Aparajita Tumi

Movie Review: Aparajita Tumi” is the story of a man torn between two women. It’s a story of a woman coming to terms with the fact that the father of her two children can and does have fondness for another lady. It is the story of five lives, each fighting his/her own demons and trying to exist peacefully in a world that’s scarred by scabbed-over sensibilities.

The film, an adaptation of a Sunil Gangopadhyay story, deals with a wafer-thin plot surrounding the lives of two NRI couples – Pradip (Prosenjit), Kuhu (Padmapriya) and Ronojoy (Chandan Roy Sanyal), Ushashi (Kamalinee). As the friction between Kuhu and Ushashi increases, Pradip finds himself slowly dragged into the matrix of another relationship. The lives of Kuhu and Pradip vector into a different space where the latter’s sensitivity nurses the loneliness of the former’s cold marriage. Then comes the filmi twist in the tale, what with the news of Pradip’s malignancy rearing its ugly head.

Can crisis dissolve hatred enough to forgive a person? Can leftover emotions of attraction be erased because one has reconciled with his partner? Aniruddha answers a few questions and leaves behind the rest for the audience to figure out. What sets “Aparajita Tumi” apart is the treatment. The lyrical quality of Ranjan Palit’s lens, the sensitive dialogues of Shyamal Sengupta and a haunting sense of love in the times of loneliness that is partly reminiscent of Mira Nair’s “The Namesake”, saves the film from being a case of old wine in a new bottle. As one enters the life of a solitary woman (Padmapriya) walking down the shore while leafing through the pages of a book gifted during the second coming of her former partner (Yusuf), one ponders the meanings that unfold from her line: “Relationships are not about bonded labour.”

In terms of performances, Prosenjit comes up with a restrained and mature act. Combining an interesting blend of vulnerability, sensitivity and a person with a glad eye, he comes across as a character for whom life exists in spaces that are not defined by water-tight compartments of right and wrong. Then, there is Padmapriya. She internalizes her role and is all complete with her American accent and broken Bengali. Chandan is the dark horse, who surprises with his queer mix of cynicism, wit and world view (“lobhe e paap, paap e mukti”!). Kamalinee, as Chandan’s wife and Prosenjit’s love interest, has to precariously balance her act to retain the viewers’ empathy. Indraneil (both in terms of look and Bangal accent) comes across as a pleasant surprise as Yusuf. He keeps it very understated and yet makes sense while saying: “Shomoy er sathe sathe mone hoy odhikar gulo chole jaye”. While Soumitra Chatterjee’s guest appearance only adds a touch of nostalgia and curiosity value, Tanusree Shankar as Padmapriya’s mother is a good choice for the role.

If there is another hero in the film, it is Ranjan Palit. All credit goes to the master cinematographer who makes a modestly-budgeted Bengali movie look lyrical. There is loneliness written over the montage of images that tug at the heart even as composer Shantanu Moitra (with his team of Anindya Chattopadhyay, Chandril Bhattacharya, Neha Rungta, Shreya Ghoshal, Hansika Iyer, Monali Thakur, Suraj Jagan and Rupankar) musically articulate what is essentially “Bola baron”.

The film’s languid pace might work for some but for the restless others, it runs the risk of making it a boring film. But, the in-film branding is quite an eyesore and no matter how much the director argues about the need to recover money, they remain like irritating ink blots on the rich and aesthetic tapestry of Palit’s canvas.

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