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Review Bengali

Drishyantar review: Loose screenplay, redundant subplots ruin this film

Release Date: 24 Aug 2018 / Rated: U / 02hr 14min

Cinestaan Rating

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Roushni Sarkar

This thriller fails to keep the audience glued to its seats and ends in a whimper.

Rana Banerjee attempts to bring a lot of elements together to establish an ambitious storyline for his debut film Drishyantar but fails miserably.

Throughout the film, the expectation of a serious dramatic twist mounts; all you get in the end is an amateurish script with a loosely woven plot.

The first part of the film is extremely boring. Several characters and detailed subplots are introduced, but they play no further role in the course of the main plot.

Asit Ranjan Das (Debshankar Halder) is a theatre director who is unhappy with the poor appreciation he receives for his productions. He plans to cast Rupsa (Srabanti Chatterjee), a popular film star, in his upcoming play Abhilipsa for publicity.

To cast Rupsa, Asit Ranjan asks a local mahajan (moneylender) to produce the play. The mahajan, in turn, asks Asit to sell his land to him. The screen time devoted to this exchange hints at a conflict later. There is none.

As soon as Rupsa agrees to act in the play, Sanchita, an actress from Asit Ranjan's theatre group, becomes jealous and insecure. She instigates some of the other members of the group to turn against the star. An autorickshaw driver, meanwhile, swears vengeance against the director.

While returning from a rehearsal in a downpour, Rupsa meets with an accident. She begins to experience temporary blindness during moments of heightened anxiety.

Rupsa's husband Arghya (Vickey Deb) works in Dubai. The couple share an amicable bond. Arghya keeps travelling to Kolkata. He visits Rupsa after the accident. When he leaves, a young woman staying in the apartment above is found murdered.

Rupsa becomes anxious and comes face to face with a clue to the murder, but her momentary blankness prevents her from recalling any memory.

Does Rupsa get entangled in the murder case despite being innocent? Does she fall victim to the conspiracies in the theatre group? Who committed the murder?

The first part of the film stresses on Rupsa’s involvement with the theatre group. The way Asit Ranjan spends time and risks his belongings and luck for his production, it appears that theatre plays a major role in the film. Even the title Drishyantar, meaning 'change of scene', suggests that.

But after the murder, the plot itself undergoes a change of scene and retains hardly any link with theatre or with Asit Ranjan.

The first part is also filled with lengthy and redundant sequences of interactions among the various characters. The conversations between Rupsa and Arghya and between the star's manager and Asit Ranjan regarding her comfort during rehearsals add nothing to the plot but exhaust the audience. On occasions, both Asit Ranjan and Sanchita appear suspicious.

While it is understandable that the director wanted to confuse the audience, the problem is that he forgets to provide any explanation for those deliberately suspicious dialogues after the film's disappointing climax, leaving those threads hanging.

The sleuth (Indrani Halder) who investigates the case does not have any convincing input to solve it, apart from some mindless interrogation of a few people. In fact, she doesn’t make a single contribution to solving the mystery.

Also, it is weird that Rupsa becomes anxious twice on sensing trouble when she hears screams and then some noise in the apartment above, but she never enquires into it. Her emergence into the building's car park during a bout of momentary blindness, just for the sake of plot progression, is illogical.

The biggest letdown, however, is the climax, which should more aptly be called the anticlimax. The cause of the murder remains vague; so does the reason for the culprit carrying the murder weapon. Theatre and the scheming by the other artistes lose all significance.

If the film is bearable, it is only because of Srabanti Chatterjee’s dramatic and lively performance. Debshankar Halder is a natural, but he is hamstrung by the shallow dialogues and the flaws in the cinematic design of his part. Vickey Deb appears quite naïve and the director must shoulder the blame for that too. Indrani Halder’s presence does nothing for the film.

The slow screenplay and the lack of twists ensure the film is not worth watching. Drishyantar does not present any link between theatre and films, nor does it keep the audience glued to its seats.

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