Kolkata, 29 Jun 2020 19:00 IST
Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Chandrasish Ray, the film sees Prosenjit Chatterjee shed his flamboyance for a mature performance of an introverted middle-class engineer, trying to build bridges with a wife battling depression.
First-time filmmaker Chandrasish Ray’s Nirontor (2020) is a poetic rendition of the rhythms of a humble life, brought out through narratives of regrets and realisations. Nirontor is a well written film that unfolds at a pace which is real, allowing its characters to grow slowly within the narrative as well as in the minds of the audience.
Apart from the restrained and convincing performances by all the artistes, the film also deserves credit for paying attention to details, which is necessary for stories told in a such an unhurried fashion. Nirontor also delves deep into the psychology of all the characters, subtly providing possible explanations for each action and decision taken by them. The film also comes with a twist when you least expect it, just like the way life surprises us.
Biplob (Prosenjit Chatterjee), a middle-aged civil engineer, goes to the hills with his young project assistant Bhaskar (Satyam Bhattacharya) to find a suitable location for a resort project. Biplob’s composed countenance suggests that he has seen a lot in life while Bhaskar is restless as he can't get a network connection on his phone. Initially, Biplob vents his frustration at Bhaskar for his behaviour, but the unavailability of a phone network eventually brings the two companions, so different in nature, closer.
While Biplob helps Bhaskar overcome his anxieties by listening to his story, the latter too listens to Biplob. In fact, he becomes the kind of listener Biplob has been yearning for. Unknowingly, both develop a silent yet mutual understanding of each other’s journey of life so far.
An entirely unpredictable occurrence suddenly changes Biplob’s course of life and the way he has been perceiving it. The director has beautifully incorporated his transformation in a narrative involving his wife (Ankita Majhi), who is battling severe depression. Biplob begins to invest more energy in reconstructing his relationship with his wife, while escaping a reality that he is scared to face. The fear of loss and unpredictability makes him vulnerable to the core and it is only towards the climax that he is forced to face reality.
The film depicts that life is nothing but that which we have woven together with strings of moments which can alter the course of an individual’s journey entirely. A few moments of conversation with a companion of a brief period can change life in the most unprecedented way. Or a tragic loss for one, can lead to reconciliation for others, often endowed with precious realisations.
The film also sensitively deals with depression and its impact on the patient as well as the caregiver. Nirontor is also perhaps one of the few films to organically incorporate Northeastern characters into the narrative of a Bengali middle-class community.
All the actors deliver performances in sync with the film's meditative pace. Prosenjit Chatterjee rids himself of his usual flamboyant mannerisms and gets into the skin of a middle-aged man who has more regrets from life than most. He dons a calm persona, exhibiting all the traits of an introvert or a man who has become an introvert with time. The shocks he experiences are not expressed in outbursts, but rather through self-exploration.
Satyam Bhattacharya's Bhaskar is a stark contrast to Biplob’s firm countenance. He is childish, yet curious and compassionate as well. To a certain extent, it also appears that Bhaskar’s innocent compassion infects Biplob, who has mostly resigned himself to a life balanced between mechanical adjustments and escapism.
Ankita Majhi too delivers a mature performance of a woman frustrated at the growing distance from her beloved partner, who yet manages to maintain an unpronounced connection with him.
Soumik Halder’s camerawork holds together the minute details of the film that fill the frames with silence, allowing the audience to have an immersive experience. These moments also help bring out the psychological state of each character. Halder has captured the winding paths to the serene hills with visuals which are very soothing to the eye.
Avijit Kundu’s music direction carries the essence of each location, creating a synchronisation with respect to the character's inner turmoil. The background score is soothing to the ears and establishes the pace of the film.
Nirontor is the perfect film for a leisurely watch. The messages conveyed through its mature screenplay are not at all pretentious. Rather the moments have been presented in a way so that sensitive viewers can easily relate to the character’s inner turmoil. The film also reinforces the idea that love and compassion are the two most crucial human attributes essential for healing anxiety and depression.
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