After a long time I was scared by the thought that Bengali cinema was losing its grip over intellectualism. Charulata 2011 was certainly a disappointment in every sense. It aroused strong feelings of rage and anger as I watched. Starting from the casts, to script, dialogues, music, and storyline everything was miserable. The movie proved Agnidev Chatterjee, the director, a juvenile persona with sheer lack of understanding of the film language.
Based on Tagore’s popular novella, Nostonir, Charulata 2011 seemed pretentious and immature with very shallow portrayal of relation between the characters. No logic would take you to a proper conclusion if you try to use your brain while watching the movie. The lacking sense would only lead you towards frustration.
I would dare not try to draw a comparison between Ray’s masterpiece and Charulata 2011. While Charulata and Amol’s relationship in Ray’s creation was sensitive and subtle arousing the human mind to drown in imagination, Chatterjee certainly killed all the essence of the characters making it seem so hollow. In one sentence, the modern day Charulata and Amol had nothing significant to offer.
Chaiti (played by Rituparna Sengupta) is married to Bikramjit (Arjun Chakraborty) an editor in chief of a leading media house. They are drifted apart due to lack of communication. Chaiti, in order to overcome her loneliness, lands on the popular social networking site, Facebook. This is where she meets Sanjoy (Dibyendu). They get hooked to each other which drives them towards a pathetic saga of sexual desire and lust.
Films that are based on relationships are driven by three main elements – screenplay, performance of the protagonists and treatment of the story. Neither of the factors was established here. Rituparna looked older with unnecessarily loud make-up like brown lips and blood red nail polish.
Charuulata 2011 marks Dibyendu’s debut in a lead role. But he is not to be seen in the first half of the film. He only arrives in the 2nd half to strum is guitar and deliver a few immature dialogues. Well, the best thing I thought about his character was his voice. But later read in a review that it was dubbed.
Not to mention Rii, Chaiti’s friend, Arnobi in the film, again did an unbearably painful job. Her exaggerated expressions, loud make-up, fake accent and hilariously superficial and ineffective dialogues would irritate and infuriate you. At one point of the film she says “unconfident”. Someone please try looking for a meaning to that word.
There are too many flaws, including plenty of continuity breaks, in the movie. The regular mails that Chaiti and Sanjoy exchanged before they meet, completely vanishes. Further, Chaiti, who is married to a very well off person, and Sanjoy, who resides in London, go on dates at some CCD. While sipping over coffee Chaiti plays footsie with him and gives him a clear signal of her sexual desires. Soon they end up in a lusty scene, Chaiti displaying her thunder thighs certainly looks scary. Later she breaks down and blames herself. The film at no point justifies this change of emotions. In one of the over the shoulder shot of Chaiti no locks of hair is seen on her shoulder. While in the same scene from a front shot, a lock of hair hangs on her shoulder.