Agnidev Chatterjee knows how to present his work differently. But too much of a difference saps the life out of Charulata 2011, which was expected to be an emotional film but finally has ended up being a movie that fails to strike a cord in your mental violin, despite its strong story, performances and soulful songs.
To begin with, Charulata 2011 is the story of Chaiti, a housewife who has been married to a person who, due to tremendous work pressure at press office, neglects her. This creates a sexual void in her, and she craves to gain what a wife wants earnestly from her husband. Then comes to her rescue a man, from Delhi,who regularly converses with her via FB and after landing in Kolkata, meets her. The two have sexual intercourse and Chaiti is satisfied.
The real movie starts when she discovers her extra-marital man is her husband's cousin. He comes to their house to stay and hence she feels insecure and urges him to leave. But it's not her real tongue speaking - that's evident from her going to the terrace to meet him and requesting him not to leave her - "Tumi please amay chere jeo na".
Unnecessarily come to the scene two people, Chaiti's elder brother and his wife. Perhaps the story teller wanted more stories and pictures to sew and glue. Perhaps he wanted to bring to the forefront some debated issues like, whether you should take bribes to feed your own family.
Chaiti wants contentment only - that is evident as she generously hands away her ornaments to her brother's wife. It proves she's no more interested in material joy. Finally, she carries the child of her and the extra-marital man, which is found by her husband and the movie ends.
The director has tried to bring about a new flavour in the movie. He has created a collage of incidents, leaving the task of gluing the pictures together, to the spectators. In some places, we cannot but say, "Oh! Valo direction den kintu!" particularly when he has compared Rituparna's mental condition, the huge wave of anxiety, "aloron", "anuronon" inside her to the rusty sea.
The story has been written quite well. Sudipa indeed has done a good job. She has incorporated sensible dialogues, sensitivity, deep thoughts but somehow, as they say too many cooks spoil the meal, too much use of "nitikatha" or morality based, value based talks have turned this film into a preachy type of cinema. That's when you start getting bored. You hear the same words repeatedly and that'll make you feel, "Arrey sunlam to! Egulo sobi jani! Anyo kotha bol na!" Then what are the plus points of this story? All the dialogues unknowingly and indirectly point at the situation in which Rituparna (or Chaiti) has fallen. Like, Gourav Chakrabarty saying, "Ja geche ta taka noy, biswas" or "Ritu: Ekjon naree ki eki jibone dujon purush ke valobaste pare na?" or many others. One word to describe the dialogues is "story-touching", if not heart touching.
Rituaparna is very, very good. Her portrayal of a lonely housewife who has suffered a miscarriage, is praiseworthy indeed. She proves why still people can rely on her deft acting skills for such emotional roles. Dolon was superb, so was Kaushik. Gourab Chakrabarty was powerful. But Arjun was not that great.
Songs are meaningful, mellifluous. Rupankar has brought out the feel in them. The female voice has also performed her job exceedingly well. Too good!
The movie is compact, with Rabindranath dialogues. But what seriously cause you to feel "Oh! Eto dekhi sesi hoyna!" are:
1) Repeated use of same dialogues
2) Sudden meeting of Ritu and her FB friend. Suddenly how can he call her "Cinderella" when he hasn't seen her photo on the internet?
3) The storyline drags in many places.
4) Crisp editing was heavily required.
5) Unnecessary inclusion of Dolon and Kaushik's characters. They do not have any place in the entire story, you'll see.
6) The ending may sound inconclusive to some. But many would argue that the lines "Jotodin asha thake, totodin manush bachiya thake" themselves speak for such an abrupt ending.
7) It is more like a mega-serial!!
However, despite its negative points, it is a good movie and you may watch it, but obviously without including it to your must-watch list.