Kolkata, 17 Mar 2021 19:29 IST
The endless transitions between the drama's multiple subplots make it an exhausting watch.
Reshmi Mitra’s recent film Shlilatahanir Pore seeks to depict the predicament victims face after sexual abuse. The film stars the late Soumitra Chatterjee, Abhishek Chatterjee, Sreela Majumdar, Devlina Kumar, Rahul Banerjee, Rayati Bhattacheryee, Ishaan Mazumdar and Moubani Sorcar.
Shlilatahanir Pore also attempts to show how political parties and media houses often capitalise on such incidents.
While the dynamics of politics and exploitation are apparent throughout the film, the characters' complicated relationships often create confusion. The film also fails to properly delineate the journey of the victim and the other characters, and Mitra ends up presenting a jumble of ideas.
Singer and songwriter Sanglap (Banerjee) and his friends Ricky (Kumar), her sister Meenakshi (Bhattacheryee) and Bratin (Mazumdar) perform music in a band. Ricky and Meenakshi have a thing for Sanglap, whose wife, Subhechha (Sorcar), is worried about the attention her husband is paying his female bandmates.
It is difficult to understand what Meenakshi’s husband Bratin thinks about his wife’s equation with Sanglap but he is friendly towards everyone.
Mandira Roy (Majumdar) is an aspiring leader, who takes a strong stand under party head Amulya Sanyal’s (Soumitra) guidance when a female labourer is raped by her boss in Purulia. Mandira’s husband Bijon (Abhishek) is a high-flying corporate honcho and is known for his promiscuous nature.
A sub-plot where Ricky is exploited by Bijon on an office trip starts off problematically as the former, despite knowing about the latter's tendencies, decides to accompany him. Also, for some reason Meenakshi, Bratin, Sanglap and Subhechha accompany them.
During the trip, Bijon seems to be constantly looking for a chance to indulge his appetites while Subhechha’s insecurities create a rift between the companions.
Meenakshi comes across as an entirely flawed character because her desperation for attention from both Sanglap and Bijoy is inexplicable until the end. She continues to be secretly cordial with the latter without having any ulterior motive after he abuses Ricky, and suddenly, at the end, when Ricky when gets justice, she sides with her as well.
Apart from Mandira, none of the other characters’ arcs seems to make sense. Mandira turns into the pawn of her political party when they get wind of her husband’s misdeeds and, for some time, she is faced with the dilemma of supporting her husband or standing up for the abused. However, she abandons her political aspirations and turns into a full-fledged social activist and humanitarian.
After the abuse, Ricky faces humiliation from the police, and her friends and sister desert her. However, her account comes to dominate the headlines. She receives support from her love interest Rajkumar (Subham), who is known to be an honest journalist, but eventually, his actions also get confusing and Ricky loses trust in him as well.
Among her friends, only Sanglap seems to get the seriousness of the situation. But this is because of his own bitter political experiences and not due to empathy. The sudden transformation of a male character who plays a crucial role in getting the perpetrator punished undermines all the efforts made by Ricky and Subhechha to get justice by themselves.
Majumdar delivers a genuinely strong performance by infusing it with compassion. Soumitra poignantly brings out the subtle shrewdness of his character with his facial expressions and thoughtful dialogue delivery. Abhishek, who plays an individual with no integrity, does a good job as well. Kumar also tries to put her best foot forward despite the poor script.
Badal Sarkar’s camerawork is quite outdated and undermines the cinematic quality of the film.
At the end of the film, a male character turns into a saviour and the women continue to remain victims of exploitation. Shlilatahanir Pore makes the case that it is virtually impossible for a political leader to do the right thing. Also, the endless transitions between all the subplots make the film an exhausting watch.
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