Ayan Chakroborti makes his directorial debut with this film, which is as confusing as its title and the director’s mysterious pseudonym. Small wonder then that Shororipu is one of the most baffling and murky tales seen in Bengali cinema in recent times.
Shororipu refers to six vices – kam (lust), krodh (anger), lobh (greed), moha (obsession), mada (arrogance) and matsarya (envy) fleshed out in Indian scriptures. The story is credited to Charbak Pastafarian, which appears to be a pseudonym the director has assumed for himself because this name appears in parenthesis on his social network page. Both ‘Charbak’ and ‘Pastafarian’ have other significances but which need no elaboration here.
Shororipu, broken up into six parts to distinguish the six vices, features veteran Chiranjeet as Chandrakanta, the police detective at the helm of the investigation at the behest of his superior officer (Rajesh Sharma). Chandrakanta narrates, dissects and solves every murder over a glass of single malt with his beautiful secretary (Konineeca Banerjee) fluttering her eyelashes, widening her eyes, listening in and putting in questions that are surprise, surprise actually relevant. Chiranjeet is typically arrogant as the know-all detective while Rajesh Sharma is not at his best as the DCP in an ill-written character that has more confidence in his junior’s abilities than in his own.
The film begins with a drunk woman (Sudipta Chakraborty) running down a man in a yellow shirt and backing the car repeatedly to crush the man so much that he hardly can be recognized. When caught, she says she has no clue about what happened, whom she ran over and why. The television then announces the discovery of five other bodies in strange places, each one murdered with a different modus operandi – shot, stabbed, poisoned, the works. The victims are all connected to the first victim (Rajatava Dutta) who is a millionaire who believes in living out of luxurious hotels with his beautiful young wife (Sohana Saba) but keeps her occupied with rare diamonds as gifts as he goes around attending business meetings.
The other victims are – the millionaire’s wife, shot several times and dumped in the bath-tub of the hotel room, her clandestine lover (Indraneil Sengupta) another millionaire, who struts across in a very long scene wearing bright red underpants. The smooth-talking manager (Rudranil Ghosh) of the jewelry store, where the millionaire and his wife step in to buy a fancy diamond from South Africa, is killed along with his girlfriend (Sohini Sarkar) whose role is limited to an item number. Then, after a tiff with his girlfriend/keep (Sudipta Chakraborty), Indraneil drinks from a poisoned glass of wine or whisky and dies, thankfully, not in his red underpants but in a designer tee and trousers. The jewelry shop manager, meanwhile, is an excellent dancer who frequents discotheques where his girlfriend does item numbers and shakes a leg in shimmering clothes so when he does his ‘managing’ no one knows because he is also a blackmailer on the side. The debutant actress as the millionaire’s very young wife believes in being skimpily dressed while the drunk woman, who runs over the older man, is dressed up in a grunge like manner, decked up with studs and rings at strategic spots of her face. The run-over millionaire however, is always suited and booted perfectly. You could be forgiven for wondering why this review sounds like one of a fashion show and not a film. It’s simply because the only area the director has actually paid close attention to is the costume department even if the clothes are strange to say the least, perhaps to emphasize the weirdness of the film’s story, theme and structure. To make things even worse, the big twist, when it finally arrives, is worse than the tale itself, nullifying every conception of what a good mystery thriller is expected to be.
If you could not make much of the above script, neither could yours truly because the screenplay is targeted at more ‘intellectual’ people who understand why the entire investigation of six murders must happen in the clustered living room of a police detective. Yet, it has all the features of a commercial film so one cannot call it experimental either.
The worst feature of this film is that not for one second does one feel sympathy for the victims except perhaps for the item girl, who has no role at all, in this entire costume drama. The editing takes a bad beating at the hands of the wobbling-at-the-knees script. The music is loud and so is the sound design. The cinematography, supposed to be playing around with darkness and brightness to create a mood of mystery and sustain suspense, hardly does justice to the already poor script. The sex scenes are handled and enacted very awkwardly.
The most depressing feature of Shororipu is that the entire story unfolds in a social vacuum where the characters – six victims and one killer – do not have a relationship paradigm, do not live within a family structure and do not really ‘belong’ anywhere. Sadly, neither does the film.
Bengali, Thriller, Color