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Review Bengali

Aami Ashbo Phirey review: When music comes to the rescue of a crumbling modern world

Release Date: 13 Apr 2018 / Rated: A / 02hr 02min

Cinestaan Rating

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Roushni Sarkar

Aami Ashbo Phirey is about a journey from darkness to light, but, for most parts, the plot remains quite grim.

Anjan Dutt’s Aami Ashbo Phirey is a story of hope amidst crumbling values and declining relationships in the modern society. The complexities in the plot, in sync with the turmoil in each of the character’s lives, depicted in a greyish-blue tone throughout the film, definitely demonstrates Dutta’s dedication to the nuances of the film.

The film largely emerges as a fine piece of artwork, with music playing an important role.

However, the storyline turns a little problematic in the end. The sudden transformation in one of the most important characters appears a bit superficial and it seems that the director was in a hurry to present resolutions to all the complications.

The story touches upon several cords of emotions; frustration, helplessness and alienation between close relations. The film begins as a young college student rapes a girl of his age and is detained. This ensues a conflict between his estranged parents, Ranojoy (Anjan Dutt) and Mala (Anjana Basu).

Mala leads a stressed lifestyle with her live-in partner Deepak, and has a mother who has been bed-ridden for five years. While Ranojoy thinks his son should be punished appropriately, Mala is unable to bear the embarrassment caused by the son and blames Ranojoy, a loner and a bitter soul.

As the film progresses, it is revealed that Ranojoy had physically and verbally abused Sanju in his childhood which resulted in the latter being admitted to an asylum.

The rape victim Ranjana (Darshana Banik), on the other hand, is unable to deal with the trauma of the assault and, fearing humiliation, refuses to testify in court. Her advocate (Swastika Mukherjee) seems to be in a fix as Ranjana is adamant. Her own daughter (Sauraseni Maitra), too, is a victim of depression and is always agitated with her single mother. The daughter believes her mother has devalued relationships in order to achieve professional success.

More complications are brought in when it is revealed that the daughter is in a relationship with Jojo (Koushik Sen), who is almost twice her age and was once her mother’s boyfriend.

Ranajoy’s loneliness magnifies and almost consumes him when he comes across a few mementos from Sanju’s childhood and a few songs written by him. He decides to record those songs with the help of an aspiring band who often jam in his house with his tenant (Anindya Chatterjee), the lead vocalist.

By fitting those songs into tune, Ranojoy seems to have come back to life. As he begins to love himself, he attempts to help the others do the same with the songs, all the while not revealing that he has composed them. The songs somehow reach all the characters battling with their own struggles and brings new hope, sowing the seeds of kindness and compassion in them.

The film not only endeavours to project the enormous of power of music, but also reveals how songs can raise hopes in the most dejected souls even if they are written by a criminal. It is as though Sanju's crime is redeemed to a certain extent by his writings.

The film is undoubtedly bold in its approach. All the characters are grey, though, at the same time a little generalised with their association with drugs and other addictions. They incline towards self-reflexivity when they encounter the songs and undergo a transformation.

However, it would have been better if the transformations were a bit more subtle, rather than being so pronounced. The film would have lent
more effect on the mind of the audience. At certain points, it also turns too melodramatic which takes away the compact realistic outlook of the film.

The delineation of the relationships seems deep as well. When two characters, at loggerheads, shed their ego and show kindness, the film subtly sends a message of humility. Aami Ashbo Phirey is about a journey from darkness to light, but, for most parts, the plot is quite grim.

It is almost needless to say that Anjan Dutt’s brilliant performance works as the primary pillar of the film. Dutt portrays the agitations, helplessness and finally, Ranojoy's giving-in to reality, with skill and a lot of attachment.

Swastika Mukherjee, too, is extremely flexible in portraying both the stubborn and meek sides of her character. She etches out the pangs of failure in sustaining a relationship quite well.

Anjana Basu's performance is mostly decent and so is of the actor who plays the character of Deepak. Kaushik Sen is brilliant in his brief yet poignant appearance as a lover caught in a troublesome bond.

Among the set of young actors, Sauraseni Maitra stands out well both in the states of agitation and in love. Darshana Banik doesn’t really mould herself and Anindya Chatterjee seems amateurish as well.

Cinematographer Gairik Sarkar does a fantastic job of creating a grim ambience in the suffocating households, and brings out a sense of freedom in the streets and corners of city with his camerawork. The art director of the film, too, has done his work well.

The director had earlier claimed that songs have played an important role in the significant stages of his life. This feeling reflects in the film too.

Almost all the characters in the film are somehow related to each other in their agonies or are brought together by music. This ingenious ploy brings the plot of Aami Asbo Phirey to a full circle, indicating that life is all about moving on and living each moment. The rest is temporary and futile.

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