Chapter based hyperlink stories are nothing new to bangla cinema. Each of these chapters dealing with broken relationships, urban loneliness, existential crisis, or racing for peace against time is also nothing new. In fact we have see many of themes repeating regularly in Anjan Dutt‘s earlier films as well. So when he decides to package all these in a hyperlink format as three separate story tracks, and then tries to connect them all together in the final chapter called Finally Bhalobasha, it all appears like a forced gimmicky effort.
Three stories play out in parallel each trying to define a different aspect of love – ranging from obsessive & manipulative between a couple & a third angle, to aspirational & carefree between an old man and a young girl, to empathetic & dramatic between a homosexual man and his caregiver nurse. Each of these stories is named after a disease – insomnia, arthritis and HIV positive, and they eventually converge into a chapter with love in its title, thereby possibly implying that love is the ultimate redemption of each of these situations. It is a smart wordplay, but unfortunately the screenplay does not play out as smartly, and remains very haphazard and on the surface. Even the ‘smart’ connects between the three stories can be seen from a distance and provides no highs in the overall narrative. Like many other films directed by Dutt in the last few years, the end result is a pretentious half cooked product with superficial characters that fail to establish any connect with you.
While the screenplay is weak, the performances do not do any justice to the film as well. Seeing someone as talented as Anirban Bhattacharya ham so terribly on screen is possibly one of the most heartbreaking moments of Bangla cinema this year. His partner in the story, Suprobhat Das remains extremely high pitch as well in most of the scenes. Raima Sen has lost all spark in her performances for some time now, and this film is no different. She remains strictly one note. Arindam Sil as her abusive husband, just like his directed films, only believes in more is less, and shows zero reflex in his performance. Arjun Chakraborty is better of the three in their story, but is drowned in the noise around him. Sauraseni Maitra almost cuts and pastes her interpretation of her character from her last film in Generation Aami, and the repetitive performance does no good to the film. The only person standing out in the whole cast is the director himself. Anjan Dutt proves yet again that he is a much better actor than a director and the layers that he can bring in even in a character we have seen him play earlier makes it the most impressive of the lot.
Neel Dutt‘s music in his father’s films always leaves a mark. We saw that in Aami Ashbo Phire last year, and we see that here too. Chhiley Bandhu and Kato Kato Mon are two reasons that Finally Bhalobasha may still be recalled fondly tomorrow along with Dutt’s performance. Otherwise, there is nothing much to celebrate here – because the film finally goes nowhere.
Finally Bhalobasha was watched post its digital release and is now playing on Amazon Prime and HoiChoi.
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