When a young journalist cum film critic becomes a filmmaker, it is interesting. It is the progression of a person on to the next step-of turning one’s dreams into reality. Pratim .D.Gupta who has been with the Telegraph for quite a while and reviewing films has directed his first film ‘Paanch Adhyay’ starring Priyanshu Chatterjee, Dia Mirza and Sampurna Lahiri in the lead roles.
The film is about relationships-relationships between three individuals-Arindam, Ishita and Ranjabati. The film is divided into 5 parts, each part having a particular name. Actually each part is about the stages of the relationship between Arindam and Ishita and even Ranjabanti. The first part deals with Arindam’s first meeting with Ipshita and how he effectively he woos her and wins her over over a period of time. The first act has a certain amount of nostalgic touch about the director-teacher romance in which it has been shot. The film touches hearts probably in the first half, however the other parts it becomes heavy. The other chapters has Arindam falling in love with Ranjabati, the heroine of his new film while keeping his marriage intact. Arindam somehow has a guilty conscious feeling always though he is with Ranjabati as his inner self somehow doesn’t allow him to give in to her or let go of Ishita.Ishita still stands by Arindam no matter what may come and still cares for him though from Arindam’s side, the love has diminished. Most of the film focuses on Arindam’s and Ishita’s post marital relationship. which takes a turn for the worse. The end is however quite nice because of the turn it takes and you again feel good about the film.
The film is like a montage of emotions, thoughts and melody which Pratim puts into place. He again adds a nostalgic touch when he makes the two lead appear in a sepia toned sequence featuring the ‘Ei Raat Tomar Aamar ‘ by Hemanta Mukherjee playing in the background and the incidentally the iconic shot from the film where Asit Sen stands with his back and appears to sing the song also appears in the film. This shot along with the sequence where the special gas balloons seem to be floating to the skies seem magical. In fact a lot of the sequences seem to be like magic. Priyanshu is quite good as Arindam Choudhury, the passive boyfriend whose relationship with Ishita is at the farthest distance. Ishita is one character who sees her man literally moving away from her as each day passes for no fault of hers and it has become a completely loveless marriage. Diya’s characterization of Ishita is faultless. She looks perfect as the favourite teacher of the children as well as the hapless wife of Arindam. She looks shattered and distraught and you really feel for her when you come to know the harsh truth at the end of the film. Dia has dubbed for herself and she has simply done a wonderful job as Ishita and looks good too. Soumitra Chatterjee in a cameo as Arindam’s mentor is an appropriate choice for the part as is Suman Mukherjee as the doctor. Shantanu’s Moitra’s music is again top notch with most of the songs striking a note including ‘Uda Jaye’(both the versions), ‘Phire Pawar Gaan’ and other songs which are extremely pleasant and stay with you. The director’s influences are many and we get to see some of that in the film. Sampurna Lahiri is the weak link in the film and she isn’t improving at all. This role did have scope, but she is just not cut out for acting in films like this. The narrative is also such that some audiences may find the shot sequences a little confusing as suddenly they are repeated in every chapter, but later we realize, they haven’t been repeated , they have just completed and shown to us a whole to make it more complete.
Paanch Adhyay does show Pratim to be quite promising in his first film itself and he will definitely come up with more brighter ideas in the future.