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Review Bengali

Ami O Manohar review: An experiment on trials of loneliness

Release Date: 13 Dec 2018 / 01hr 58min

Cinestaan Rating

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Suyog Zore

Shot on iPhone, this black and white feature, directed by Amitabha Chaterji, tells the story of three souls trapped by ennui.

Ami O Manohar (2018) by Amitabha Chaterji is a film about the lonely lives of three individuals. The protagonist (Monalisa Chatterjee) is a working woman, who lives with her elder sister (Senjuti Roy Mukherji). The only joy in her life is the few minutes she spends with Manohar (Shyamal Chakraborty), on her way back home from work. Manohar is an elderly guy due to retire in a few months.

The two talk on random topics and trivial stuff about their lives. Slowly, we realise that most of the personal information they share is a lie, and that they both lead very lonely lives. In a bid to hide their loneliness from each other, they pretend to be what they are not. Manohar pretends to be happily married, while the woman claims to have a boyfriend. 

Chatterjee and Chakraborty both do a fine job. The film does not require that they show too many emotions. Instead they express their sadness through silence. Both find a perfect balance for it. Mukherji does not get much screen time, but she is also impressive. 

The film is a compilation of single, long takes, where often nothing is happening on the screen. The camera captures the nothingness of their lives.

It is an experimental film in every sense. Director Chaterji uses metaphors and relies more on implications, than on directly stating what's going on in the minds of his characters through simple dialogues. 

But his over indulgence in certain scenes makes this an extremely slow and boring film. For instance, in one scene we see Manohar's boring routine. Shot as one long take, the scene is stretched too long, even after it conveys the desired message. We understand that the director wants to portray how lonely and boring his life is by making us feel it. However, beyond a point, it simply makes you look at your cell phone.  

The film was shot on an iPhone in black and white. The cinematography by Modhura Palit definitely deserves applause. As the film doesn't have too many camera movements, one might think it was pretty easy, but it is not that simple. Her use of light and shadow to create depth and contrast definitely deserves mention. And since the camera doesn't move at all, the correct framing was esential, and she has done a great job in this regard.

The director's over indulgence has made this film a painfully slow affair. He could have achieved the same impact with a shorter runtime. 

Ami O Manohar was screened at 18th edition of the Third Eye Asian Film Festival in Mumbai on 4 March 2020. 


Related topics

Third Eye Asian Film Festival

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