Tarak is a professional foley artist whose obsession with creating sound effects for films makes him oblivious to all the talking around him. As his family and friends struggle to cope up with his changing soundscape, Dr Swati tries to figure out the roots of his obsession and finally succeeds to identify. Yet, Tarak plunges deeper and deeper into the world of the unheard as his love for cinema is unplugged.
Sound is very important part of a film. In fact many films remain memorable because of the sound designing of the films. Sound remains an essential element of filmmaking because they make certain scenes come alive or make them memorable . Sounds are added during post production to enhance the quality of a particular scene and make it more believable. It can be anything from breaking of glass to chiming of bells etc. It is important in every visual medium whether films, television, videos or even a non visual medium like radio.
Kaushik Ganguly’s national award winning film ‘Shabdo’ is about such people or rather such a person whose work we get to hear, but neither they nor their work is ever glorified. Tarak(Ritwick Chakrabarty) is one such foley artist who is obsessed with creating sound effects for films. Foley artists are people who specialise in creating sounds for various mediums. While people around him including his family fail to understand his obsession, Swati,a doctor tries her best to understand his obsession. The script is wonderfully etched out and made believable by the performances. The director had done immense research work while making this it seems we, the audience get to understand the true dedication and obessession of foley artists. Here Tarak is such a character whose work becomes such an obsession that he is far removed from reality and even human voices stop mattering to him, the only sounds that matter to him are the sounds that he creates. Obviously people around him fail to understand him and thus the end result is a little tragic and melancholy though it is a little predictable as well. Kaushik etches the character very well because we understand how dedicated they can be because at times they are even in their underwears at times and try to recreate sounds and remove themselves from anything and everyone because any kind of distraction disturbs them. Kaushik hasn’t even kept any background score, the only sounds we hear are the sounds that the director wants us to hear-the sounds created by Tarak after he hears something and he tries to recreate it. Having any other background score would have spoilt the mood and the natural flow of the film.
After this role Ritwick Chakrabarty will finally be able send a message across to directors or producers of what he is capable of, we hope. We always knew that he is a good actor, but in this film as Tarak, he is brilliant with his expressions of angst, confusion and stubbornness. He is utterly convicing and brings a responsibility to the role which shows as if he was tailor made for the role. It is difficult to imagine Raima Sen as a lower middle wife and specially if she can’t do her job well and that has unfortunately happened. Churni Ganguly however excels as the pschyiatrist and the director seems to be asking us questions through her.
Nevertheless Shabdo is a very important and thought provoking film because noways there are very things which are natural around us and maybe foley artists may even cease to exist days to come in the current age of technology and sync . In the 100th year of cinema, it is a fitting tribute to nature in the form of sound ,a very important technological aspect of any film that makes this film a complete stand out film.
The film is easily Kaushik’s best film till date.