Posts Tagged ‘ Sujoy Ghosh ’

Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh

kahaani-2-poster

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)

Kahaani Review


Kahaani
Release Date: March 9, 2012
Directed by: Sujoy Ghosh
Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chatterjee, Darshan Jariwala, Indraneil Sengupta, Saswata Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Early posters of Kahaani proclaimed the film to be “A mother of a story”, and I was fairly titillated just by that. I wanted to know if it actually proves itself to be that good. The promos have built up a lot of scenes, but none of them really give out the thrill & suspense associated with them.

Our protagonist Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan), rechristened as Bidya by the local Bengalis everywhere she goes, is the heavily pregnant woman searching for her husband Arnab Bagchi. She is a software engineer who’s armed with her charm and nonchalant smile. Her reports are brushed off as just another case of a missing person by the police, until Satyaki (Parambrata Chatterjee) tries to help her out. He tells her, in Kolkata, everyone has a moniker and they are never referred to by their real names. Together, they recce every place that Arnab had described, but no one could validate his claims of being there.

Vidya holds her beliefs strong, and insists that the world is lying. It is this belief that makes her ruffle feathers of the intelligence and the powers that be. She soon realizes everything is far more complex than what appears on the front. There are layers of red-tape on her quest for her husband. The story goes on to encapsulate you within its cocoon and provides a strong self-descriptive narrative that never requires more than a few light lines & a smile from Vidya.

There are neither any jarring sound effects during the highly concerning scenes, nor there are umpteen pillow-grabbing crying sequences with songs playing at the back. Nothing is irrelevant. Though I won’t say the same about the film’s climax & its justification. Vidya Balan yet again gives a performance that leaves you gasping to catch more of this woman in the future. The ensemble cast, as shown yet again, is the major binding factor for a story to move around smoothly.

The duration of the film never remains an issue as you go through the motions. The crowded metropolis of Kolkata finds an artistic appeal through Satyajit Pande’s camera work. Overall, it is a coming-of-age story that shows us the transition that our films need to go through.

I rate it as a must-watch for getting the basics of story-telling right & coming out to be a mother of a story. (Never mind the climax)

My Rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

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