Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Everyone has a past. It sometimes makes us smile. haunts us, teaches us and at others it reminds us of the mistakes that we made a long time back. And for most Bongs most of these happened in Kolkata. Praktan – The Former, by Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee is all about love, separation, passion, nostalgia, humour and of course Kolkata. It is a sleekly shot flick with an urban feel with very familiar characters we regularly come across in this City of Joy.
The plot in short is this – Ujjan, a Calcutta Walks (one of the most exciting companies of Kolkata and a BONGFeed favorite, do check them out) tour guide played by Prosenjit and Sudipa, a young architect played by Rituparna Sengupta fall in love, try to establish a family, which ultimately falls apart due to their difference in thoughts and temperaments. Many years pass and on a train from Mumbai to Kolkata Sudipa stumbles upon Manali, Ujjan’s present wife and daughter in a compartment that they have to share for the next 48 hours.
Praktan means Former and the director duo have made sure this theme prevails through different characters of the film – a former band member (our own Sourajit of Bhumi) reminiscing the golden days of his band, a husband finding it difficult to accept that his wife had an ex and an aged couple trying to cope with the present world. This film is a comeback of one of Bengali cinema’s supreme pairs – Rituparna Sengupta and Prosenjit Chatterjee after 15 long years and they don’t fail to deliver. But if you thought this film is a complete Rituparna and Bumbada show you’ll be mildly surprised, since Aparajita Adhya, in the role of Ujjan’s wife, has done an exceptional job of playing the happy-go-lucky middle class wife, who loves her family and is content with her world. Even though, we are all praise for the film, the story is a tad clichéd since we’ve recently come across the same kind of plots – the struggle of a young married couple.
Given the storyline, Praktan could very easily have been a dull, listless and boring show if not for the saving grace of the smart screenplay. You won’t be bored, for example when Aparajita is on screen – she is amazing and her acting skills are superlative. One complaint though – the poor character sketch of Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabitri, who seem to have boarded the train only to recite “Hotat Dekha” from Sanchayita, in the background. We think they could have been used so much better.
And finally, the most important character of this movie – Kolkata, The city has been painted beautifully in the film. Be it Decres Lane, Victoria, Maidan or Tram rides, Kolkata, through the light yellow filters, looks like a sun soaked destination in the South of France rather than the banks of the Hooghly! Bumbada, in one of the scenes, says “Kolkata is the city of passions” and we know what the director’s trying – to tug at that part of you that loves the city fervently. And yet, you will smile, that’s how good it feels to see the city in this movie.
Before we forget, Anupam’s music is again, well done and sounds great in the film. We only hope he gets better and come up with something fresher since some of his work now sounds a tad repeated. The Kolkata song, which is already getting a lotta airplay on the FM channels, will follow you out into the city and you probably will be humming it for a while.
With Bela Sheshey, Mukherjee and Roy had planted their creative seeds in the industry and with Praktan, this seed has bloomed into a more matured and sleeker presentation. So yes, we think you should go watch this movie this weekend and do let us know if you share our ratings.
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