‘Elar Char Adhyay’ is a story set in the Bengal Renaissance period which is strong on it’s idealogies and principles. The story is set and centred around those ideals of the Renaissance and around the three central characters Ela, Atin and Indranath.
Indranath is the villainious party leader who fights for independence against the colonial system whereas Atin is the dreamy poet who is Ela’s love and is against Indranath ‘s ideals of using violence if required for the purpose of attaining freedom. They both believe in non violence and ahimsa to win over someone.
Bappaditya’s film have always been strong on content and this film which is based on Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Char Adhyay’ is no exception. It is a fitting tribute to the bard in the 150th year of his birth centenary. The story is extremely relevant and contemporary in today’s world.
Tagore has on most occasions made the protagonist of his novels a female maybe because he wanted them and their problem s to be highlighted. That was perhaps his way of socially uplifting them because Tagore understood the problems which the women of his times faced the most like for example the struugle of the modern educated woman during his times to hold her own and to make a mark and be considered an equal in the male dominated conservative society or the problems women faced when they decide to take up the cause of freedom for the sake of the motherland. Most of Tagore’s pre war female protagonists of his novels were educated , indivualistic and egoistic. By egoistic , we mean of considering themselves no less than a man and holding their own.
Ela is also one such character from Tagore’s Char Adhyay. She is rebellious , has a mind of her own. She takes up the cause of freedom for her motherland, but somewhere doen the line she falls in love with Atin and the love becomes the prominent part of her life. Paoli is quite good as Ela and seems to be a natural choice for the role as is Rudranil as Batu, the associate of Ela who turns traitor when she refuses to give in to his advances and is hence a negative character. These two roles seem to have been tailor made for the names mentioned above, but the people to look out for is in this film were Indranil and Vikram. The reason is this is Vikram’s first big role as a lead actor and he hasn’t dissapointed much. His character is of a dreamy poet who falls in love with Ela and is somwhat submissive and meek in nature and he has done a good job of what was expected of him. It seems as if Bappaditya paired this real life couple on seeing the first oppurtunity in two roles which would actually establish their acting credentials(mostly for Vikram) and he has been successfull. Indraneil is the only actor who seems to be a little stiff as Indranath. Okay, granted that his character belives in achieving freedom for the country at any cost and so there is no space for any love or any kind of personal emotions in his life, but however he could have been a little more free.
The cinematography is splendid as is the art direction which have captured the old crumbling mansions of yesteryears with their exposed bricks (as certain portions of the wall have peeled off) have been captured in fine details along with the interiors of the rooms and the costumes do justice as well. The music by Gourabh Chatterjee of Lakkhichara fame who was also the music director of Bappaditya’s earlier film ‘Kagojer Bou’ is the surprise element. Considering that this is a film based on Rabindranath Tagore’s story and all the songs are Rabindra Sangeets, something which we don’t associate with Gourabh since he comes from a different musical world altogether, it is very good and this includes using Abraham Mazumder and his orchestra in the film who again appears in this film as himself after Kagojer Bou. There is a minor flaw in the film where a car which is of a later period has been shown in the film.
The film might seem to be a little slow and lack pace to most people, but overall Bappaditya ‘s tribute to the bard which is the last story written by him is good.