Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review of Praktan

Image Courtesy; Facebook Page of Praktan
Cast: Prosenjit Chatterjee, Rituparna Sengupta, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sabitri Chatterjee, Aparajita Adhya, Biswanath Basu, Manali Dey
Directed by: Nandita Roy, Shiboprosod Mukhopadhyay
Produced by: Probhat Roy, Gautam Mukherjee
Production Company: Windows, Ardor Entertainment, Eskay Movies
Dialogues by: Shiboprosod Mukhopadhyay
Screenplay by: Nandita Roy
Music by: Anindiya Chatterjee, Anupam Roy, Radha Raman; Background music: Binit Ranjan Moitra
Cinematography: Gopi Bhagat
Edited by: Malay Laha
Release date: 27th  May, 2016
Language: Bengali (English Subtitles)
Duration: 2 hours 23 minutes

Praktan, an awesome Bengali film by Nandita Roy and Shiboprosod Mukhopadhyay explores the philosophy of life, love, complexities of relationships, positive sides of relationships, maturity etc. very beautifully. This film’s plot is designed from the perspectives of people from different walks of life. Everybody’s life is a story in itself. Different stories of different people are built up so nicely. If there is a newly-wed couple, there is an old couple married for many years; there is even a couple who is divorced, and there is a couple who is happily married with kid. And then there is a group of musicians. All of them embark on their train journey with their own sets of baggages. But, Praktan talks about what happens during their journey. They go through self-discovery process, leave their baggages, and move ahead with a new found positivity, love, passion, togetherness. The film depicts how 24+ odd hours of train journey from Mumbai to Howra becomes a life changing experience for a few of its travellers. How their perception itself towards life changes? Many times, we are burdened with the thought of not able to find answers to many of our questions, but a journey ultimately ends up giving answers to our questions, isn’t it amazing and that is one of the aspect which Praktan projects. Read the review further to know the beautiful philosophies of life projected through this film. Praktan means ‘Former’. You need to watch the film to explore how and why this film is titled so. It is indeed a must watch film.

The film begins with travelers boarding train’s 1st AC compartment’s different coups at Mumbai railway station - a young couple (Biswanath Basu and Manali Dey) who just got married, an elderly couple (Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabitri Chatterjee) whose son and daughter-in-law accompanied to see them off; a mother Molly (Aparajita Adhya) with her 6 year old daughter Udita aka Putul; Sudipa (Rituparna Sengupta) and a group of musicians. Ujaan (Prasanjit) joins the journey much later. The screenplay is well crafted to introduce all the characters and the baggages they are carrying. One of the musician is reminiscing about his former band member. Newly married couple full of love with each other, but very soon husband is shown as insecure and he ends up probing his pretty wife about her ex-boyfriend. But the beauty is these scenes are that they are so nicely written generating lot of humour. The elderly couple does feel nostalgic about past, great bonding between the two is shown. Then there is Molly, who is full of praise for her husband and family, and is very gregarious. Sudipa wants to be in her shell, but develops a bond with Udita and Molly.

As the train moves further, these co-passengers’ stories are unveiled. There is a scene, where all of them play Antakshiri, projecting how co-travellers becomes one big family. Various scenes are interestingly developed to convey how Molly, Udita and Sudipa who share the coup, get connected to one another and later on how their lives get interrelated. It is also interesting to see, how Ujjan becomes part of their journey. How Ujjan deals with various incidents in his relationship, who is a guide for heritage walks, and runs a travel company ?  I really don’t want to elaborate the plot any more since the film has to be watched and explored.  

Beautiful philosophies of life, which are discussed in the film:
Adjustments / compromise in love, in relationships, is not at all losing oneself. When we love someone, it is important to give a part of us to the other person. We shall not feel powerless in the process.
One cannot undo the past, so why to worry about it, and future is uncertain, so why to bother about it too much. ‘Present’ is so important.
Many times, we don’t realize that egos can kill a relationship and when it goes out of the hand that is when we realize that we have lost something or someone special for ever. And this loss is so much irreparable.
We want to watch our spouses or loved ones in a particular frame designed by us and if others don’t fit into our frame, we start getting uncomfortable. Praktan also talks of, how peaceful, joyous and loving it can be, if we don’t try to design frames for our loved ones.
When we love a person, as we accept the good aspects of that person, can’t we become more tolerant towards their not-so-good aspects as well?

There are many more instances, which will touch your heart for sure, move you, bring smile on your face. Various emotions viz. love, passion, ego, conflict, togetherness, separation, pain, joy, complacency etc. are all shown so beautifully. Throughout the film, the positive tone of the film is maintained. The end is also very positive i.e. at times, we have to ‘let go’, learn the art of forgiving, need to gather courage to move ahead and explore better aspects of life, leaving the ‘feeling of loss’ behind, respecting the ‘good’ of life… The list is endless.

The cast is superlative in their performance, music is soulful, melodious. Mention of Tagore also makes integral part of the film. The film is also special since Rituparna and Prosenjit have come together on screen after a gap of 14 years.

Praktan, a Bengali Film, is very rich in its content, screenplay, dialogues, acting, music, theme, philosophies of life. A must watch film.

Rating : 4.5 / 5 (Very Good +)