‘Banshiwala’, the film is based on a novel by Shirshendu Mukhopadhay and it has been directed by Anjan Das, acclaimed filmmaker who has directed many memorable films in the past.
Banshiwala or the ‘Flautist’ is actually about a young man’s passion to play his flute and reawaken his memories of his childhood when he comes back from London after being unsuccessful in finding a job.
Mridul a young man comes back to his ancestral home, from abroad after 10 long years.
The last 10 years had been very unfortunate for him as he could barely make two ends meet in London, as he never could procure a permanent job. His elder brother Protul who took him there looked after him for 8 years……….. but the last two years saw Mridul in a disastrous state. His only source of income was playing the flute in the house of the rich and famous.
So, Mridul comes back to sell off his ancestral home and with the substantial amount he hopes to go back to London, pay off his debts and start a business.
His ancestral house is a sprawling building but it deserted as his parents and elderly paternal uncle are all dead. The house is looked after by Haraprassana, the retired head master of the local school who was very closely associated with Mridul’s family from early days. Haraprossana has a daughter Lakshmi, who is unwed mother of a child. Lakshmi at present has a love and hate relationship with Dinu who is very close to the family, though they both know nothing will come off.
Mridul comes back and a memory of his early life comes back to him and with that comes dreams of a love life with his childhood friend Neepa, who used to call him Banshiwala. Mridul embarks on a journey to find out who was the father of Lakshmi’s son.
In the meantime, Mridul delves deep, back into his memories and finds out a vital truth.
What was the truth?
The truth changes the lives of the characters forever
Though the film starts on a nice note, however after that the makers of the film lose it completely. They are at a loss as to what they portray in the film. Do they intend to portray the flautist and his passion which is why the film is called Banshiwala? Do they want to show Mridul trying to reawaken his childhood memories which brings him closer to Neepa, his childhood love? Or do they do they want to show him as a person who has actually come down to sell the family property and search who is actually the father of Lakshmi’s on? The people behind the film are themselves confused and so it shows as none of these factors have been projected as the central theme of the film and so as a result, it is a nothing out nothing film.
Is the Anjan Das we know who has given us films like Faltu, Jara Brishtite Bhijechilo, Achin Pakhi etc in the past? Achin Pakhi was a wonderful film with some strong performances and some wonderful cinematography as well and right after we get Banshiwala which is an extremely disappointing film coming from the likes of him.
A couple of scenes are wonderful like for e.g. when Mridul is shown playing the flute on the banks of the river or when he and Neepa see a Fakir singing from quite a distance and that long shot is indeed wonderful .But that is about it.Paoli is okay, but at times, she is bland.Shayon as Mridul was never the right choice and he did whatever he had to. With a script, story and the pace of the film, one can’t blame him alone.Th film is extremely slow and just does not move. There are just a couple of songs in the film and they are okay.Kaushik and Indrani did whatever they had to.
In fact the only way the film can draw the viewers to the theatre is by projecting the lip locked scenes between Shayon and Paoli (there are at least a couple), something not seen that frequently in Bengali films to provide some titillation.