Banner: Reliance Entertainment and DAG Creative Media
Story, screenplay, direction: Srijit Mukherjee
Music: Anupam Roy
Cast: Parambrata Chatterjee, Aparna Sen, Gautam Ghosh, Kaushik Ganguly, Chiranjeet Chakraborty, Payel, Rahul, Indrashish, Konineeca, Debolina, Arpita Chatterjee, Sujan Mukherjee and others
By Shoma A. Chatterji
Four film-makers, most of them apparently down on assignments, are commissioned to make a half-hour short film each based on their own plots and themes. The producer, who they have never heard of, places two conditions; one, that the directors must personally visit him at his bungalow on the outskirts of Kolkata and that their films must deal with death in any way they deem fit. The precursor to the journey and the journey itself is the main narrative of the film with the four films they are going to make being projected as sub-plots with many characters in short films-within-films.
Chotushkone winds its way between the past and the present, among the narrow bylanes and streets of the film industry through the journey of four directors portrayed by directors in real life – Goutam Ghose, Aparna Sen, Chiranjeet Chakraborty and Parambrata Chatterjee. The mysterious ‘producer’ is also a director in real life – Koushik Ganguly who makes a cameo appearance in the beginning and in the climax.
The film opens on a thrilling note of intrigue depicting the suicide of a woman, shot in B &W as her frustrated husband – partly visible, and a small boy stand shocked in front of victim. Who is this woman? Why did she kill herself? Who is the small boy? How is this linked to the main story? It comes out in a rather dragging climax which does not match the electric pace of the rest of the film. Of the four tracks, the one depicting Chiranjeet is the weakest though it is memorable for the actor’s great performance; perhaps career-best. The Goutam Ghose episode with characters accusing him of not doing justice to them reminds one of a Mrinal Sen telefilm Tasveer Apni Apni (1984) where the protagonist pops out of an author’s novel accusing him of creating a tragic fate for his own character. However, these fictitious characters step into the real climax of the main film which does not spell logic as they just do not exist. So, does this imply that the film can be read as the imagination of the protagonist (Parambrata Chatterjee) running wild where nothing is real at all?
The Aparna Sen track is very interesting but ends rather suddenly. This is Parambrata’s best performance to date as he opens out each layer of his character like one peels the skins off an onion. The others fit the bill. Anupam Roy’s music is low-key, melodious and mood-centric but sounds a bit loud at places. Sudeep Chatterjee’s cinematography needs no introduction or special tribute as he is always brilliant and this film is no exception.
Chotushkone spans several genres but can best be described as the thriller wrapping up several genres of a thriller. Given a few confusing endings within the film and some needless red herrings such as the female director’s married life, Chotushkone is Srijit’s most mature film till date. The long-drawn climax reminds one of a heavily tweaked version of Agatha Christie’s And There Were None.