After Moner Manush which was based on Lalan Fakir’s life, Goutam Ghosh’s latest film ‘Shunya Awnko deals with two major topics which are very current-Maoists and intolerance. Several films have been made and are being made on the lives of Maoists and the how the entire country is coping with the country. On one hand the corporates are all out to grab the land which the Maoists call home and the so the oppressed souls have nothing to do, but to protect themselves and their motherland as no one has thought of them before. Hence the war between them and us. While the director has tried to project this in his film, he has also dealt with the very relevant topic of intolerance between two communities. This intolerance has divided the two communities and created a great division between the communities. The director has tried to portray this through the eyes of an aged Muslim couple, Mr. And Mrs. Choudhury (Played by Soumitra Chatterjee and Lalita Chatterjee), one of whom is extremely liberal and tolerant while his better half is intolerant towards Hindus because she even considers them responsible for her son’s death and as a result her dislike for them. The corporate honcho AB(played by Priyanshu Chatterjee) doesn’ know quite whom to please, his bosses, his wife who demands some time from him or his journalist friend who requests him to be a little thoughtful and considerate towards the tribals. He is in a complete dilemma. He also has to face the Muslim couple who act as his hosts as part of a ‘house stay’ system and deal with intolerance too.
The director has tried to deal with too major issues in one film which is not easy to address in one particular film nor too difficult to digest because of the subjects being very strong and hence this film isn’t for everyone . What further complicates things and wasn’t required is breaking up sequences into 10 acts which wasn’t really required and things could have been better had one particular flow been maintained. Priyanshu Chatterjee and Priyanka Bose , an Indie film actress from Mumbai looks convincing as does Konkona Sen as the journalist who is an absolute natural. Lalita Chatterjee is seen in a major role after years and Soumitra Chatterjee’s character is quite out of the ordinary. The picturesque locales of Manali have been captured beautifully and don’t think we have ever seen so much snow in a Bengali film. Dhritiman Chatterjee is also perfectly cast as Dr.Roy, a well wisher of the Maoists.
Somehow one feels that two hard hitting topics in a film where sequences have been broken down in acts will act against the film.