Kolkata, 11 Aug 2018 12:29 IST
Crisscross, starring Nusrat Jahan, Priyanka Sarkar, Jaya Ahsan, Sohini Sarkar and Mimi Chakraborty, is interesting for the way it allows the characters to contribute to the essence of femininity in its entirety.
Birsa Dasgupta’s Crisscross traces womanhood through hardships, collective resistance, insecurities and friendships of five female characters. Through this film, Dasgupta has delivered a realistic depiction of how women can be both each other’s biggest support and enemies, depending on their individual intentions and circumstances. However, more than friendship, gestures of humanity — that rescues the five women from their respective crisis, turns out to be highlight in the content of the film.
In Crisscross, not all the characters strive towards the same goal. While suitable professions lift some from their predicaments, love lends meaning to the another’s successful career. Thus, Dasgupta has emphasized the importance of both personal and professional aspects in a woman’s life in the film.
Also, not all the men in the film oppress women or take advantage of them. There are drug addict husbands, manipulative casting directors, as well as well-wishing life partners and benevolent friends. Crisscross attempts to show that good and evil exist in both men and women.
The film revolves around the stories of five individual female characters — Meher (Nusrat Jahan), Suzy (Priyanka Sarkar), Ms Sen (Jaya Ahsan), Rupa (Sohini Sarkar) and Ira (Mimi Chakraborty), and also the important and the associated people in their lives. The plot, therefore, continuously shifts from one story to another, thus, not giving the audience a chance to get bored.
Meher is a struggling actress, who is not ready to compromise her honour for anything. She is in dire need of money to pay the pending rent of her house, inhabited by her mother and a crippled brother, within two days.
Ms Sen, the character with the most amounts of grey shades in the film, is apparently a rude and an arrogant woman. She is the owner of a company and a divorcee who is shown to be sending alimony to her husband for the upbringing of their daughter.
Suzy is a painter and single mother, who is also given an ultimatum of one day to pay the fees of her son’s school. She looks for job opportunities in several places, including in Ms Sen’s office, but to no avail.
Rupa, is a simple and subdued housewife, caught in a loveless marriage. Her conservative in-laws blame her for not having a child, without knowing that her husband is incapable of sexually satisfying her.
Ira, is a workaholic photo journalist and is in a live-relationship with her chef-at-home boyfriend Archie (Arjun Chakraborty). After a long period of their courtship, Ira and Archie’s parents decide to announce their engagement on a particular evening, within which Ira has to submit an important assignment that can confirm her promotion.
On the same day, a revelation regarding her ex-husband drives Ms Sen insane with rage. Suzy, who also gives painting lessons to Meher’s brother, informs the latter about the ultimatum. While Meher and Suzy desperately begin to look for employment, along with struggling to not turn into prey for men, who are always after their flesh; Rupa’s doctor discloses the reason behind her continuous coughing, turning her world upside down.
When Meher remains indomitable and compassionate, in spite of all the insult thrown at her; Rupa’s fate leads Ira in the right direction, clearing her clouds of confusion over her priorities. On the other hand, with a few twists Suzy and Ms Sen find their solution and solace in friendships and gestures of humanity.
Archie’s sister (Ridhima Ghosh) and cousin Ahan (Gaurab Chakraborty) also play important roles at the turning points in the characters’ lives and provide relief amidst entanglements and mess.
If one looks at the stories of each of the characters separately, one might find repetitions of the same incidents, especially in Meher’s and Ira’s lives. Especially, except for the disturbing past, Suzy doesn’t have a delineated journey in the film and neither does her character goes through much transformation.
On the other hand, Ms Sen’s journey is thoroughly interesting and is full of surprises. Rupa’s storyline, too, offers a slice of harsh reality through a compact plot progression.
In the film, Ira is given an assignment on the new age urban women of Kolkata to be completed in the day. Instead, Ira, on her quest to make the story, comes face to face with the women, who are the true heroes of their lives and discovers the hero in herself as well.
The storyline in itself is not thoroughly unpredictable and doesn’t contain many twists. The film is also not about women’s rights and their movements. Yet Meher, Suzy, Ira, Rupa and Ms Sen, manage to emerge victorious by not giving in and rising above their limitations. They manage to find out the true meaning of their existence, through extending helping hands, sharing someone else’s sorrow, accepting one’s own insecurities and living life to the fullest.
Nusrat Jahan surprises by coming out of her pretty avatar and bringing forth the firmness yet gentle facets of her character. Sohini Sarkar totally moulds herself into the timid and vulnerable housewife, who dreams of enjoying life to the fullest but is far away from it. Her nuanced, yet dramatic act pronounces both her craving for love and her abhorrence towards sexual contact.
Jaya Ahsan is in a never-before-seen avatar in this film. She becomes the "bitch" that everyone would like to hate and also reveals her secret humane feelings at the blink of an eye.
The character of a slightly tomboyish Ira perfectly suits Mimi Chakraborty. She delivers a natural performance while she enjoys being pampered, yet in her heart she knows that she might not have anyone at her side at the end of the day.
Priyanka Sarkar most of the times appears to be nothing more than a beautiful puppet as her character doesn’t offer much of a dramatic act on her part. She seems quite superficial throughout the film.
Both, Gairik Sarkar’s camerawork and Subho Pramanik’s editing go hand in hand in retaining the pace of the screenplay and a consistent intensity in the plot. Birsa Dasgupta has evidently felt the pulse of the script written by filmmaker Mainak Bhaumik, making the latter's vision a reality.
Pritam Chakraborty’s Jam 8 platform has added to the urban essence of the film manifold, with upbeat yet soulful songs along with an appropriate background score.
Crisscross is interesting for the way it manages to bring the characters to cross each other’s path and allows them to contribute to the essence of femininity in its entirety. Also, the varied elements that Birsa Dasgupta has put into the film, including love, friendship, self-respect, the importance of a professional career and humanity, doesn’t clutter the intended message of the film, rather making it significant.
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