IFFI-09 Diary: Angshumaner Chhobi by Atanu Ghosh
“Angshumaner Chhobi is like a painting on the wall with the nail and wire that hangs it, exposed! Somewhat like the one that Soumitra Chatterjee, points to Indrani Haldar while telling her the essence of acting.
Soumitra plays Prodyut, an ageing actor, who has decided to do no more roles. Madhura ( Indrani Haldar), a onetime national award winner actor, now earns a living by doing Jatras (Bengalis folk theatre)! Film begins with the return of Angshuman to Kolkata to make his first feature film. He had left the city for Italy nine years ago where he studied filmmaking to become an established documentary filmmaker abroad.
Angshuman plans to cast veteran actor Prodyut (Soumitra), who s off acting now. Films proceeds in a fashion of a heroic tale, where the director gradually attains heroism by surmounting a series of roadblocks in the path of his mission! First task at his hand is to convince Soumitra, then Indrani! Then Indrani feels insecure and threatens to quit the project. It s a well constructed plot, however, as said earlier, Atanu leaves the wire and nail exposed after mounting the painting! Atanu follows the beaten path so meticulously that he falls for each and every pitfall on the way depriving the film of a much desired naturalism.
I sensed that right in the beginning, when Angshuman is received on an empty (yes!) Kolkata airport and his friend Rajiv (adorable Rudranil Ghosh) calls for a freshly yellow painted ambassador cab! The sets often look so picture-perfect as if they ve been just created to shoot the film!
Another unpleasant aspect of the film is its overdependence on dialogues and background score! It s a true talkie! I can t think of a single remarkable scene or even moment in the film where people don t talk. Silence is completely absent from the film!
Atanu s uses the medium of cinema just for the bare minimum purpose of showing us those who re talking. This is why quite often the visual design of the film comes dangerously close to television soaps.
I suspect that the film might work for some for two reasons. First, it s enviable casting and second, their closer to real life characters. But that s hardly a reason for it s being at the Indian Panorama!
It s particularly disturbing that in a year of promising Indian debuts such as “The Man Beyond The Brdige and “Harishchandrachi Factory , this film has found its way at the expense of cinematically richer ones in the competition at the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).