By Nilesh P. Khandare(15 Dec 2009)
Placed in the contemporary context of the city of Kolkata, capital of the Red State of West Bengal, 'Clerk' explores the complex psychology of an average middle class Bengali man, ironically named Biplab, meaning Revolution. He is a good-looking bachelor, now past his youthful prime. He works as a typist in a private firm, which is on the brink of closure, with the employees' union switched to 'agitation mode'. He is a loner, an introvert, a man of few words, who offers no more than half a smile to his colleaques and neighbours.
This is his persona as projected in the real world. But once he returns to his lonely flat in a moudly high-rise building, a different Biplab emerges. No longer a docile and tacitum clerk, Biplab becomes an incurable romantic, the eternal lover boy, living in a dream world of celluloid fantasies. He seems to be on intimate terms with all the Bollywood beauties. He lights dozens of candles around him, pours himself drink after drink, and spins stories on the phone for all the stars. For Urmila, Karina, Rani, Ash. Stories of Biplab in different scenarios; but always as a hero come to the rescue of a damsel in distress.
But fantasies do not last forever. Real life shatters them, sometimes in quite peculiar ways. Biplab faces an emotional crisis, and commits a crime of passion. Biplab's story remains open to several interpretations. If we see him as a fish trapped in an aquarium, which is a recurrent motif woven into the story, this could be the very hobby that helps him abandon his fantasies, and find a new and more meaningful relationship in the real world.