May 20, 2011 by FSJ
Rating: 4* – Classic
Director: Rituparno Ghosh
Starring: Prosenjit Chatterjee, Jishuu Sengupta, Raima Sen, Riya Sen
Based on ‘Nauka Dubi’ by Rabindranath Tagore, Kashmakash which means dilemma, is a heartwarming and sensitive take on the Tagore tale, by the master himself, Rituparno Ghosh.
The plot: Romance brewing between Ramesh (Jishuu Sengupta) and Hemnalini (Raima Sen) meets an abrupt halt when Ramesh is urgently summoned by his father in the village for his marriage to a widow’s daughter, Susheela. Ramesh refuses, but seeing the plight of the widow, agrees and after getting married leaves on a boat with his bride, when a storm engulfs them on the way. After the storm dies down, Ramesh along with a young bride (Riya Sen) moves back to Kolkota.
Hem is ignorant of all these happenings, and although wistful is confident about Ramesh returning. As Ramesh starts upon a new life with Susheela, he gradually realises that she is not Susheela but Kamla whose husband is actually a doctor, Nalinaksha Chattopadhay (Prosenjit Chatterjee). Not wanting to devastate Kamla, he keeps her away from the truth instead advertising for the husband’s whereabouts and entrusting Kamla to the care of a boarding school.
Now that he knows Kamla is not his wife, Ramesh proposes to Hem and she accepts, when her admirer Akshay comes to know of Ramesh’s secret and brings proof positive to her. Ramesh, unable to handle such a scandal, hides in Gorakhpur with Kamala, while Hem seeks refuge in Kashi, where love blossoms between her and Nalinaksha. On the other hand Kamla comes across the advertisement by Ramesh and realises the false life she has been leading. Shattered, she determines to end her life by drowning herself but is rescued and is under Nalinaksha’s mother’s care.
Now that Kamla is in her husband’s house, will she reveal the truth to Nalinaksha or go back with Ramesh who has found her again?
The good: Since the film already boasts of a timeless story, the cast had a tough task on their hands and none of them disappoints. Be it the naive Riya Sen in all her innocence or Jishuu Sengupta torn between conflicts or Raima Sen as the smart, educated women or poetic Prosenjit Chatterjee, all of them work well. The screenplay is so subtle, it leaves you wanting more. Shreya Ghoshal works wonders with her voice giving the movie a wonderful audio front. The sensitivity of the script leaves little choice but to empathise with the characters, especially that of Ramesh and Kamla. The setup of the film is so effective, you actually feel a part of the goings-on.
The bad: Meant for a niche audience, the movie might not work well with the single screens and is mainly multiplex material. Leaning heavily on the artistic side, this film might just not go down well with the commercial audience which is used to over-the-top cinema.
Overall: A story so beautifully told, you feel you have been transported to the sheer magic of the Bengal of the 1920s. It is yet another example of Bengali cinema at its best with Rituparno in his element. A pat on the back for Subhash Ghai for financially backing this classic.
– Nikita Periwal