Shobdo (Sound) Bangla Movie Review: Unique Narrative Style, Surreal Scenes and Symbolism in World-Class Indian Film

By Jyoti Prakash Mandal / WBRINN
jpmandal@washingtonbanglaradio.com

Shobdo Indian Kolkata Bangla Movie Poster WallpaperKolkata, April 30, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio): Artists have a tendency to get lost in their own worlds of creation which makes them less attendant to regular matters that often are important to general people. Kaushik Ganguly’s world-class directorial venture ‘Shobdo’ tells a spellbinding story about how a Foley artist gradually gets engulfed by his own world of Foley sounds and starts ignoring human voices.

Almost every movie requires background music for achieving creative fulfillment. Tarak Ghosh (Ritwick Chakrabarty) is a passionate and one of the better foley artists in the industry who cares very little about anything outside of his work, which is to create different background sounds for movies. He recreates various ambient sounds in the recording studio using different materials. His mind is always busy on capturing those sounds which happen around us every now and then, like scattered glass shreds swept with a broom, pigeons taking flight or the clicks of a Rubik's Cube. He tries innovative ways to recreate all those sounds in the recording studio. Flapping bunches of dry leaves to produce pigeons’ flight or rubbing a spoon over a comb to bring out that clicking sound of a Rubik's Cube are ways that Tarak devices to make the recording of those sounds possible. But in course of all these, Tarak’s mind begins to ignore registering of human voices as his mind always remains preoccupied with ambient sounds.


Sound coincides with the event in a rather unexpected way: through a Bengali Foley artist, whose life is upside-down. His profession, which forces - and seduces - him to imitate sounds during the post-production of films, has led him to connect with the world on the acoustic string - mainly, only. He hears differently from "normal" people, which estranges him not only from his wife, but also from society. Whereas this leads to dramatic events and a desire to treat him to get back to "normal"; in the end, those close to him, discover a peculiar strength in this obsession. One may look at this film as a declaration of love for all those working in film, and their desire to maintain it, despite a rapidly changing world around them.

Soon the symptoms worry his wife Ratna (Raima Sen). Ratna takes Tarak to a psychiatrist (Churni Ganguly) who tries to make Tarak understand that the problem can turn severe if he does not co-operate.

But Tarak denies he has a mental illness. He thinks any mental illness is equivalent to madness and he does not want to be tagged with that term. As the lady psychiatrist’s every measure fails to convince Tarak she hands over the case to her senior (Victor Banerjee).

Meanwhile Tarak gets suspended from work due to his uncontrolled temperament. Dibyendu (Srijit Mukherjee) is the sound recordist of the studio and shares a close bond with Tarak and remains beside him in his difficult days. But Tarak’s condition keeps worsening and one day he attempts suicide. What happens next forms the rest of the story.

Ritwick is developing very fast as an actor. Ritwick’s performance in the film is one of the best in recent times. Raima Sen as the soft spoken typical Bengali housewife is perfect. Churni Ganguly has once again proven her class with her performance. Victor Banerjee nad Srijit Mukherje are more than adequate in their respective roles.

The high point of this rare film is definitely the narrative style. A number of surreal and symbolic sequences take the film to a different level. The scene where Tarak dreams of his foley studio and his instrument lying scattered on a beach and waves splashing on them makes one speechless. Full credit to the director.

Sound is the soul of the film which has been tailored impressively by Anirban Sengupta and Dipankar Chaki. Mainak Bhaumick has repeated his feat of excellence in editing which makes sure that there is not a single dull moment in the film.

‘Shobdo’ is a memorable trip to the world of known sounds in a way not known before.

Release: December 10, 2012
Director: Kaushik Ganguly
Writer: Kaushik Ganguly
Cast: Churni Ganguly, Kaushik Ganguly, Raima Sen, Ritwik Chakraborty, Srijit Mukherje, Victor Banerjee