Bari Tar Bangla, a film by Rangan Chakraborty takes a dig at the current cultural displacement of the Bengalis and the commercialization of the Bangla language. It raises the most pertinent question of what makes a true Bengali? Only being born as a Bengali or something more than that?
Rupchand Sen (Saswata Chatterjee), in his 40s, visits a psychiatrist Abanti (Raima Sen) with the complaint that he is suddenly unable to write in Bangla. Abanti during her treatment, asks Rupchand to recount his past to her and through his narration we come to know that Rupchand is born is a middle class Bengali family. His mother is obsessed with his becoming famous and successful. She at first, much to the dislike of her husband, admits Rupchand to an English medium school, with the aspiration of sending her son to the U.S. But one day when the son abuses her in English, she takes him out of the English medium school and admits him in a Bengali medium school and starts tutoring him in the Bangla language. Rupchand, who from birth, is a proficient poet , starts his career as a copywriter in an ad agency. After a successful career as the same by using distortion and commercialization of the aesthetics of Bangla, one day the ad agency shuts down and Rupchand finds himself jobless. But soon his father’s political party hires him as their campaign writer. There too he is successful. After that party goes out of power, Rupchand starts writing for the rival party. But after being thrown out of the rival party, he suddenly stops writing. How Abanti treats him and if or not he regains his ability to write is for the audiences to find out by watching the film.
The film, a satire, tries to raise apt questions about the commercialization of one’s mother tongue, Bangla in this case. It jibes at the diluting of one’s cultural heritage and language in the present era of materialistic aspirations. The script refers to Bangla language stalwarts like Tagore, Sukumar Ray and many others and portrays how their beloved language and their lines are now being diluted ad commercialized. Rupchand is portrayed as the modern day Bengali, who makes his rich cultural heritage and language merely a tool of commercial gains. The thought is profound. The theme pertinent to the age. But where the film fails is clearly the way in which such a serious socio-cultural question has been portrayed. The form being satire, the overt comic element tends to override and overshadow the seriousness of the subject matter. Also, the socio-political scenario of the state has been portrayed in a very simplistic manner, whereas one would have expected a little more in-depth portrayal of the same. From time to time, satire has been used by many film makers as a tool of raising pertinent socio-political questions and one among such filmmakers was undoubtedly Charlie Chaplin. But Rangan Chakraborty is no Charlie Chaplin, not even a Raju Hirani who had raised such serious questions through his brilliant comic films like 3 Idiots and Lage Raho Munna Bhai. Thus, for Rangan Chakaborty, the form he has chosen becomes his biggest hindrance.
Saswata Chatterjee as Rupchand dons various looks, even that of a four month old baby. His various looks add gimmick to the film but his acting is nothing spectacular. Though the script allows room for some brilliant performance, Saswata fails to avail the opportunity. Raima Sen, with her accented Bengali, passes off ok as the foreign returned psychiatrist. But her performance too remains in the realm of average. Sumit Samaddar (Photik) on the other hand does justice to his character. Tulika Basu as Rupchand’s mother is convincing. Amidst the plethora of average performances, one actor worth mentioning here is Shantilal Mukherjee (Rupchand’s father). His subtle underacting does perfect justice to the character of a middle class leftist.
The script is loose. The going back and forth in flashbacks are not weaved smoothly and hence the narrative is a jarring one. The biggest jarring factor of the film remains its ending which is terribly abrupt. The cinematography is as ordinary as it could be. Music too, by Debojyoti Misra, doesn’t help to compensate for the other not-so-good departments. In fact, the use of songs in the film is abrupt, unjustified and jars with the already loose script. It becomes obvious to the audience that the songs have been used just for the sake of having some songs in the film. And
Overall, Bari Tar Bangla, with a strong theme and serious subject matter that raised our expectations, fails to meet them. One can safely conclude that it is a film of mere gimmicks and is much mediocre.
Baari Tar Bangla Trailer (You Tube)
Bari Tar Bangla (2014) Movie Review By:
Ms. Nivedita Dey is a Post Graduate in English from Stella Maris College, Chennai and has been working in the films and television industry since 2006 as a story and script writer and creative consultant. Nivedita has written for TV programs for channels like Star Jalsha, Life OK, Star Plus, Channel 8 etc. Nivedita has spent quite a few years in Mumbai working in the entertainment Industry there and is currently based in Kolkata and is working as a writer and creative consultant for Kolkata’s leading Production House.
Nivedita has keen interest in literature, cinema, social and political issues and enjoys expressing her views by way of guest blogs and articles in popular columns and web portals.
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