Mandobasar Galpo is a psychological thriller where everything is shrouded in a thin veil of mystery, a veil that you just can see through but cannot clearly make out what is happening on the other side of the veil.
The film’s plot looks at Ahana Sen (Paoli Dam), a National Award-winning film director suffering from volatile phases of deep depression and melancholia, while Dr Sayantan Chowdhury (Parambrato Chatterejee), a psychiatrist and her close friend patiently tries to cure her.
The film moves at a rather slow pace which, with crisper and taut editing, could have heightened the moments of suspense the film had great potential to explore. The script should have been a bit tighter too, with a climax that needed to be more electrifying. The press conferences, in particular, within the film are treated very amateurishly. Fortunately, director Tathagata Banerjee has fleshed out his characters well and he has extracted some fine performances from his cast.
Paoli is, unfortunately, sandwiched between hard make-up on the one hand and a morose face on the other when she is not being rude and ill mannered. But she is spot on in portraying the various changes in moods that are required from her. Parambrato as the psychiatrist-friend is confident, concerned yet careful not to cross the patient-psychiatrist line of emotional attachment/detachment. As an actor, he has convincingly fleshed out a rather demanding character. Indrashish Ray as Rwik, the musician-turned-actor who suddenly fills the empty space of the hero in Ahana’s out-of-the-box film is good but should seriously consider losing some flesh off his baby face. Dipankar De, Dolly Basu and Biswajit Chakraborty fit into very small cameos while Koushik Sen as Ahana’s fiancé is a value-addition to the film.
Ashok Bhadra’s musical score in this film with four song tracks, all of them in the background, is impressive even if a bit too loud. The theme song adds to the intrigue while elaborating on the dilemma in Ahana’s life.
For all its drawbacks considering the less-than-average fare dished out in the theaters in West Bengal in the name of “meaningful Bengali cinema”, Mandobasar Galpo still deserves a pat on the back for its intentions. If only, its execution was as successful.
Bengali, Thriller, Drama, Color