Posts Tagged ‘ Amba Sanyal ’

Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh

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Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh
Release date: December 2, 2016
Directed by: Sujoy Ghosh
Cast: Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal, Tunisha Sharma, Jugal Hansraj, Kharaj Mukherjee, Tota Roychoudhury, Manini Chadha, Amba Sanyal

In the spring of 2012, or as we in Mumbai call it, the relatively less hot days of the year, Vidya Bagchi sifted through the colorful streets of Kolkata to find her husband with a heavily pregnant womb, and some layers of deception running along. In the created universe, Bagchi was an easily believable protagonist. A vulnerable woman with life growing inside her, considered as the most pious state of womanhood by constantly pushed rhetoric and religious propaganda that bills a woman’s motherhood as an ideal.

This time around, she’s not as two-dimensional. Not half as easily believable. In a small song-montage, Vidya Sinha (Vidya Balan) describes an idyllic Sunday with her paralyzed daughter Mini (Tunisha Sharma). A few minutes later, chaos begins to descend on them, and a car accident later, Sub-Inspector Inderjeet Singh (Arjun Rampal) discovers minute details of Vidya’s life through a diary that she maintained until eight years prior to the day.

Soon, another angle floats to the surface. Inspector Haldar (Kharaj Mukherjee) claims that Durga Rani Singh is a wanted criminal who’s forged a new identity, and is apparently in the sleepy town of Chandanagar; “the town that’s as big as a football field”. Durga bears a stark resemblance to Vidya, and that is me putting it mildly. Inderjeet is conflicted about the two sides to the comatose Vidya/absconding Durga situation.

Eventually, from looking for her husband in Kahaani to looking for her daughter in Kahaani 2, the extensive searching and innocuous prying gives way for a prolonged dark exposition of Durga’s origins. Her punctuated loneliness, her social anxiety and a throbbing sense of grasping on to someone who she empathizes with, who she sees herself as a younger version of her own self. Durga confines herself to a tiny house in the hills of Kalimpong, for reasons initially unclear. Bereft of vanity, and any desire to pursue her interests beyond her job at a school, she struggles to make emotional relationships.

This Vidya is far removed from the amiable, and charming, sundress clad Vidya of the earlier film. Her timidity, attributed to a graver issue, can often be alluded to create an element of doubt in her actions and her statements. A looming sense of suspicion hovers around the affairs, much like noir films of the past. The film deals with sexual abuse from a crystallized point of view, where the crime is openly addressed, and quite openly accepted by the perpetrator as well, separating the enablers from the resistor and the sole condemning agent.

Vidya Balan’s performance scales the heights viewers have come to expect from her over the years. She powers through clumsy, everyday violence-like action sequences, and sets the house on fire, literally and figuratively, with psychotic rage for that one slightly predictable final jolt in the plot. Her passionate display, along with fast, brisk cuts in the build-up to the revelation of her character’s years in Kalimpong, supported by a devious Jugal Hansraj, a mean Kharaj Mukherjee, and a weary Arjun Rampal, with a slightly overtly chirpy Manini Chadha as his wife, keep the film heavily gripping for vast parts.

As comparisons are bound to be made, Kahaani 2 is as different of a film as it is similar to Kahaani. There’s a failed attempt at resurrecting a Bob Biswas like mercenary, a purpose for deception and there is expansive range for Balan to be the boss that she is at this acting job, and the limitedly infringing landscapes of Kolkata. Kahaani 2 is pulp, though not as cheesy as genre films, still somewhere a mix between the traditional and bold, constantly entertaining.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

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Ship of Theseus

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Ship of Theseus
Release date: July 19, 2013
Directed by: Anand Gandhi
Cast: Aida El-Kashef, Neeraj Kabi, Sohum Shah, Amba Sanyal, Faraz Khan, Vinay Shukla, Sameer Khurana, Sunip Sen, Ramnik Parekh

After pondering over what buzzwords to include in my introductory paragraph of this review for quite a long time, I eventually decided to pour out my introspective reflections and cinematic observations without making a comment about the film’s probable long-term effects on anything.

Ship of Theseus is the Greek interrogative paradox of  whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The film presents three different cases of replacement where organs of the human body stand to get replaced and how does the said decision of getting the replacement moulds their perspective.

Aliyaa (Aida El-Kashef), a blind photographer living in a foreign city is still bothered at not yet being a “complete” photographer even while she’s garnering accolades for her black and white images. She yearns to see the world that she clicks. Her subsequent cornea transplant changes her feelings about the same world.

Maitreya (Neeraj Kabi) is a monk of a fictitious religion with its roots thickly based in the theory of equality and freedom of choice and consent for all species alike. He fights for the cause he believes in, with a young apprentice at a law firm, Charvaka (Vinay Shukla) and his fellow godmen at the monastery, highly dipped in irony and a tongue-in-cheek battle with the ever-prevalent cynicism of the modern world. After a bout of illness, Maitreya faces a dilemma of getting a transplant which strongly contradicts his ideals.

The third protagonist, Navin (Sohum Shah) is a practically capitalistic businessman who gets a kidney transplant and is confronted by his own grandmother’s beliefs and a consequential doubt of his kidney being stolen. He embarks on a personal interrogation of the whole crime racket and tries to provide a solution to one of the victims. The individual screenplays merge at the end to give a befitting conclusion to the film.

Director of Photography and co-writer Pankaj Kumar chases the characters with his camera for long periods of extended dialogue and extremely ordinary activities. The imagery, no matter how visually sombre, is extremely moving. The character backgrounds of each protagonist are entirely based in Mumbai, yet they have a deeply disconnected social and moralistic outlook at life. It is perhaps this disconnection that captivates you through each of the tracks.

The performances of all the actors along with the less focused upon supporting cast are completely organic and terribly realistic. Special props to Neeraj Kabi’s physical transformation for his role’s requirement. The production and sound design carefully alleviate the film to make it a spiritual experience. From Aliya’s irritation and anxiety to Maitreya’s silent self-doubt and Navin’s newfound empathy, everything transcends the barrier of the celluloid screen.

Ship of Theseus may not necessarily be life-altering or even inquisitive  for you, but it surely questions, enlightens and enthralls you how great cinema should. It’s stay in the theaters may be limited, it definitely won’t disappear from your subconscious any soon.

My rating: **** (4 out of 5)

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