May 25, 2012 2:36:37 pm
Lyrical yet scathing
Producer : Dreamz Movies and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.
Director : Bappaditya Bandopadhyay
Writer : Rabindranath Tagore
Cast : Paoli Dam,Indraneil Sengupta,Rudranil Ghosh,Arunima Ghosh,Dipankar Dey,Barun Chanda and Kamalika Chanda
Elar Char Adhyay,based on a Tagore novel,captures the ideals of the Bengal Renaissance of the 1930s and 40s. A group of young revolutionaries,led by Indranath (Indraneel Sengupta) is fighting for Independence. Ela (Paoli Dam),the groups emancipated muse feels disturbed by her love for Atin (Vikram Chatterjee),who is drawn into the movement because he loves her deeply. His involvement slowly gets critical as he begins to questions Indranaths methodology that rules out love for a woman colleague. Indranaths punishments differ from person to person. Indranath does not mind Ela loving Atin but commands another young girl to get married while sending off her lover to a distant camp. Ela discovers that Atins commitment to the movement has overshadowed his love for her. For Atin,there is no turning point.
Bappaditya Bandopadhyay has adhered strictly to Tagores story and lived up to the challenge of bringing across a poetic,lyrical and romantic interpretation of a political novel. He includes Tagores multi-layered satire through the British-attired Indranath who rides expensive cars and smokes foreign cigars. Atin tells Ela about how the group killed an old village woman exploiting the trust of a colleague who belonged to the same village,counted the loot while the woman lay dead and enjoyed a lavish feast with the proceeds,all in the name of revolution. The film ends with Ela lying dead amidst the flames.
Bappaditya uses the flashback to open with Elas death and Indranaths voice-over and ends with the same scene. Gautam Basus art direction with the weathering of the mansion,Elas parents period home,her uncles British-influenced quarters,the party scene orchestrated just-so,the straw structure of the Durga idol carrying the resonance of past grandeur,the camera zeroing on it again and again,to the washermens colony that becomes Atins hideout with the dirty bed and the mosquito net askew are excellent.
Rana Dasguptas cinematography captures the rainwashed river ghats where Ela waits for Atin,the figure of Ela against the backdrop of an open window frame and Botu (Rudraneel Ghosh) caught in a top angle shot leading the police to Atins hideout. The tea-shop in one corner stacked with packing boxes infuse a lyrical quality to the film. Gaurav Chatterjees music reflects Tagores secular philosophy with three songs placed in keeping with the mood of a given sequence. There is an English song in the party scene while the fakir number suggests Elas mothers fundamentalist attitude in contrast to Elas progressive ideology. Indraneel appears stiff as Indranath. Rudraneel as Botu and Paoli as Ela are wonderful while Bikram as Atin is refreshing.
Elar … is a beautiful film. But till the interval,the dialogues are too complex and philosophical for a film where the visuals speed ahead before the dialogues can register. The scenes between Ela and Atin lack the sizzling erotic chemistry that is there in the original. The dance number of the school girls is redundant.
Elar …is a low-key,lyrical slow-paced romance that captures the period and the nature both as props for the characters and the incidents and as nature fluidly.
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