Subhadro Chowdhury’s new film “Clerk” is probably the first surreal film in Bengali. It is practically “Cinema” in its real sense of the term. Though it has a protagonist, but he has no rounded off story to tell about, like all other cinemas. But it is tells something, which is other than a typical filmi-story. It tells the inner conflict of the surreal world of the protagonist in a cinematic way.
The name of the protagonist is Biplab (Prosenjit Chatterjee). He leads a dual life. In the day time he leads a mundane weak life of a typist clerk of a company which is facing a deep financial crisis, and at the night he leads his life in a world of fantasy where he communicates with silver screen heroines like Kareena, Rani, Urmila and Aishwarya. And in the middle of these two lives, he visits a pub for a few pegs of rum every evening. He has a fixed routine in the morning, evening and night. The only thing change in his routine is the name of the Bollywood heroines with whom he communicates over telephone. We don’t hear any words from the other side of the telephone, we understand he doesn’t actually communicate with any body, he only communicate with his fantasy.
“Two black molly fish” plays as an important motif throughout the body of the film. As if it symbolizes the prisoned life, the mundane life of ordinary people. At the end of the film we find the protagonist selling black molly fishes with his new found partner- in the meantime he has lost all his romance with the fantasy world-the images of the silver screen heroines with a sharp knife-the blow up image of the mobile ad-van has been changed into the image of the girl next-door-the protagonist is forced to accept the reality-playing the role of an ordinary man, either a clerk or a person selling molly fish.
In totality watching “Clerk” is like an experience of watching series of the paintings by Dali or Paul Klee’.
Sirsho Roy’s camera is brilliant. Roy uses his camera like the paint-brush of surrealist painter. The candle-lit world of fantasy is superbly created.
We must thank Nitesh Sharma, the producer and Prosenjit Chatterjee for involving themselves in such an experimental project.