The Devdasi system which was prevalent in the Indian society many years before has been banned now. The Devdasis were young girls married to the Gods. They were trained in music and dance and they enjoyed a high social status. However during the colonial times, their status declined as the power of the temples also declined. They started to get exploited sexually. Under the garb of religion, prostitution became rampant. This is what forms the basis of the recently released Bengali film Aranyer Itikotha.
The film starts with Aranyo who was missing for some time only to be discovered later by one of his friends who is a doctor by profession. However Aranyo has lost the power of speech and does not respond well to anyone. Another of his friend Tanmoy, a writer by profession comes across his diary. He finds out that Aranyo who was a journalist was given the assignment of tracking out a temple where the Devdasi system still prevailed. In the process, he had to go to the temple and earn the trust of the people in authority there. He also comes across some Devdasis who share their life story with him. What happens next? Is he able to unravel this truth in front of the whole world? Why does he become speech impaired suddenly? The film has the answer to all these vital questions.
Director Anagh Ranjan Pashi took up a very interesting topic to make his film. The use of the flashback technique to establish the story in the film is appealing. However, as a viewer who had gone to watch this film eager to know more about the Devdasis, I felt that the director could have delved deeper into the problems and lives of the Devdasis as those issues have just been touched upon.Infact, little bit of visual reference would have also done wonders for the viewers. We fail to empathize due to these shortcomings. Even the director in order to incorporate the love story of Aranyo and a Devdasi often misses the main issue of the film. Had the director paid more attention to the portrayal of the Devdasis and their sorry state, the film would have really made a mark with the audience. The Director seemed quite confused about what exactly did he want to show with this film as such a fantastic topic if given due prominence would have worked wonders just as Srijit Mukherji’s Jatishwar did as his sole focus was on Kobi Gaan. Aranyer Itikotha has in fact become more like the Priyanka Chopra starrer Mary Kom where the director in his eagerness to show too many things has not been able to satiate the audience’s curiosity about Mary Kom’s life.
Kaushik Chakraborty’s music is average and quite soothing for the ears.
Kaushik who plays the role of the journalist Aranyo is loud in many scenes. His dialogue delivery is also not adequate. As the Acharya in the temple, Dipankar Dey has not been used too well by the director. How I wish the veteran actor was would have been given enough screen time. Jinia as the Devdasi looks pretty and is quite good in the scenes.
Aranyer Itikotha is a film which will not make you cringe in your seats and neither will you stand up and whistle. This is just another film with a good intention but does not succeed much cinematically.
Sholoana Bangaliana Rating: 2/5
Aranyer Itikotha Bengali Film Review By:
Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.