ANTAHEEN

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
It is for the thinking viewer.

Submitted: May 16, 2009

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Submitted: May 16, 2009

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It is said, Bengali is the sweetest language. And the only Bengali language words I know are “Babu Moshai” from Anand and “Ami Tomake Bhalo Bashi” from Khuddar. Although the history of Bengali cinema goes back to 1890s, it was not until 1919 the first movie Bilwamangal was produced.
 
Now there are two Bengali film industries – one in Kolkata (Tollywood) and the other in Dhaka (Dollywood). And both are producing good number of movies without matching commercial success. They do get critical acclaim but due to inadequate funds, they lack marketing and distribution power. For any movie to succeed, these props are essential.
 
Whenever we think of Bengali movies, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak immediately come to mind. The industry has made greater leap in story telling. On the basis of this itself it should be a formidable competitor to Bollywood. Alas, this is not so. It is not even closer. It simply lacks the tools of surviving in a competitive world. The content is there without an attractive packaging.
 
Still, the contribution of Bengali movies is immense. They are more artistically made and target the elite. They also do away with the song and dance fare that is the staple diet of our movies to attract the viewers. Although there is a vast Bengali speaking viewership, 30 – 50 movies are produced each year. Wish something was done about it.
 
This year some of the most critically acclaimed movies have been released. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury directed Antaheen was released on January 23. The film is about two hour duration and is meant for the thinking viewership.
 
Reviewing this movie serves two purposes. Of course, it is a review. Second, it matches my courtship with the Internet. I am so much glued to the web that one day my mom ended up saying, “At this rate you will soon be married to the Internet”. I replied, “I already am…in jeans”. Virtual reality is my life. Period. The ones, who know what I am talking about, would surely agree. It is any day better than useless talk and false relationships.
 
Antaheen is a tragic story sensitively told. We all wait for a perfect and lovely world. But is there anything like perfect or lovely. Our happiness lies within us. There are no standards for it. We should be content with what we have. Now don’t think I am getting philosophical. I am leading to the movie. If we don’t reconcile with our situation, our wait can be endless searching for a perfect “perfect”. You do know what I mean by now.
 
The story is set against the world of virtual reality (Internet). All lonely hearts take recourse to it. Dissatisfied with the physical world around him Abhik (Rahul Bose), an IPS officer, develops an online relationship with another web surfer Brinda (Radhika Bose), a TV journalist.  
 
They both begin to love their online interactions without knowing each other’s real names or faces. That doesn’t matter for they enjoy each other’s virtual companionship. Their virtual chat soon becomes their life’s only reality.
 
Brinda wants to interview Abhik but it does not materialise. The virtual lovers do meet in person but it ends up on a bitter note. They are still unaware of their real identities.
 
Abhik’s cousin is Ranjan (Kalyan Ray, Aparna Sen’s husband in real life), who is estranged from Paro (Aparna Sen). Ranjan is a stock market addict and Paro is a senior marketing executive with the TV channel. Both become a bridge between Abhik and Brinda.
 
Although Paro still wishes to renew her relations with Ranjan, fate has other things in store for both of them. For some people there is no second chance. They love, lose, be lonely and go on WAITING. Aparna Sen looks good with her new hair style.
 
Brinda gradually comes to realise that Abhik is her virtual friend. She invites him to meet her. But destiny has other plans for her. Does she ever meet her virtual friend? Or is it an “endless wait for love?” I am sure viewers’ eyes will moisten. Mine did. (Guess what! I am a stuppid romantic fool.)
 
The movie reminds the viewers of Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan starrer You’ve Got Mail (1998) or Sonali Bendre’s Dil Hi Dil Mein (2000).
 
Each character is alone. Each character is on a self-discovery trip. Each character longs for love but his/her longing ends in eternity. To be in love is painful. Even otherwise it is no pleasure. So, the choice is entirely yours. Pain is an eternal companion. In the end you start finding pleasure in pain.
 
Fine performances by Rahul Bose and Aparna Sen leaves the viewer moved. The surprise element of the movie is Sharmila Tagore in the role of Abhik’s aunt. Parmeet Sethi and Mita Vashist too are there in supporting roles. The cast and name of the movie gives the feel of a Hindi movie but there the similarity ends. Listen to the songs “Bhindesi Tara”, “Pherari Mon” and “Jao Pakhi”.
 
Cinematography is excellent. I was talking about marketing earlier. In this movie it is an overkill. A corporate house excessive in-movie promotion gets on the nerves.
 
After watching this movie, I have an ardent desire to learn Bengali. Before I change my mind, better apply fast. You gotta be a good teacher as I am not a good learner. If (at all) I end up learning Bengali, the credit rests entirely with me. (Talk about stupidities!)


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