Muktodhara (2012) WBRi Bangla Movie Review: Of Myth, Messiah Complex and the Dance of Purgation

Interview: Nigel Akkara

Kolkata, August 4, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) In the history of film making, there are several instances of adaptation from real life incidents to the screen. But very seldom are there incidents when the real life character gets to play the same role in reel life. This is precisely what Muktadhara does. The film by the same team of directors from Icche - Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy - has interpreted the life of Nigel Akkara, a significant part of which he has spent in the correctional facility of the Presidency Jail under the tutelage and mentor-ship of danseuse Alokananda Roy.

A Poster of Muktodhara (2012) Indian Tollywood Kolkata Bangla Movie
Outdoor Poster of Muktodhara (Bengali, 2012) at Music Launch

Muktodhara freely admits inspiration from the story of Ratnakara aka Valmiki - a bandit who purges himself by reciting the name of Lord Rama several thousand times as instructed by Narada and subsequently writes the epic Ramayana. The story as told by Rabindranath Tagore in his dance drama Valmiki Pratibha is particularly invoked by the makers of the film.

Muktodhara reinterprets not only the life of Nigel but the story of Valmiki from a new angle. It is a tale of the process where inner turbulence is brought to serenity through revelations and discipline of dance form. The dance form portrayed in the film has given way to self catharsis which in turn helped to purge the characters off their sins.

The predicament of protagonist Nigel in form of Yusuf Khan can be sensed in each of the frames captured in the film. He has probably been able to portray the experiences which he had faced during his 9 years of incarceration in Calcutta.

Actress Rituparna Sengupta has successfully taken up the roll of Niharika based on Alokananda Roy in real life whose series of dance workshops had helped several inmates get reformed in the process. Honing of several dance forms and different forms of martial arts has shaped the character of Rituparna to be the perfect dance tutor.

The story ensues when the character played by Rituparna decides to take dance theatre workshops with the inmates of the penitentiary. With the help of the convicts, she plans to recreate Rabindranath Tagore’s Valmiki Pratibha. From there on, the story takes the head strong journey on the path of purgation, with the character of Yusuf khan undergoing changes bit by bit in the process. There are subplots of deceit and treachery which lurk from the shady interiors of the penitentiary home where the training is taking place. A distinct essence can be sensed from the film with the gruesome jeopardy faced by the inmates. Actor Kharaj Mukherjee has aptly played the role of the corrupt constable and the head of the police union whose macabre act lets the audience know the inside story.

Theatre personalities Bratya Basu and Debshankar Halder have played their role in the most authentic way possible, in a spontaneous, realistic manner.

Surojit Chatterjee and Joy Sarkar are the two music directors of the film, with the former morphiong Tagore songs for modern ears. The seamless subtlety in editing has been presented by Malay Laha. Cinematography of Anil Singh has mixed the beauty and gruesomeness of the penitentiary in the most optimum level possible.

Muktodhara is an absolute journey from pain to salvation. Go for it!