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Kolkata, January 21, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations): The New Year has started well for the Bengali film industry. While Mainak Bhaumik's Bedroom (review) has managed to garner considerable critical and commercial acclaim, mainstream Bengali flicks like Khokababu (review) and, to a lesser extent, 100% Love (review) have opened big at the box-office. A certain celebrated Bengali sleuth is still luring the audience to watch Royal Bengal Rahasshya (review) in theaters as well.
Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury (of Anuranan and Antaheen fame) looks to prolong this golden phase for the Tollywood industry with his latest movie Aparajita Tumi. Produced under the banner of Rising Sun Films and distributed worldwide by Databazar Media of USA, the release of the film had been preceded by high levels of anticipation and excitement (after all, the audience expects nothing but the best from a multiple National Award-winning director!).
Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury (WBRi interview) duly obliges too, gifting the audience with what is by far the finest Bengali movie to be released this year yet. Aparajita Tumi is a must-watch!
Trailer: Aparajita Tumi (Bengali Feature Film)
The film relates the story of two urban couples and the complexities of human relationships that fate places in front of them as they move through life. First, there is Pradeep (Prosenjit) and Kuhu (Padmapriya), a bengali couple settled in the United States. With a couple of adorable kids and a nice, settled life, the marital journey of Pradeep and Kuhu apparently seems to be as smooth as they come. Destiny, however, has other plans.
The calm, untroubled worlds of Pradeep and Kuhu are turned upside down from the moment they accidentally come across Ushashie (Kamalinee) and Ronojoy (Chandan Roy Sanyal). Kuhu and Ushashie had been childhood friends, but somewhere down the line, there is a feeling of intense internal rivalry and envy between the two. Ushashie is childless – a factor which eats away at her morale and self-confidence. That, however, does not prevent Kuhu from passing snide, and often, rather insulting comments about the talents (or the lack of it!) of her friend. Pradeep and Ronojoy look on helplessly as the two women continuously exchange verbal blows. Ushashie, in particular, feels hard done by, for hers is a lonely, boring life, with her husband being too busy at work and having little time for her. Stung by the series of hurtful comments that Kuhu keeps on hurling at her at various times, Ushashie plans to take the ultimate revenge – she decides to seduce Pradeep and ruin Kuhus hitherto happily married life.
Things take another interesting turn when Yusuf (Indraneil Sengupta), an ex-flame of Kuhu from college, resurfaces in the life of the latter. Yusuf, too, has had a troubled marriage and is still as committed as ever towards his goal of wooing Kuhu back into his life. Kuhu, however, resists, leaving the crestfallen Yusuf with no choice but to go away from the life of her dream lady, this time for ever. In the meantime, Kuhu has also got the air of the affair that has been simmering for some time between her husband and Ushashie and that prompts her to pack her bags and walk out of her house (with her kids in tow). After a period of status quo, Pradeep is diagnosed with a potentially fatal malignant brain tumor that practically confines him on his deathbed. Kuhu and Ushashie, the two warring ex-friends, meet again after hearing this shocking news – the latter now separated from Ronojoy and Kuhu trying her best to make the remaining days of Pradeep as beautiful as possible. In a movie where none of the characters manage to attain the life they had craved for, a strange, if tragic, contentment descends upon them all.
Aparajita Tumi stands a class apart as far as individual performances are concerned. Each of the characters in the movie comes up with a strong, believable performance. Prosenjit as Pradeep is fantastic once again. The actor, who has been delivering a series of sensitive yet powerful performances over the last couple of years (think Autograph, Moner Manush, Baishe Srabon), is in his elements in this film too. Prosenjits acting is deliberately understated in this movie and the way in which he manages to express his emotions through his eyes is simply outstanding. The actor does not have too many dialogs in the movie, but his commanding screen presence and nuanced emoting skills definitely does the trick.
Padmapriya, as Kuhu, makes her debut in Bengali movies with Aparajita Tumi and pitches in with a solid performance. Her portrayal of a lady who witnesses her husband being taken away by another woman (that too, by one of her best friends!) and yet refuses to lie down is praiseworthy indeed. The dialog delivery of Padmapriya is a bit stilted though and has scope for improvement. The tactical acumen of the director comes to the fore here again, as he makes sure that the young actress gets to deliver a vast majority of her lines in English (given that she might be slightly ill at ease with too many Bengali lines). Her typically American accent does not sound fake either.
The character of Ushashie, played by Kamalinee, is perhaps the most interesting one in the movie. The actress is stunning in her portrayal of a lonely, frustrated woman who runs through an entire gamut of emotions – right from resentment and self-pity, to anger, vengeance and finally, an inner sense of guilt. Kamalinee is definitely the one to watch out for as far as new actresses on the Tollywood blocks are concerned. Chandan Roy Sanyal, as Ronojoy, the busy corporate executive with an inner feeling of emptiness, is first-rate. Tanushree Shankar and Kalyan Ray are excellent. Indraneil, as the Bangladeshi Yusuf does justice to his somewhat half-baked role. Soumitro Chattopadhyay, in a brief cameo as himself, brings back old memories.
Aparajita Tumi reaffirms the expertise of director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury behind the camera. Roy Chowdhurys manner of storytelling is smart, crisp and yet, sensitive and the director sure knows the pulse of the audience. The screenplay of the movie is almost lyrical and dreamy in its smoothness and the detail with which every character of the movie (with the probable exception of Yusuf) has been etched out is worth a special mention. Dialogs, penned by Shyamal Sengupta, are fantastic and add to the charm and believability of the main protagonists of the film. The movie captures the streets and indeed, the overall ambience of San Francisco quite beautifully too. Cinematographer Ranjan Palit definitely deserves a round of applause for his efforts.
Shantanu Moitra, the ace music director, delivers another winner in the form of Aparajita Tumi. Just like in his first two films, the songs of Aparajita Tumi are situational and blend perfectly well with the mood and setting of the film. Roopkothara, the theme track of the movie, has every potential of becoming as popular (or more!) as Jao Pakhi (from the directors previous flick, Antaheen). Bola Baron and Take Me Home have universal appeal too. The touching lyrics of the songs contribute immensely towards the overall musical score of the movie.
Aparajita Tumi is adapted from Sunil Gangopadhyays famous novel Dui Naari Haatey Torobaari. The film has certain deviations from the original story but, on the whole, stays true to the main plot of the novel. With a gripping storyline, bravura performances, stylish direction and a fantastic musical score, Aparajita Tumi is indeed a treat to watch for all cinegoers. No character in the movie is actually named Aparajita, but the indefatigable traits of each of the characters make the title absolutely apt for this film.
Unlike many other recent movies, Aparajita Tumi succeeds in its attempt to create celluloid magic. A true masterpiece indeed!