written by Abhikendu Deb Roy.
‘Learn to love yourself first. Everything else will fall into place.’
Four distinct subplots with the common denouement as death – We surely have heard of this before, in another Srijit Mukherji film. After filming Chotushkone, he tries this format again, but with an enriched and mature execution in his latest work, Nirbaak. Srijit infuses the theme of obsession luring in every subplot of the film. Narcissism, obsession with a living immobile object, the fixation of a bitch towards her master, the passion of a man for a cadaver – Srijit touches upon all the aspects of obsession in his 1 hour 49 minutes film.
Mukherji’s crew states that he loves his crew immensely, but he loves his film the most. This compassion is pretty much visible in his direction. Not only that, he is so possessive about his film that he pens down the script and the dialogues all by himself. He expatiates his script so much so that every intricate detail is translated on screen like magic. This film is not one such where we see conversations happening between the characters, it is a film where the characters’ emote and speak volumes for themselves.
When the structure of the film demands powerful performances, you need actors of that stature to exude their acting skills. Sushmita Sen, the thread that binds the four subplots, appears simply stunning, even with very less makeup. This non-glamorous side to the 1994 Miss Universe was something which was never explored before. Her voice and her ‘Bong’ accent bring in more appeal to the character. But it is the men of the film who steal the show. After one subplot ends, you start missing the man of that plot all the way more till the power of the next encroaches your mind. Anjan Dutt’s character is the conglomeration of the ‘naked’ truths of a loner. The magic he weaves on screen, all by himself, is powerful and can literally leave you speechless. This subplot, however, might bring a few frowns to the hypocritical section of our society. Jishu Sengupta, we all know, is a classy performer and Srijit brings out the best in him here. You are bound to empathize with the crimson red eyes, filled with fury, beating up his pet. The third and the last of the men brigade is Ritwick Chakraborty, for whom I probably don’t have any words. He must engage himself in many more films like these, else it would be the audiences’ loss that they wouldn’t witness how brilliantly he performs. He is one of those very few actors who do not act, just behave.
The aspect of the film which is par excellence is the cinematography. Soumik Haldar and Srijit Mukherji have always been working together, but this is probably the outcome of the highest degree. You would want to grab a DVD of the film, once released, solely to watch and re-watch the dance sequence, choreographed by Sudarshan Chakraborty. The sequence has been brilliantly shot, under the tree, in the midst of a dark night, with the intelligent use of low lights. Soumik proves that he indeed can be a cinematographer of international stature.
Pranoy Dasgupta sits on the edit table and does a pretty decent job. He executes his work well, but the visionary with which Srijit had imagined the film, individual sequences tend to drag a bit and makes the entire film a little slow. This is something which is contrary to what Srijit’s films had been always.
Last but not the least, Nirbaak will leave an impact on you after the end credits have finished rolling. The major cause of the long lasting impression is Neel Dutt’s background score. The BGM complements each and every moment of the film in a mesmerizing manner. The only song of the film, Jodi Akasher Gaaye, which comes up at the very end of the film, sticks to your mind. Credits go to Bodhaditya Banerjee for the lyrics and the composition of the song, which complements the vocals of Arka Mukherjee.
Special mention, without which this article would be incomplete, must be given to the Shadowgraphy Titles. Srijit has always come up with something new in each and every work of his, but this style of honoring his cast and crew with the usage of shadows moves you completely.
Final Verdict: It is not a film which will appeal to one and all. It will be praised only by a certain limited section of the viewers. You might think you do not like the film at all after walking out the plexes. But when you give it a thought and you rethink more about the film, you learn how entrapped you are in the aura of the script. It is surreal, beyond the understanding level of an average individual. For this, the film can be likable to some, repulsive to some. Srijit’s attempt at surrealism is indeed a brave attempt.