Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Laptop for forty rupees- A film-review

Is there a difference between a tele-film and big screen film? From my limited understanding of cinematic parlance , I’d think there is. At least from the perspective of a cinegoer, one would expect that thousands of shots and frames that go in the making of a film should have that ability of holding down the viewer to his/her seat. After all, a story is being told and the audience is captive unlike in a tele-film where the audience can not only switch channels but also walk out to attend chores and likes. Further there are infinite possibilities of telling the story through the use of cinematic medium , dramatization being the key possibility.

After watching new-age director Kaushik Ganguly’s Bengali film Laptop in a sparsely-filled up multiplex, my first reaction was that the director has not taken that leap of capability from a director of a tele film to that of a a big-cinema. This is the story of a stolen laptop that passes through multiple hands bringing jinx to every person who lays his hand on the machine. The promo of the movie gives a low-graded intellectual twist to the film by declaring that just as a laptop has memory so does this object too as it meanders its ways through hands of various owners. One is reminded of an old Bengali film , Harmonium , where the instrument bought from an auction house dramatically disturbs the quintessential middle class families of several households. So the plot is nothing new and instead of a laptop it could have been anything, a pen-drive or even a pen for that matter. But more importantly, the type of persons who hold this ubiquitous machine in its journey are rather atypical. An out-of-work software engineer, a visually challenged author (played well by the director himself), a typist & a divorced publisher. Not the type who an average cine-goer would be able to identify with ease as was the case in the old movie, Harmonium. More than two-thirds of the dialogues in the movie has no connection to the plot but is a labored attempt in sketching out the characters .If the characters were slightly more typical & easily identifiable , probably the script, written by the director himself, could have incorporated several dramatic twists and turns in the tale. And to add insult to injury , the blind author goes into a philosophical monologue in one part of the movie wherein he dwells on the inner eyes of a blind-man although what connection the monologue has to the movie, is undecipherable.

With such a poor script, the only way the movie could have been redeemed was to have handful of powerful actors to deliver it. Rahul Bose, as the divorced sperm-donating publisher, does a fairly good job. So does Ananya Chatterjee as the typist. As long as they are on the screen , the movie is bearable. Kaushik Ganguly is good but only in parts and he seems to have filled the screen literally what with his body-size and the precious minutes he hogs. Arindam Sil is always so full of himself that one tends to look away whenever he is on the screen. Rajesh Sharma makes a decent but fleeting appearance & exits after failing to keep promises of a larger share of plot. Churni Ganguly miserably fails in portraying a career-woman who has transformed herself into a caring & doting mother. Saswata Chatterjee has neither the mental sharpness nor the physical fitness that go into the making of a tea-planter settled in the lonely hills of Darjeeling.

Mayookh Bhaumik’s music is jarring as he tends to make irrelevant and excessive use of the organ from his “philharmonic orchestra” , which incidentally was touted as one of the USPs of the film. Specially that long irritating piece when the author furiously types away on his manual typewriter after the departure of his typist. Anirban Sengupta/Dipankar Chaki’s sound is promising .Whether it’s the sound of a passing train or songs from the radio, they are crystal clear and do not disturb the dialogues. Additionally the revolver-shot in the last scene sounded like a real one for once.

Finally, I spent one hundred and forty bucks for the movie but frankly speaking it deserved no more than forty.

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