Director: Parambrata Chatterjee
Solid: Soumitra Chatterjee, Parambrata Chatterjee, Jisshu Sengupta, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Paoli Dam, Q, Rudranil Ghosh
Soumitra Chatterjee performs Soumitra Chatterjee in Parambrata Chatterjee’s Abhijaan. In what is maybe his final position, it additionally finds the performing legend – poet, playwright, activist – at his most susceptible. In 2017, Chatterjee’s grandson, a promising younger actor and inheritor to his legacy, met with a motorbike accident that despatched him in a comatose state. A short second of banter between the 2 (one other actor performs his grandson) on the fateful evening seems within the movie. Chatterjee’s willingness to place himself by reenacted moments like these offers Abhijaan an phantasm of fact that’s arduous to not purchase into. It anchors the movie in an authenticity that enhances the self-conscious artifice of the tinted, black and white interval reconstructions of his youthful days, by which Jisshu Sengupta performs him. “I’m taking remuneration to be sincere with you,” he tells the filmmaker, performed by Parambrata, at one level.
Actually, the movie’s cynicism for its topic isn’t any higher than that of the journalist in Sanju performed by Anushka Sharma. It’s self-serving and exists solely to exalt him. Not one of the essential questioning – his “affairs” together with his main girls; the “hypocrisy” of being a single-malt sipping mental and a employee strike sympathizer – is de facto damning. However the place Sanju got here off as an elaborate whitewashing PR mission, Abhijaan pivots on somebody who can articulate the everlasting contradiction that lies on the coronary heart of an artist promoting his artwork. Soumitra Chatterjee wouldn’t have appreciated his licensed biopic to be a hagiography, and it isn’t.
Parambrata shoots the Soumitra parts in a documentary language – speaking heads, actual places, life like background noise. However there’s no purpose to think about this as a journalistic deep dive into his psyche. As an alternative, he faucets right into a Bengali sentiment. And it really works. We have now heard of Soumitra and Uttam as consuming buddies? Right here we get a scene the place Prosenjit Chatterjee, as Uttam Kumar, talks a couple of Marcello Mastroianni efficiency to Jisshu Sengupta’s Soumitra Chatterjee. Paoli Dam’s Suchitra Sen flirts with him at a celebration. Q seems as Ray, summoning the younger, callow actor to the units of Jalsaghar. I used to be half anticipating Srijit Mukherji to indicate up, as himself.
The interval segments could play out like a best hits package deal, however Parambrata makes considerate decisions. He begins the flashback on the day of Tagore’s dying, an occasion that had left an indelible mark on Soumitra as a boy, as a result of he noticed his mom crying inconsolably. Later within the movie, we get a scene the place information of Ray’s dying reaches him whereas he’s in the midst of a play. By the point a title card on the finish notes the passing of the actor, in 2020, you’ve obtained a way of Soumitra’s position because the final hyperlink to that previous. A easy shot of him a greenroom mirror, with little adjustments in hair and make-up, turns into a tool to fast-forward by his profession. Abhijaan loses depth at the price of displaying a little bit of every little thing – it stays a surface-level portrait – however fortunately doesn’t lack soul. In the end, the movie is held collectively by feeling.
I want it was stylistically bolder. Certain the telling is neat and environment friendly, however a bit lyricism would’ve carried out no hurt. Whereas making a cease on their strategy to Bolpur, when the actor and his spouse, Deepa (Basabdatta Chatterjee), have a look at the river mattress and speak, I wished to take a look at it. I might’ve appreciated the digital camera to linger on. I believe Soumitra Chatterjee would’ve appreciated that.