Agnidev Chatterjee’s ‘Charulata 2011’ is deeply inspired by the Ray classic Charulata which isof 1964 vintage. Charulata is supposed to be one of Ray’s greatest works and much as anyonemight want to deny, the fact is the present Charulata is a modern day Charulata maybe with afew changes here and there.
The modern Charulata is about Chaiti,a bored housewife who turns to the internet to look forother attractions as she doesn’t get the attention from her husband she seeks as her husbandis very busy with his work always. She assumes an identity as ‘Charulata 2011’ on FB andbecomes friends with Amol, another person whom we assume is him. There are supposed reasons forthis attraction as she is insecure, lonely and also deprived of her husband’s love. Slowly shestarts getting intimate with Amol over FB though they never meet. When they do meet finally,it is just a moment of passion and then instant hatred from Charu’s side. Yet their pathscross again as Charu discovers that Amol is actually Sanju, Bikram’s cousin. She is shocked andat a loss as to what to do. She is torn between two men.
The director ‘s way of story telling is not very simple at least for most of the film becausethe narrative is such that the sequence of events switches back and forth at regular intervalsi. e From February to April to July and again back to February and then gain subsequentmonths. Towards the end, the narrative is based on a day to day basis. This is what will confusemany, if not most. The difference between Ray’s Charulata and the modern version is that she istorn between two men from an initial stage and that carries on even after Sanju lands up attheir place and they carry on their affair and even after he leaves, the moments constantlylinger on. Because it is a modern version, the two characters are shown to have met through theinternet on FB, the most happening social networking website in the world currently. There isagain uncertainty in Charu’s life after Sanju leaves and when she comes to know that she ispregnant, she is shocked. Her husband is shocked to know about the affair though he reallydoesn’t come to know who he is actually. The relationship between Bikram and Charu goes throughfurther trials and tribulations but somehow the film does end on a positive note.
The film ‘s plot has too many similarities so as to not to deny that it is a modern Charulatabut there are a few changes as expected as well. The film’s has it’s inconsistencies like forexample when Bikram logs on to Charu’s laptop, he immedietly comes to know that Charu ishaving an affair with Amol. How is that possible?Also the time period of the initial pregnancydoes not quite match. Inconsistencies are bound to exist in every film,however what eventuallydecides the fate of the film are other factors. Another point to be noted how bold Bengalifilms are getting because there is a scene where Chaiti is shown to be ‘pleasuring’ herself!
Newcomer Dibyendu has a limited role and he did whatever he could within a short span as thecharacter of Amol is not very strong here. It is the other actors and actresses who steal theshow. As Chaiti , the ever suffering lonely wife who is forced to seek solace elsewhere as sheis unable to get her husband’s attention,Rituparna plays the role with utmost authority. Hereis a woman who is torn between two men both of whom she loves and other complexities in herlife add to her misery pushing her to a corner. As Bikram, Arjun Chakrabarty potrays the rolewith a lot of understanding and feelings and adds a balance to the character which isrequired for a character opposite Chaiti or the modern day Charulata so it seems. Kaushik Sen and Dolon Roy as Charu’s brother andsister-in-law are excellent. Kaushik ‘s character is of a person who is conniving, not toosuccessfull and this character provides a few comic moments which the audienceappreciates. Dolon Roy who plays his wife plays a character who is simple,doesn’t appreciateher husband’s conniving acts abd the situation turns pathos when we discover that she has onlyone year left of becoming a mother as it might be a risk after that. The two characters areevenly matched and it seems as if it is Dolon’s time at the box office now as she has 3releases within a span of 2 weeks.
Another plus point of the film is the music. Whether it is the background score or the songsspecially Rupankar’s number or the other song, they are quite good. Incidentally the voices ofquite a few artistes have been dubbed by other artistes in this film. Rii’s voice has beendubbed by Debaleena Dutt, Sudarshan Chakrabarty’s voice has been dubbed by Bhaswar Chatterjeeand Dibyendu’s voice has been dubbed by Sudip Mukherjee.