While watching Gourav Pandey's "Shukno Lanka", I had a feeling of mixed emotions. Sometimes, a film represents life; it represents life so largely in so few words that you can't fathom what its exact beauty is. It warms you, chokes your throat, pulls at your cords in the heart and refreshes you. And inspires you. And develops you. And matures you. And beautifies you.
The very essence of "Shukno Lanka" is that is is profound. It's so profound you can't exactly decipher it. And this failure of yours leads to the film's success.
What is the film about? It is about you. It's about you, the struggler. You, who craves to attain success; you, who is continually criticised by others; you, who rises to glory from a meager blossom.
The film's main actor is the script. It is undoubtedly the protagonist. Very, very few Bengali films have scripts that can be termed OUTSTANDING. I'm pleased to say I watched Shukno Lanka. It has one of the greatest stories that can ever be told by Tollywood.
Mithun plays a secondary actor, who is given importance only during times of necessity by the director. He knows he is a better actor than the hero, yet he accepts it silently and leads a most simple life, extremely satisfied to earn Rs. 250 per month, and travel by tram. It's his contentment, not happiness. This fits his life - a most vulnerable, not-very-educated type of person who stays away from drinks due to unquivering faith in words promised to his mother and his god. He accepts life the way it flows without any grudge. He is simple and pleasant. These virtues transcend all barriers of human emotions and establish his character on a very strong ground.
The hero of Tollywood is not visited by the famed internally acclaimed director played by Sabyasachi. He has looked upon Mithun as a junior artiste, has spoken to him with disgust and arrogance, but at the end, does not fail to realise Mithun and ask his people to give him the chair. This recognition from him itself serves as a perfect example of one's change in totality, or change to respect, or change to accept.
The director makes the film, appreciates Mithun's hard work. His film is based on an extremely interesting plot. Parash Pathar, the elixir of life, is his protagonist. And the protagonist playing this protagonist is Mithun. He constantly is anxious about his performance and despite assurance from the director, requests him to teach him whenever and wherever he went wrong. That proves the vulnerability in each one of us; we tremble before a giant work.
Mithun recollects his days and tells the tale to his wife, on a carriage, plying the street of midnight Kolkata. It is the journey of his life, told on the journey of the road. Finally, he tells her who he is. "Tumi ke go?" asks she most charmingly, candidly, innocently. "Oi akasher kase," comes his reply. And the camera focusses to the signboard above. "Parash Pathar" - the name - Mithun - the character - spring into life on a busy Kolkata street.
The director reminds us of life and its duties once again. But before that, he does not forget to show Mithun's wife weeping in her husbands arms. Hard to believe who became what. And what more, the driver too could not help wiping tears. The end is THE most brilliant conclusion to any Bengali film.
Mithun is absolutely terrific. They say a film is necessary for showcasing one's talent. Mithun did it. He did it. He did it. He was perfect, playing to the hilt his character. His performance manifested so many emotions, a plethora of feelings, of sadness, acceptance of life's wordly woes, yet moving on with undiminished belief of a better tomorrow, happiness, humility, Bangal attitude - he was splendid. He was splendid. "Er pore ki kisu jay ase?" was his last question to his wife. Yes, we too ask the audience. Er pore ki keu bolben, Mithun er cheye keu beshi valo korte parto?
While Mithun shone as the character, both in reality and cinematic reality, and in the film-within-a-film, Sabyasachi as the internally known director performed strongly as both a man and a director. He dealt both the roles with equal deftness. Isabella is stunning. She portrayed the delicacies of her character with so much perfection that she never felt to be an outsider. Debashree's lonely housewife, craving for some time from her husband, is brilliantly depicted. She spoke the least, but emoted the most. And Mithun's wife, in all her village-like mannerisms, was outstanding in her way.
Oh! What a film! I would love to remember it all my life. And its message. And the director. And Mithun Chakrabarty.
This is a film. This is an experience. This is what Bengal can deliver. "Shesh hoyeo hoilo na shesh..."