Samantaral!

So, what exactly works for successful Bengali movies nowadays? Quite frankly, it’s hard to say. However, one thing which you will find familiar in the new generation Bengali movies is a story that is socially relevant or a heart-warming one. Recently, we found ourselves dwelling on the storyline of ‘Samantaral’, the newly released Bengali movie.

‘Samantaral’ has just hit the cinema halls and has an interesting cast and crew. The lead actors are some of the big names in the Tollywood industry, and thus it needs no special mentioning that it definitely will draw in crowds for some coming days. The movie is helmed by Director Partha Chakraborty and belongs to the psychological drama genre with a dark cloud of suspense hanging over it.

‘Samantaral’ stars the veteran Soumitra Chatterjee, the talented Parambrata Chatterjee, the bubbly Aparajita Adhya and the beautiful Tanusree Chakraborty. It is well supported by the young guns of Tollywood, the sweet pair of Riddhi Sen and Surangana Bandyopadhyay. The other cast members include the skilled artists Kushal Chakraborty and Anindya Banerjee.

Let’s have a look at what Samantaral has to offer:

The film starts off with Riddhi Sen, visiting his ancestral house in the bylanes of Kolkata after a long period of time, coming from an extended stay in a hostel. He had left the family at a much younger age, after the untimely demise of his parents’ and now aims to finish his graduation course here. He gets entangled in a relationship with Surangana Bandyopadhyay.

But the story mainly focuses on the life, relationship, and events in the ‘Chatterjee bari’ where Soumitra plays the father figure to his three sons, according to their age, Kushal, Parambrata, and Anindya. Parambrata plays an offbeat role in this movie, portraying the character of Sujan, a person signed off as mentally unstable by the rest of the family.

However, as Riddhi probes with curiosity and interest in his life, his perception of him begins to alter and he finds an extraordinary man instead. He tries his best to bring a new light to the otherwise dark shady life of Sujan but fails badly. As the film progresses, we discover a somewhat quirky shade in the simpleton Sujan who, as he himself likes to state, desires for a female body and has often seen demanding one in the past.

The family had to dwell into embarrassment after Sujan’s ‘inappropriate’ acts in the past. Some present ones, irks the family members into further anger and disappointment. As the movie progresses, the cloud of suspense and doubts start hovering over, as Riddhi and Surangana find themselves trying to decode the psychological state behind the inexplicable character of Sujan.

Some moments like Riddhi discovering an unknown lady in Sujan’s room at an odd time of the day discussing some intriguingly private moments, will keep you wondering more about the character. Certain events take place that shapes up the final moments of the movie, and we discover the most unusual truth about Sujan, leaving us bewildered and amazed. It ends with a somewhat predictable note, and the audiences get the social message the production house aimed to convey to the world.

The Samantaral cast and their performances:

The movie rides on stable and robust performances from the central actor Parambrata. His antics as the simpleton Sujan will, at times light up a scene, and at times will make you question about his simplicity. He conveniently manages to pull off the character through his brilliant and a somewhat natural performance. As an audience, you definitely will empathize with him at the end, and his acting will strike a chord in your heart.

The other essential Samantaral cast members, Riddhi Sen and Surangana Bandyopadhyay, have done a credible job. They look a sweet pair both on and off screen. While Riddhi gets a bit more of a screen presence than her, Surangana brightens up the screen with her moments in the film. An actor of Soumitra Chatterjee’s caliber has nothing much to offer to his role, and at a point, you will wonder, why not choose a lesser famed actor for such insubstantial role instead?

The other three actors, Aparajita Adhyo, Tanusree Chakraborty and Kushal Chakraborty, although have done a good job, it seems their character sketches have a certain presence of a rather feeble touch to it. But what comes as a gritty performance is from Anindya Banerjee, the devilishly wicked member of the Chatterjee family. The movie gets a low score if you think it from the perspective of individual performances, barring these two.

A look at the technical aspects:

Samantaral rides high on its socially relevant concept and a heart-warming message, but when it comes to its directorial elements, it may not be the best one that you will encounter this week. Partha Chakraborty has tried wholeheartedly to pull off a stunning work but has failed in many moments. The film needed a rather more capable and better director, for making it, what would have been one of the best films of this year. But still, some works by Chakraborty looks great on screen.

The cinematography is a bit disappointing. Bengali movies have evolved a lot in the recent few years, ranging from storytelling to improvement in the technical aspects of movie making. But somehow, this film lacks a few bits of them. The screenplay is shaky, and the first half looks crumbling, not sure of where it is going. But a much-needed improvement in the second half is what will keep viewers glued to the movie. So, if you are thinking about catching a new film in the coming days, that offer to tell a good story, then do check it out.

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