Kolkata, 28 Jul 2018 12:00 IST
Happy Pill definitely spreads happiness and after leaving the theatre, one is sure to make efforts to lift oneself from superficial sadness.
Mainak Bhaumik’s Happy Pill leaves a smile on one's face, along with a trail of songs and background score that play an integral part in the cinematic composition of the film. The film heavily relies upon the consistent performances by most of the artistes. The cinematic structure takes a little while to blend in in the first half, but in the second half, it perfectly establishes all the elements of the storyline.
Happy Pill has an innocent story, yet it is filled with comic, tragic, romantic and thriller elements. The film begins with the inventor of Happy Pill, Siddhartha aka Happywalla (Ritwick Chakraborty), getting arrested by the police. In his cell, journalist Indrani (Sohini Sarkar) asks him to tell her the entire story behind making the pill for happiness.
Siddhartha is a brilliant medical student, who drops out of college owing to the financial crisis at home. Moreover, he is left with no option but to run his family business of a sweet shop to raise money for the treatment of his father, who is a cancer patient. After his father dies, Siddhartha is left with his depressed mother and sister Rini (Parno Mittra) who suffers from various inferiority complexes - who primarily hates her dark complexion.
Helpless and frustrated Siddhartha almost decides to end his life when he meets a girl who is radiating with happiness even though she has no material possessions. Later, in a drunken stupor, he confides in his dear friend Pocha Da (Mir Afsar Ali) that happiness is an inner treasure. The realisation pushes him to take a desperate step that eventually gives birth to a ‘revolution’ in his city.
What happens after Siddhartha, who always seems to have had an uncanny instinct for making medicines, creates Happy Pill? Does he cure everyone’s sorrow? Is Siddhartha a genius or a cheat?
The theme of exploring inner pleasure is a winning concept and gives the film a certain dignity. Director Bhaumik cleverly picks the most common and realistic reasons for sadness in people and shows how it is in our hands to fight them. He also wins several points for directing the audience towards the simple joys of life; for instance, talking over phone for the entire night with a loved one, doing regular exercises and being appreciated for being true to one’s own self.
In the first half of the film, while describing the grounds of sorrow in all the characters' lives, the film gets a bit melodramatic and high-pitched. However, in the second half, the storyline gains pace and concentrates on the twists unfolding in each of their lives, with the right amount of drama and exposition. The director truly deserves praise for relating the event of demonetisation with the futility of cash or monetary possessions itself during the climax. This enhances the message of the film that materialistic pleasures do not ensure happiness in any degree.
Though the director plays with a wide range of emotions, he approaches the film with a rather gentle and pleasant temperament, which is more pronounced in the second half of the film. Bhaumik mostly achieves success in not turning sequences of crisis into grim ones and retains freshness in romance. Meanwhile, Pocha Da’s funny presence and dialogues continue to infuse comic relief here and there in the plot.
Ritwick Chakraborty is the star of the film. It is almost impossible to imagine any other actor playing Siddhartha. His character reflects how much insight and care Bhaumik has invested in creating it. Chakraborty is understated in his sorrow, deeply philosophical and is conscious in not lending much ego to his character. He transfers much warmth to bring out the positivity in Siddhartha and is also a natural when he is shy in front of Indrani.
Parno Mitra deserves more roles like that of Rini. She is extremely natural in magnifying her insecurities and also enacts Rini's transformation in finding the true essence of happiness quite cleverly.
Mir Afsar Ali’s comic mannerisms are praiseworthy. Like many other films, here, too, he doesn’t fail to deliver hilarious expressions with his perfect timing.
Sohini Sarkar is equally natural like her co-stars. Soumyajit needs to polish his acting skills more. Indrasish Roy, in his brief performance, turns himself into the character, and Chandan Sen suits perfectly well in the character of Abani Beerwala, who talks in rhymes.
Aditya Kapur’s camera does a beautiful work in bringing the lanes of Kolkata and its emotions alive. Editor Rick Basu strikes the right chord in the second half of Happy Pill.
Both Savvy Gupta’s songs and background score play an important part in the film. Leaving a few sequences, where silence or absolutely minimal music could have done the job, Gupta has done an extra ordinary work in establishing a dreamy effect throughout the film. This syncs with the message of hope, optimism and positivity of the story well.
There has to be a few sudden transformations and fantastical unfolding in a story, where a pill suddenly makes the characters happy. However, Bhaumik’s intentions, love and care in making the film are enough to ignore those minor gaps. Happy Pill definitely spreads happiness and after leaving the theatre, one is sure to make efforts to lift oneself from superficial sadness.
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