[K]oushik Ganguly’s Rang Milanti (Queen of hearts, 2011) is a youth-based film – and an interesting one. The basic plot revolves round the sweet and svelte Kamalika who is hopelessly in love with four young men – all friends themselves, and is not sure whom she will accept as her life-partner. So, she calls on all of them and conveys her dilemma. These four young men come from different social and psychological back-grounds and promise that who-ever is the ‘best’ fit will win over the girl, while the others will accept and continue to be friends.
Then comes this psychiatrist cum love doctor who advises Kamalika with testing his paramours with ten different situations, evaluating each and then moving towards the one with maximum points. As the film progresses, this unique ‘swayamvara’ turns and twists, taking us into a moderately enjoyable ride. Each of the ten phases are marked by names of films catering to some nostalgic remembrance of the audience – a trait which almost all Bengali film-makers never forget to abide by. There are two more sub-plots which both could have been interesting had not they been dealt with rather un-importantly. The first one deals with a cliché where the foreign drug peddler cum bar dancer is duped by a city promoter in Goa (he was a hotel manager then and there) – she gives birth to their baby and is homeless, clueless and in hiding from the police (due to illegal drug trafficking).
The gang (the four friends, Kamalika, her sister and others) round up the man and extort compensation from him and in a rather sweet twist we find the child landing in the home of a ‘special’ child-less couple. If this subplot is partially restored to some acceptability to its ending, the other one that patches up Kamalika’s gorgeous actress sister Kamalini with her estranged husband is cooked up with a lot of grime. The husband who is a voice-over artist is the agony-aunt in place – he impersonates a woman in the FM channel every morning (this is a bit beyond comprehension as well) dealing with every-day issues and problems (‘she’ is also the narrator of the entire fairy love tale) and then dresses up like the old psychiatrist (mentioned earlier) who guides Kamalika to her selection. In the end the actress sister goes back to him, apparently understanding the true ‘colours’ of love and endurance – probably too feeble a thread to harp on for long!
The main flow of the narrative runs with the comic situations and how each of the four interprets and implements according to their psychological mould. However it soon becomes repetitive and monotonous. It probably could have been worthwhile if there were surprises, for example if there were few cases where the tests were not preplanned by Kamalika but they just happened by chance and Kamalika could have pondered later. But in reality, what came up on screen made us as audience experience similar repetitions ten times over. Probably the director himself understood this and he tried to pull back a bit with another twist to this experimentation–when Kamalika realized after all the ten rounds and spending some time with Rik – the winner, that if the rounds were increased it could be any of the other three who could have emerged the best.
It is at this point in time she stalls her run through this adventure which she enjoyed so long and realizes that ‘love’ is in being tolerant, in being happy with all the short-comings of the other and in the triumph of accepting the high-points in the relationship. She wanted to have all the positives of all four into one individual who existed no-where. Interestingly it’s almost the same time that Kamalini also has a similar understanding of herself and her husband. She goes ahead and dumps her film-maker boyfriend who ironically was characterized quite comically as opposed to the husband for whom the audience could easily fall.
Like most of the commercial Bengali movies this one is almost asexual. There are the customary kissing scenes to tell that “we have grown up mummy”, but when it comes down to a mature handling of the carnal desires, the film directors mostly become hesitant. Koushik Ganguly is no exception. Otherwise, why on earth, there is not even an implicit reference of the sexual preference of this urban, suave quad? Or for that matter Kamalika? Why isn’t there a round to test the sexual / libidinal quotient of these four as perceived by Kamalika? Casual sex has mushroomed in the society and it’s really unfortunate that entertainment media is still unsure about how to handle it.
Riddhima Ghosh as Kamalika is confused – her facial expressions seldom change thereby confusing the audience if she is happy or not with the performance of her lovers. The four young men are good with special mention to Tanaji as Laden who has the least luster but yet the maximum glow. Churni was gorgeous and carried her role as Kamalini, the actress with fervor and so did Riingo as her boyfriend. But the one person who literally carries the film on his shoulders is Sasawata Chatterjee as Kamalini’s husband and psychiatrist Anu Ghatak. Though vividly exaggerated, his histrionics are mostly enjoyable for the excess.
Rang Milanti is a moderately enjoyable film. It could have been cut short quite a bit to bring in some speed to it. Considering Koushik’s previous, enigmatic Arekti premer golpo (Just another love story, 2010) this can be passed on easily as a drab. The general cinema hall-visiting middle class has accepted the film quite well and it’s doing quite a brisk business. Well, that counts, even if the queen fails to conquer a few hard-nosed hearts!