Urban Living Exposed in LIFE IN PARK STREET (2012): WBRi Bengali Movie Review

Shruti Banerjee - The Striking New Tollywood Kolkata Bangla Movie ActressKolkata July 21, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations): Bengali films delving into realistic, urban tales of human relationships has been, particularly of late, a favourite topic among Tollywood filmmakers. However, it is slightly ironical that, while there have been movies aplenty about realistic interactions among Bengalis (with many of these flicks being set in the backdrop of Kolkata), no film has (with the probable exception of Anjan Dutt’s Bow Barracks Forever) consciously attempted to focus on any of the popular spots in the city and tell a tale that revolved round the residents of only that area. Director Raj Mukherjee looks to address precisely this issue with his film, Life In Park Street. As is evident from its title itself, the movie looks into the everyday lives of a motley group of individuals based in Park Street, which is, arguably, the most elite section of Kolkata!

Life In Park Street acquaints us with the determined Radhika (Debashree Roy), who is divorced from her husband and lives with her daughter. The separation from her husband has, understandably, taken a significant emotional toll on Radhika and she admits that she could not take proper care of her daughter Disha played by Shruti Banerjee (picture from the film's premiere at left), who falls prey to acute drug-addiction problems.

Rajesh Sharma, who plays the husband of Debasree Roy in the film, is shown to have a live-in relationship with a much younger journalist. Radhika, on the other hand, takes dance classes and has an affair with her teacher, which comes as shocking news for Disha. Soumitro Chattopadhyay plays the role of an actor who has not done any films for the last 10 years and is looking for his love, Anne, whom he has not seen for a long time. Disha is very close to him and believes him to be a father-figure in her life.

Dron Mukherjee‘Life In Park Street’ is slightly held back by the somewhat uneven performances from the members of its cast. Debasree Roy, as Radhika, is as expected, marvelous in the film. She brings that rare sensitivity in her role that comes from her long and immensely distinguished movie career. The other actors in ‘Life In Park Street’ are, however, rather unremarkable (with the notable exception of Soumitro Chattopadhyay, who is as sincere as ever in his performance in the film). Shruti Banerjee, in her first foray into acting, does not quite manage to make an impression. Dron Mukherjee (right), who plays the role of Puson, a hotel management student from Burdwan who is under training in a hotel in Park Street, does not display any great acting prowess either. There are a few scenes in the movie where the young actor does put in a sincere performance, but his lack of screen presence makes sure that his role runs the risk of going relatively unnoticed in the movie. Shankar Chakraborty, in a somewhat sketchily written character, looks uninspired. Rajesh Sharma, however, does more than adequate justice to his role in Life In Park Street.

The film provides viewers with an intricate detail of different characters who live in Park Street, including gigolos, corporate big shots, their covert relationships and the everyday problems that each person must face as (s)he moves ahead in life. The post-interval phase of the film, in particular, looks distinctly stretched and editor Tapas Chakrabarty could certainly have done a better job. The climax of the film is however, well thought out and rather nicely executed, redeeming the movie somewhat.

The music of Life In Park Street is not the best either. The tunes composed by Deepak Chowdhury and Shubhayu gel well with the flow of the movie, but hardly have any universal appeal of their own. The spirit of Park Spirit, captured quite beautifully through the camera by Sandip Sen is nowhere properly reflected via the songs of the movie.

Raj Mukherjee showcases considerable directorial acumen and filmmaking style through his film. Mukherjee manages to display Park Street and its inhabitants in a way that is rarely explored in Bengali cinema. The inconsistent acts from most of the actors, a meandering second half, ordinary editing and a mundane musical score work against the film. Powerful performances by the more experienced cast members and a remarkable finale are quite enough in compensation. Life In Park Street will appeal to anyone who is in love with Kolkata and its areas of pride - Park Street definitely being one of them. Watch the trailer of Bengali movie Life In Park Street online.

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