Manoj Michigan is another debutant director in the Bengali Film Industry. His “Hello Kolkata” is recently released in Nandan prior to its release in a regular chain.
This two hour plus film deals with four different couples of Kolkata, how they cope with their personal problems. One may earlier compare this film with Anurag Basu’s “Life in a Metro”.
The four couples are Raima (Swastika Mukherjee) and Pratik (Amitabha Bhattacharya); Partha (Sudip Mukherjee) and Shiela (Sreelekha Mitra); Anjali (Maitreyee Mitra) and Rahul (Indrajit); and the forth couple is Animesh (Rudranil Ghosh) and Gita (Samapika Debnath).
Here the director has dealt struggle and work pressure of the corporate world around us. We see the workers of BPO call centre, IT professionals, Insurance executives and others. The characters are either in the crosswords of their marriage, or under social pressure for not having a child, or in a dilemma between love and ambition or heading a disaster for falling behind both the sales target and the family demand.
It was very difficult for the story-writer to weave the different stories of four different couple sin the same story. So he took an easy way he just connected the characters. Like, Pratik and Partha are two brothers, Anjali works in the BPO as a team-leader where Pratik is the BPO manager, Animesh is an insurance executive where Partha is the branch manager. Some times this technique works, sometimes doesn’t. In “Hello Kolkata…….”it works to a certain extent. The character of Pratik is not properly etched out. We don’t get any answer why he is so violent and alcoholic. But his violence and alcoholism is the cause of physical and mental suffering of his wife. In the entire film Pratik Seems the odd man out.
But on doubt Manoj’s film is able to capture the psyche of the modern Indians. But there is no answer whether the problems, pressures, tensions of the characters has any connection with the city Kolkata? If not, it might be the story of the people of any metropolis of India. Then why the title “HELLO KOLKATA……..”? This is the major drawback of the film.
There is one more drawback. As the format of the film is digital with a very low budget, the director has to place the characters only in the fore-ground with no depth in the background at all. Even we rarely see mid-shots in the film. It’s a collage of big close-up and mid close-ups only. So any body may think that he is watching a television show.
All the actors in the film are superb and that is the USP of the film. Even Swastika and Amitabha with a poor back-up of the script have tried to overcome the screenplay problem, Sudip and Sreelekha have done a remarkable job so is Maitrayee, Indrajit, Rudranil and Samapika.
The music is at times very loud. With all its teething problem in his debut film the director Manoj Michigan has been able to impress the audience. We are watching you Manoj.