Aparna Sen had bought the rights of ‘Goynar Baksho’ from Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay way back in 1993 as she wanted to make a film on the story, but the idea just remained in the planning stage all these years till Shree Venkatesh Films came in to the picture as a producer and decided to produce the films. The story had attracted her because of it’s magic realism and because of it’s paranormal activities in the story. She has managed to get an ensemble cast to star in her film in the form of Konkona Sen Sharma, Saswata Chatterjee, Mousumi Chatterjee, Srabanti, Paran Banerjee, Pijush Ganguly, Aparajita Addy, Manashi Sinha and others.
The film is a women centric tale in the sense though there are men in the story, it is the story of women of three generations , their lives and how society changes over a period of time. The characters of the women are very strong and they control the family while the men are useless and very weak and timid in nature and have no personality in the initial part of the story.
The film central character’s is Somlata who lives in a sprawling mansion with her husband, her in-laws including her brother-in law and his wife. The men of the house are useless, do no work and the family survives by selling inherited property which they have in various places. The aristocracy is no longer there, but they try to hold on to it. She comes from a poor family and has an age gap with her husband. There is also her husband’s aunt who became a widow at a very young age and no one really really cares much about her and she stays on the top most floor occupying two rooms. Goynar Baksho is essentially about the box which Pishima(the aunt) gives to Somlata after she passes away as she thinks Somlata is the best custodian of that box as the rest of the family will simply sell off everything if they manage to get their hands off. She doesn’t want Somlata to treat the jewellery box as her own, she just wants Somlata to guard the box forever. This is a truth which Somlata finds it hard to live with and for which even her sister-in-law starts hating her and even fearing her more. However she is also a character who is very strong and manages to make all the men of the house work and she sets up a shop and it becomes a profitable business in due course of time. The character is very strong and determined. That is further proved in her interactions with the ghost of Pishima who is always breathing down her neck.
The art direction is top notch because a lot of shooting took place in Murshidabad and Bolpur and even the scenes shot at Bharat Lakshmi Studio showing Notun Bajar is good. It seems that Aparna Sen brings out the best from Mousumi Chatterjee because after The Japanese Wife where she is brilliant, it seems that she has superseded her performance here. As Pishima who becomes a widow at an young age, is forced to shun men, is foul mouthed, is a little eccentric, yet remains so even after she passes away, she is a treat to watch . She is easily the best thing about the film. Saswata Chatterjee as Somlata’s husband who is later 'transformed' thanks to Somlata is good too as is Aparajita Addy, Pijush Ganguly and also Kankana Sen Sharma as Somlata who carries off the role with ease. The surprise package, Srabanti who plays Somlata 's daughter, Chaitali(Basan in the original story) is peppy, cute and derives her personality from her mother played by Konkona. The fate of the jewellery box in the film is a little different from the original story. Well, things can be a little different at times.
While Aparna Sen has fulfilled her dream of making Goynar Baksho as a film, at the same time she has also celebrated 'womanhood' with this film and lived up to her name.