WBRi Movie Review: Katakuti (2011) Bengali Film a Fresh Take on Crossroads Of Life

KATAKUTI (2011) Bengali Movie Poster

KATAKUTI (2011) Bengali Movie Poster

Calcutta, Dec 2, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) One of the trickiest tasks for any average cine-goer is to try to judge the quality of a movie by the kind of hype and buzz it generates prior to its theatrical release. We have seen extensively marketed movies fall well short of expectations, while several so-called ‘small’ movies have wowed the critics and the general audience alike. While standing at the ticket-queue for ‘Katakuti’, the latest offering from the stable of Mitali Films and watching the clamour for tickets for the big Bolly release of the week, ‘The Dirty Picture’, this reviewer wondered whether ‘Katakuti’ would be able to hold its own in the face of the rather strong competition at the ticket-counters. So, how was the actual movie? Well, it can safely be said that, ‘Katakuti’ is another addition to the series of smart, fresh and stylish movies that Tollywood has been churning out of late.

‘Katakuti’ delves deep into the complexity of human relationships, but, thankfully, stays away from the melodramatic excesses that most movies from this genre fall prey to (remember ‘Mon Amour-Shesher Kobita Revisited’?). The film narrates the story of a young and promising medical student, ‘Piklu’ and his childhood sweetheart, ‘Swati’. The two are deeply in love and ‘Piklu’ even contemplates marriage with ‘Swati’ pretty soon. The wedding plans, however, are forced to be put on the backburner by the lady in question, who is looking for stability and financial security in life – something ‘Piklu’, at that present moment, is unable to guarantee to her.

Enter ‘Jack’, the suave, stylish and distinctly well-off American engineer. ‘Swati’ is bowled over by the charm (and, of course, the pocket!) of ‘Jack’ and the duo decide to hitch up, much to the despair of ‘Piklu’, who fails to find any way to get the better of his rival in love. ‘Jack’ also uses his powerful contacts to prove that ‘Piklu’, a potential threat to the former’s marital bliss, has become mentally unhinged. Confined to an asylum and with no apparent way out, all seems lost for our protagonist. At such a point, ‘Sudeshna’, his doctor and psychiatrist comes to his aid, first proving that ‘Piklu’ is not mad at all and then, supporting his patient as he seeks redemption in life.

‘Katakuti’ has been expertly directed by first-timer Premangshu Roy and the man shows a deft touch at handling a complex subject-matter. All the main characters are sketched out in detail and the crisp and smart dialog add to the overall style of the film. The movie marks the celluloid return of the gifted, yet underused, Jaya Seal and she delivers a strong performance. The insecurities and dilemmas of ‘Swati’, who is torn between her one true love and a person who can promise her the stability she so craves for, is indeed praiseworthy. Shilajit is dependable as always, although his emoting skills could do with a little brush-up. Sreelekha Mitra (interview), another actress making a comeback of sorts to the big screen, is convincing. Manoj Mitra, in a small but significant role, is superb. Rupanjana Mitra (interview) and Kharaj Mukherjee (interview) are adequate in their roles.

Rahul, the leading man of ‘Katakuti’, delivers, arguably, the finest performance of his career in the film. His journey from a love-struck young student, to a frustrated and shattered man and the way he fights back to have a second go at life itself, is wonderfully portrayed onscreen. Rahul may not be one of the really ‘big heroes’ of the industry, but his performances pack quite a punch. The film moves on at a breezy pace and even when the narrative tends to drag a little in the second half, the performances by the lead actors keep the audience hooked. The climax is realistic and steers clear of dramatic extremities, a big plus for the movie.

Not all is right with the movie though. The musical score, for starters, is strictly average, and does not really go with the flow of the movie. While there is no doubting the voice quality of Nachiketa (who is also the music director of the movie) and Shubhomita, none of the songs stay with the audience once the movie is over. The lyrics, penned by Nachiketa himself, are routine for most of the songs and that hampers the performance of the singers too. The movie could have done with better editing too.

Katakuti boasts of sincere performances from its entire cast, a solid storyline, consistent screenplay and mature direction. The high production values of the movie also help the viewers gloss over the minor glitches and loopholes in the narrative. On the whole, ‘Katakuti’ is an honest and sincere effort that ticks most of the filmmaking boxes. The movie definitely has the legs to have a long run at the theatres.

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