Review of “Abyakto” – Simple narrative that deals with many complex emotions.
Director – Arjunn Dutta
Cast – Arpita Chatterjee, Anubhav Kanjilal, Adil Hussain, Keya Chattopadhyay, Anirban Ghosh
Debutante director Arjunn Dutta’s film Abyakto is a very refreshing take on the relationship of a mother and son on screen. It talks about the conflict between the two central characters but in a very subtle way without being melodramatic. The way the characters have been written and played looks credible. The nuanced performances by the lead cast have added more value to it.
The story is centered around two persons Saathi (Arpita Chatterjee) and her only son Indra (Anubhav Kanjilal). Saathi is a widow in her late fifties. After her husband’s death she lives alone in the house along with the servants. Indra is doing a job in Delhi and well settled there with his live-in partner Aditi (Keya Chattopadhyay). In his childhood he had to suffer a lot for strict parenting by his mother as a result he had distanced himself from her. In his childhood he was more close to his father Koushik (Anirban Ghosh) and his friend Rudra (Adil Hussain). After his father’s death, Indra stops visiting his ancestral home back in Kolkata as he desperately wants to avoid his mother. Saathi too understands that her son does not like her and she is well aware of the reason. She knows she was too much strict on her son during his childhood but her intention was not wrong. She never stopped loving her son but she is helpless to bridge the gap between them. The story unfolds during a course of few days when Indra comes back to Kolkata to take care of some property related issues.
The story written by Arjunn Dutta is very fresh that talks about many important topics related with parenting like insecurities of parents for their kids, ill effects of over strict parenting on kids. The good thing about the script is it never treats this conflict in a melodramatic way. There is awkwardness between the mother and son but still they are cordial to each other and maintains the dignity of the relation which looks so realistic. But there are some weak spots too in the screenplay. It unfolds in a very slow pace that even in a duration of one and a half hour it feels over stretched. After one point nothing much happens in the story as similar scenes keep repeating. For example the problems Indra had to face in his childhood has been depicted in flashback three times and every time the situation is more or less same. There is a major reveal in the end which comes too late in the film. There are enough hints for this reveal from the first flashback scene itself so there was no need to keep it guarded till so late. In fact this late reveal holds the perspectives of the character of Saathi for a long time. For the whole film we get to see the story through the perspective of Indra only, Saathi gets very little chance to bring her point of view in the climax as it would not have been possible to show her side of the story without giving away the secret.
As a director Arjunn Dutta deserves credit for choosing such an experimental topic for his debut. Hope to see many good as well as unconventional films from him in future. Among the technical team it is composer Soumya Rit who has done a wonderful job with the music and background score. Editor Sujoy Dutta Roy has efficiently joined the narrative swinging between past and present. Supratim Bhol’s cinematography is very natural and goes well with the simple narrative style.
All the actors are in very good form. Like always Adil Hussain is very impressive in his small part. He is capable enough to express a lot even with his silence. Watch him in the song sequence Kandale Tumi More, the way he has exchanged glances with his co-actors in the song that says a lot. Anirban Ghosh is also effective in his part. Lily Chakraborty has done a good job in a cameo. Kheya Chattopadhyay has a spark in her acting. She is very natural in her performance. This girl definitely deserve to be seen in more movies. Technically it is not Anubhav Kanjilal’s debut movie but it is his major break through for sure. He has worked hard to bring life to this complex character. He has portrayed the frustration of his character very well. He has bring the required awkwardness in his body language to show the discomfort of the character in presence of his mother. Undoubtedly Arpita Chatterjee has done the heavy lifting among the whole cast, in one of her career best performance. She has played two different ages of her character and the way she has captured both the physical and mental changes of the character with the age gap that is commendable. With a very minimal use of make up she has transformed herself to a much older woman only with her well enacted body language. The insecurity of younger Saathi and the maturity of the aged one both have reflected very well in Arpita’s expressions.
On a whole, Abyakto talks about some complex emotions through a simple narrative added with some noteworthy performances by the lead cast. If you have some patience to be in sync with the slow pace of the film then it will not disappoint you.