It has been a while since I reviewed a Bengali film, an industry that has a very different texture as compared to the other industries. And so I decided to handpick a film that has now been resting in my watchlist since ages. With that I finished watching the Bengali film Nagarkirtan on Hoichoi. A winner of 4 national awards including best actor, this was one film that has slowly gained a cult status. And quite honestly, I am late to the party. So is Nagarkirtan worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Nagarkirtan follows the story of a trans woman who falls in love with a flute player. The story is quite delicate and there is this melancholic streak to it. You almost know what is going to transpire but you hope against hope that the eventual does not happen. That is how powerful the story is. The screenplay is written with a dignified sensitivity. There are so many heartwarming moments that are created that it blurs the boundaries of love even as an auduence. What that does is that the audience are able to look at the film in totally instead of forming any opinions. Another risky proposition was that the screenplay is non-linear with three parallels tracks that unfold together. So you need to be attentive and absorb the leisurely screenplay. Allow it to get to you and you will almost immediately be soaked in the melancholy of it. There are moments where your heart would beat for the two protagonists. Also the social dogmas and well tackled where the writers do not mince any words. The tragedy at the end and the sequence which follows it is perhaps the saddest ending that I have witnessed in a while now. Your heart almost bleeds as you shed a tear for the protagonists. This is masterful writing, something that all budding writers can learn from.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are very subtle and sparingly used and they leave an astounding impact. The music is beautifully as it upholds the melancholy of the story and its characters. The BGM is also wonderful and blends well with the drama. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking. To give you a perspective, a love making scene is just so aesthetically shot. Also the a few of the scenes, the frames are well placed. Director Kaushik Ganguly has handled a delicate subject with so much sensitivity and finesse that you can’t help but sit back and admire his work here. The direction truely deserves distinction marks.
The performances are absolutely stunning. It is the two protagonists who shoulder the responsibility of the whole film and they come out with flying colours. Ritwick Chakraborty as Madhu is brilliant and he makes his towering presence felt. The fate that his character has to deal with is just so painful to watch that you literally empathize with him. And words aren’t enough to describe the performance of Riddi Sen. As Puti he delivers a wonderfully restrained act, the one that will be remembered for times to come. How often have we been witness to caricatures of transgender characters in films, this performance is probably the best that I have ever witnessed. An acting masterclass if ever there was one!
Nagarkirtan is a melancholic masterpiece that deserves to be watched by all. Available on Hoichoi and Highly Highly Highly Recommended.