Arshinagar: Caution! Fragile elements in abundance…

Posted by Kaahon Desk On December 20, 2015

Very soon a day will come when the English language vocabulary will fall short, describing the facets of Bengali Cinema. With the kind of visual and aural assault that goes in the name of ‘celebrated’ Bengali Cinema, there is a fair chance that the supplies of synonyms for ‘uninspired’ or ‘redundant’ or ‘superficial’ might just as well run dry.

The trailer in question is of Aparna Sen’s musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, titled Arshinagar. One of the first thing that comes to attention is the fact that it has hardly any resemblance to the style found in the director’s earlier achievements including 36 Chowrinhgee Lane, Sati, Parama and Paromitar Ekdin to name a few. Unless the trailer is completely misleading, the film is apparently just another product out of the pseudo-assembly line of the leading production house in Bengal. Besides Dev being cast as the lead, every image in the trailer including wide angle shots of barren landscape, shifting camera movements among crowd, burning architecture in the night, action sequences shot in low angles, the romantic pair swirling around in a top angle shot and of course the abundance of TV like mid shots in the interior scenes, is like a glaring exercise in redundancy. From the trailer, one can have serious doubts about the film offering even a single frame of any element that one hasn’t encountered in the run-of-the-mill Bengali film in the last 7 or 8 years!

As for the content of the film, what can one expect other than a directorial vision, especially when the original text in question is more than 400 years old? Even on that front, the trailer seems like an ill-planned version of the more exciting 2012 film Ishaqzaade. Of course, in the Bengali film the legendary Lalon Fakir provides the soundtrack instead of Amit Trivedi which will satisfy the cultural palette of the Bengali middle class on a weekend. If there is one thing this trailer achieves successfully is to confirm, almost like a scientific experiment, the director’s status as the proverbial dead horse.

Arup Ratan Samajdar


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