The Hemlock Society USA was a national right-to-die organization founded in Santa Monica, California by Derek Humphry in 1980. Its primary missions included providing information to dying persons and supporting legislation permitting physician-assisted suicide. In 2003 the national organization renamed itself, and a year later merged with another group into a newly formed national organization called Compassion & Choices. A number of unaffiliated local organizations continue to operate under the Hemlock Society name.
Srijit’s film which goes by the name of Hemlock Society is also similarly about Ananda who runs an institution where people who are unsuccessful in committing suicide are trained by professors to hone their skills so that they achieve success in their future attempts. From the beginning itself, Srijit has said that he doesn’t want to glorify nor promote suicide so that people may get encouraged after watching the film. The film is a cinematic expression of bringing an unique concept to screen and what better than a black satire cum comedy which also has nuances of love, romance and thrill? The bottle of poison or the hangman‘s noose on the posters are all to accentuate an element of thrill and suspense as he wants the audience to keep guessing.
He has managed to get an ensemble cast for the film other than Parambrata and Koel Mullick in the lead roles. Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Barun Chanda, Bratya Basu, Soumitra Chatterjee, Raj Chakrabarty, Sabitri Chatterjee and Priyanka who all play cameos as the professors advising suicidal students are excellent. The film's genre can’t be predicted till the end because it can only be justified as a satire. Just when you think midway that it is a so called black comedy due to the element of death , the way in which it has been handled, the film takes a turn towards romance between the two principle characters. Instead of just focusing on Hemlock, Srijit has managed to create an area of love and romance between the two characters to take the film in a different path. However was it required? Wouldn’t it have been better had had he not just concentrated on the element of psuedo realism instead of trying to make it more realisitic, more pleasant by giving a new turn to the film? Parambrata keeps up his performance as Ananda, the do-gooder who tries to help distressed people and tries to provide them with a solution of how to end their lives in a more successful manner. His situation is more tragic because his own life will end in a couple of years as he suffers from a life threatening illness whereby blood transfusion is required every six months. Just like the entire Hemlock Society turns out to be staged, the film appears to be somewhat staged because the lead character appears to be extremely out of the ordinary. That is because if he indeed did that because he loved Meghna, it is okay , but if he intends to do that with every depressed soul he comes across, the idea doesn’t seem that real. Why? Also the film ‘s length is a question mark and some editing was required so that the duration could have been another 15-20 min short. The ending specially comes to the mind involving Ananda and Santanu. It wasn’t required at all and maybe some other parts could have been cut short as well. It would have been proper. Also nowadays Srijit thinks it is cool to use slang words in his film as we have seen in Baishe Srabon and over here in a scene as well so as to make it more acceptable and cool and appealing to the fillm goes specially to the youth, but is it really required? Usage of such slangs don’t really make it more realistic or appealing. He should learn to do without them. Deepankar Dey and Rupa Ganguly are excellent as Meghna’s father and step mother and turn in mature performances. The cinematography by Soumik Haldar capturing the highways, the lush surroundings of the outskirts are beautiful as is the art direction( the sets of the Hemlock Society which are very interesting). The songs deserve a mention because each of the songs whether 'Jawl Phoring' by Silajit ,' Amar Mawte by Lopamudra Mitra', 'Ei To Aami Chaai' by Shreya Ghoshal or the other songs, each of them are very nice in their own way.
Srijit has made a film on a very interesting theme. Just wished he would have stuck to the base of instead of the deviations.