Kolkata, 20 Aug 2021 19:30 IST
The unpredictability of the storyline keeps the audience hooked but makes them uneasy at the same time.
Atanu Ghosh’s recent film Binisutoy, starring Ritwick Chakraborty and Jaya Ahsan, offers much more than what you would expect after watching the ambiguous trailer. Employing a rather unhurried pace, the director piques the audience's curiosity regarding the lead characters’ mindscape and intentions, ensuring that viewers sit through the film until the characters' layers are entirely peeled away at the end.
Kajal Sarkar (Chakraborty) and Srabani Barua (Ahsan) get acquainted with each other while participating in a reality show that promises its winners Rs50 lakh. At the audition stage, Srabani digresses while answering the questions and gets into the character of a storyteller, expressing the desire to use the money to fulfil her daughter’s dreams. Kajal, on the other hand, seems quite prepared for the question-and-answer rounds.
After the audition, a series of events bring Kajal and Srabani together. While Kajal comes across as someone facing a genuine financial crisis, Srabani’s backstory seems incomplete and vague. But the director leaves room for the audience to stay amused by the inexplicable thread that keeps these two strangers connected by disclosing a little and holding back a lot at different junctures of the film.
There are moments in the film when one starts thinking that one has finally grasped the narrative arc and character graph, but the director immediately bamboozles the viewer by taking a detour into unexpected subplots involving Kajal and Srabani. Once you start watching Binisutoy, you will have to complete it to fully figure out what it is all about.
The non-linear development of the plot keeps the audience engaged in an uneasy cinematic experience that has occasional moments of satisfaction — emulating life itself, which is mostly a continuous struggle with compromises and choices, peppered with temporary moments of bliss that make the journey worthwhile.
However, these subplots try the patience of the audience as at some points the director seems to have digressed too much in an effort to replicate Kajal and Srabani’s journeys through life.
Both Chakraborty and Ahsan excel in naturalistically embodying the underlying monotony of life amidst achievements, failure, gains and losses. At the same time, both of them, highlight the flipside too, with their subtle yet poignant expression of a passionate attachment to life.
Appu Prabhakar’s camerawork does justice to the director’s intention of throwing the audience into a mundane space, from which, much like the characters themselves, they must escape. The production design and colour scheme add a gentle touch to the endeavour.
Debojyoti Mishra’s compositions, rendered by Rupankar Bagchi and Iman Chakraborty without the accompaniment of many instruments, fill up a lingering sense of void throughout the film. Ahsan’s performance of a Tagore song in her own voice at a crucial stage of the film is on point too.
It would be safe to say that the film revolves around the idea of how stories make life meaningful. From the beginning of the film, the recurring motif of storytelling gradually connects the characters and the seemingly random subplots as well.
Binisutoy demands patience but the payoff is satisfactory.
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