sad Boyfriend with a Strapped on Steadycam a La Dev.D and finally the theme of a deranged Psycho-fanatic Serial Killer and the Blue-goth tone reminiscent of David Lynch’s se7en.feluda references Are there too, but with a twist. But don’t let this writing fool you, these are nothing but marginal and are overshadowed by the Biggest Homage that Srijit pays - To Bangaliana itself and Kolkata (not only south, the whole one, thank heavens!!).The Movie is essentially very Bengali at Heart and that’s the best thing about it. There are Countless references of Bengali literature, cinema and poetry. The script, dialogue, acting and ahem..the Swear words are all Bengali and not bong. The “Magazastra” of Srijit is deadly here and it leaves you Spellbound.
22 Shey Srabon is a landmark in Bengali Cinema and much more than that. It makes you think, as well as keeps you on the edge of your comfortable multiplex seat.Take a Bow Srijit, you deserve it. Thanks for not turning 22 Shey Srabon into a melodramatic dishoom fest, but an intellectual murder thriller.
Okay, now for the Final question, should you watch it? Yes don’t you dare miss this If you are a Bangali and love Bangaliana or a good thriller or Both. If you are a “bong” and prefer Stefani Meyer/Sidney Sheldon over Tagore/Sunil Ganguly, give this a Miss. Go smoke your Bong Pipe elsewhere, or wait for the next Twilight Movie to Release,you Moron !!