Rituparno Ghosh is a master story-teller. No doubt about that. His recent movie Noukadubi which roughly translates to boat wreck is compelling in its approach but it fails to exact the kind of acting the script demands. Raima Sen’s Hemnalini is the only character who does justice to Rabindranath Tagore’s work of which the movie is an adaptation. Riya Sen appeared extremely amateur in the acting game whereas Jisshu Sengupta and Prosenjit were purely mechanical. Veteran actor Dhritiman Chatterjee as the ageing yet adorable father helped prop the movie a notch higher. The screenplay was brilliant and the occasional mellifluous tones of Rabindrasangeet set the mood. The locations were perfect and in sync with the story but at times you couldn’t help but feel that something about the movie was forced. It is not as spontaneous as some of Rituparno’s other works noticeably Chokher Bali which was also an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novel.
The story revolves around four central characters. Ramesh, a Calcutta educated lawyer and Hemnalini a well-educated upper class woman who drabbles in rabindrasangeet as time pass. Their fates are inexorably entwined but yet destiny plays a cruel trick on them. Compelled by his father and in certain measure owing to his own pity, he marries a widow’s only daughter who is as her mother puts it- illiterate but expert at household work. He barely had a glimpse at his own wife when tragedy befalls. In a thunderstorm the boat they were travelling in capsizes. Ramesh loses his father in the accident but a few feet from where he regains consciousness he finds a woman in a bride’s garb. Thinking of her more as a duty than wife he takes her to his home in Calcutta and tries to be a responsible husband. Meanwhile, Hemnalini heart-broken at Ramesh’s sudden desertion recoils into her own shell. Her father takes her to Kansi to help her recuperate from mental trauma where she meets the charming yet kind-hearted doctor Nalinakhya. Incidentally, Nalinakhya had lost his wife in a boat wreck. The criss-crossing of the lives of the four central characters at times becomes confusing and a tad too boring.
Overall the movie is a good watch if you overlook the minor glitches (like misplaced jump cuts). Rituparno Ghosh is an expert when it comes to making period dramas. You will be effortlessly transported to the early 20th century Calcutta. The background music is brilliant and the only thing right about the movie besides Raima Sen. The choice of songs combined with the playback singers like Nachiketa is successful to quite an extent in hiding the apparent flaws. Entertaining if you want a break from work related stress.
About me: Always be a first-rate version of yourself than a second-rate version of someone elseLocation: Kolkata, India
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