Swastik Sanket review: Weak storyline undermines this not-so-thrilling thriller

Release Date: 21 Jan 2022 / 02hr 15min

Cinestaan Rating

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Roushni Sarkar

Despite its noble intentions, Sayantan Ghosal's film, which has references to Nazi Germany and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, makes for a dull watch.

The latest film by Sayantan Ghosal, a capable director of treasure hunt films, revolves around a cryptographer who searches for clues and decodes cyphers in a bid to foil a bio-terror plot.

The Third Reich and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who famously sought to free India from British rule by forming an alliance with the Axis powers during World War II, feature prominently in the film, which sees Neo-Nazis plotting to eliminate Europe's immigrants with the help of a bioweapon that was commissioned by Hitler decades ago.

Cryptographer Rudrani (Nusrat Jahan) is felicitated in London where her landmark book on decryption is launched. She intends to relax with her husband Priyam (Gaurav Chakrabarty), who works for a multinational company in the UK, but her plans are dashed by a certain Sigmund Schumacher (Shataf Figar). He seeks her expertise to ostensibly find a way to prevent cancer.

After Rudrani solves Schumacher's problem, immigrants in London begin to fall prey to an unknown virus. Eventually, Rudrani realizes that she has unwittingly unleashed an epidemic. She then vows to find an antidote at any cost.

Rudrani’s extensive historical research and extraordinary ability to read signs lead her to Subhash Chatterjee (Rudranil Ghosh), the son of scientist and engineer Satyen Chatterjee (also Rudranil Ghosh), who once worked closely with the Indian National Army aka the Azad Hind Fauj. Eventually, Rudrani, Priyam and Subhash uncover an interesting link between Netaji's actions and Satyen’s efforts to leave behind important clues.

The plot structure makes it apparent that Ghosal genuinely wanted to remind the audience about Netaji’s invaluable yet forgotten contributions to the Indian freedom struggle. The empathy for immigrants and unequivocal condemnation of white supremacy is admirable. However, the film keeps repeating the same historical references over the course of its lengthy running time, making the viewing experience exhausting.

Also, the trio hardly faces any opposition from the conspirators, who also require Rudrani’s assistance to save themselves from the epidemic. The lack of thrilling sequences and smooth progression of the heroes' mission make for a dull watch.

Saswata Chatterjee does justice to the role of Subhas Chandra Bose with his dignified and restrained performance. Ghosh is also great as a devoted scientist.

Jahan’s character is an extremely sharp and alert woman, but it seems that she is glorified at the cost of her husband, who is buffoonish and has no outstanding quality apart from being extremely memorious. Though Jahan delivers an average performance, Chakrabarty slips into the skin of the callous character, providing occasional comic relief. Figar does his best as the opportunistic antagonist Sigmund Schumacher .

Tuban’s cinematography fails to inspire awe or excitement, particularly where Rudrani is searching for clues. Editor Subhajit Singha could have saved the narrative from getting repetitive.

Music director Raja Narayan Deb tries his best to make up for the screenplay's lack of thrilling elements and the song 'Ki Khobor' by Savvy Gupta has a soothing effect.

Although made with noble intentions, the film lacks a strong storyline. The only engaging parts of the film are the historical bits and the fictionalized narrative built around them.