Flawed logic mars thriller Abaar Byomkesh Bakshi-Chitrachor

Byomkesh Bakshi,a literary character created long before Independence,has survived the ravages of time and place for...

Written by Shoma A. Chatterji | Published: April 13, 2012 5:05:31 pm

Flawed logic mars thriller

Direction: Anjan Dutt

Story: Saradindu Bandopadhyay

Music: Neel Dutta

Cast: Abir Chatterjee,Saswata Chatterjee,Biswajit Chakraborty,Chandan Sen,Koushik Sen,Swastika Mukherjee,Sudipa Basu

Byomkesh Bakshi,a literary character created long before Independence,has survived the ravages of time and place for the Bengali reader despite Western detectives like Hercule Poirot. Abaar Byomkesh Bakshi – Chitrachor is another celluloid transcription of a Byomkesh Bakshi classic scripted and directed by Anjan Dutt. Dutt has relocated the time to early 1960s and the place to Dooars,a thickly forested,picturesque place in North Bengal.

Byomkesh (Abir Chatterjee) is recuperating from a serious illness. His friend Ajit (Saswata Chatterjee) and wife Satyabati (Ushasie Chakraborty) are there too. A group photograph is stolen from the beautiful house of a local businessman (Biswajit Chakraborty). Byomkesh volunteers to solve the mystery because the negatives have also been stolen. The film opens with the sound of crashing glass of a window pane followed by stealthy footsteps moving with dimly-lit visuals of a silhouetted hand picking something up and moving away. Ajit’s voice-over steps in to give a brief background.

The imaginative sound design sustains its quality through the film. An ensemble of characters crop up centered on the rich businessman. There is a professor (Pijush Ganguly) whose bungalow Byomkesh has taken on rent and his maniacally suspicious wife (Sudipa Basu); the local doctor (Sujan Mukherjee) is in love with the businessman’s beautiful and talented daughter (Swastika Mukherjee),a widow. The district magistrate (Chandan Sen) hides his semi-blind state behind dark glasses and is rude,arrogant and ill-mannered. The smooth-talking bank manager (Koushik Sen) is a great fan of Byomkesh’s detective skills and Ajit’s writing. The occasional photographer (Arindol Bagchi) keeps busy running around the businessman. Sasanka (Debranjan Nag) is a poor alcoholic who has the rare talent of sketching people precisely from memory.

Byomkesh’s detecting skills are often intercut with his private life comprised of squabbles with wife Satyabati over fidelity in marriage. It is quite sweet till it becomes a bit too syrupy. Indraneel Mukherjee’s cinematography captures the picturesque landscape of the Dooars including the darkly lit interiors of the businessman’s bungalow. Abir Chatterjee is ideal as Byomkesh backed by a less talkative and more observant Ajit portrayed beautifully by Saswata Chatterjee. The rest are very good in well-fleshed out cameos. Neel Dutt’s music track including the Tagore song sustains the mood of suspense and is a high point of the film.

Abaar Byomkesh suffers from too many logical hiccups not justified in a thriller. None of the ladies wear warm clothes though we are told it is December and should be nearly freezing in Dooars,yet Satyabati is forever knitting something. The recuperating Byomkesh makes do with just a shawl thrown over a shoulder. The professor inexplicably sets out in the middle of the night into the forests. Byomkesh decides to follow up on the proposed appointment the young widow makes with her lover but forgets all about it later. The young widow walks into the deep forests wearing a frock that could not have been a part of the haute couture for young ladies in the early 1960s.

RATINGS : Abaar Byomkesh would have been more entertaining without these logical lapses. Even so,it deserves three stars for acting,music and cinematography. l

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