The English meaning of ‘Shukno Lanka’ means dry red chillies or something that we add to a curry to get more taste to it. This film is about Chinu Nandy,a struggling middle aged junior artiste who appears in bit roles in films or in fact most of the times he is even rejected for some reason or the other. A former employee of Coal India, his only dream is to be a recognized actor and he should be able to contribute to the film in an important way. The para boys in his locality give him that much needed push to charge his batteries when he demonstrates his acting skills in front of him when they insist. His simple wife whose entire aspirations are centered around the fate of her husband’s acting skills or rather his fate in the industry (played by Angana Basu,quite an unknown face , yet an excellent performance)..On the other hand we have Joy Sundar Sen, an award winning art film maker whose films win awards nationally and internationally, yet they are all box office failures. While in Berlin to attend a festival, he meets a young actress Isabella with whom he bonds very well and is also attracted to her.He is faced with his own morality and though he has a very supportive wife, yet he seems to be far away from her mentally. He comes across a book of short stories by noted film director Ritwick Ghatak. He decides to make a film on the short story called Paraspathar.He decides to cast Chinu in the lead role of his film.Chinu just can not believe his luck and thinks that the doors to his future have opened. His ever supporting wife also is overjoyed at this sudden twist of fate. Yet what happens next is to be seen.
There are a few remarkable things about the film. Firstly it is the performances. Every person from Mithun, the brilliant Angana Basu, Debasree as Joy Sundar’s wife, Sabyasachi as Joy Sundar, Emma Brown as Isabella in her own small way and Saheb as K.Kumar,a bindaas film director who is yet supportive of Chinu because he thinks that he has something in him) is excellent.Angana Basu and Saheb are the pick of the lot. Nothing needs to be said about Mithunda because he has again shown the Mithun we know in commercial cinema who plays to the gallery and the Mithun in art films is completely different. His performance is enough to silence his worst critics. Three kinds of relationships have been handled equally well in the film-the silent yet bonding between Joy Sundar and Isabella, the loveless relationship between Joy Sundar and his wife who have it all yet do not have it all and then Chinu and his wife who have nothing at all, yet have everything between them including eternal love for each other and that only increases more when he becomes the lead actor of Paraspathar.
There is an interesting sequence in the film when Chinu and his wife spend the entire night talking to each other while taking the tour of the city on a tonga.Chinu narrates tales of his shoots to his wife and we all get to see his experiences while he takes a tour. When their tour is over, it is dawn and Chinu asks his wife to look upwards. She looks upward and sees the hoarding of Paraspathar with Chinu on it. Dreams turn into reality.Brilliant! Simply Brilliant! The cinematography by Mahesh Aney (cinematographer of films like God Only Knows, Dus Kahaniyaan, The Hangman) is excellent. To capture Kolkata in such frames in night and day though being from Mumbai requires skill. Director Gaurav Pandey who has directed the Hindi film ‘Stumped’ has done an excellent job though actually this film should have been released much earlier and should have been his first film. The music is excellent as well because it is just appropriate.Mithunda again delivers with an outstanding performance. Late Kunal Mitra also appears in the film though his voice is dubbed by Saswata Chatterjee.
See Mithunda dance to ‘Singh Nei Tabu Naam ‘song at a nightclub after the cast and crew of Paraspathar go there one day after the shooting to enjoy themselves. Well, nothing else remains to be said about this man.