Review of “Crisscross” – Hope that survives everyday’s struggle
Director – Birsa Dasgupta
Cast – Mimi Chakraborty, Nusrat, Jaya Ahsan, Sohini Sarkar, Priyanka Sarkar, Arjun Chakrabarty
Overall Rating – 3.5/5
Crisscross directed by Birsa Dasgupta was in news since announcement as it is one rare mainstream movie which relies on the shoulders of five leading ladies, they are the hero of the film. But here one thing should be made clear it is not a conventional women oriented film about women empowerment. It is one slice of life film which talks about the day to day struggle of the city dwellers. It can be any man or woman who has to go through such problems in their everyday life. The film begins with a line that every morning we wake up with a hope that most of our problems will be solved by the end of the day. It is hope which helps us to survive the daily struggles of life and this is the basic idea that the film wants to convey.
It talks about the story of one particular day from the life of the five central characters. On that particular day, all of them are facing some big crisis of their life and they have to find a solution before the end of the day. Ira (Mimi Chakraborty) is a journalist who is in a live in relationship with her boyfriend Archie (Arjun Chakrabarty). Ira works outside and Archie takes care of home and they are quite happy with the arrangement. But on that particular day their parents want to announce their engagement in a family get together and on the same day Ira has to complete an assignment for her work which can lead her to promotion. So she has given same deadline to complete her personal and professional commitments. In such a short time span she can complete only one out of those two and its tough for her to decide which one to give priority. Meher (Nusrat) is a junior artist in films who dreams to make it big in her acting career. But she wants to fulfil her dream with her acting talent not by any unethical compromise. Her problem is that with her work she cant earn enough to take care of her widow mother and physically disabled brother. On that particular day she has to manage money to pay due rent to her landlord else they will lost the house. Suzy (Priyanka Sarkar) is a single mother of a little boy. She has separated from her abusive husband. She is a painter and designer who is looking for a job with a decent salary so that she can take good care of her son. On that particular day she has to manage money for her son’s pending school fee otherwise the kid will be expelled from school. Then there is Ms Sen (Jaya Ahsan) , a successful businesswoman but a loner in personal life. Her company is going through a rough phase and on that particular day she needs to crack a big deal with a potential client to save her company from a big loss. The fifth lady is Rupa (Sohini Sarkar) a middle class housewife. She has to bear with her nagging mother in law, pervert brother in law (Mainak Banerjee) and impotent husband (Ambarish Bhattacharya). She bears all these troubles silently, just in a hope that someday everything will be alright. But on that particular day her doctor informs something very serious about her health condition which destroys all her dreams of a better future. Among these five ladies some are known to each other already and some gets connected later on that day. As expected finally all of them landed at same platform as their individual paths crisscross with each other.
The screenplay has been written by Mainak Bhaumik, taking inspiration from the story Crisscross written by Smaranjit Chakraborty. In the original story there were several other characters, here the focus has been shifted to five characters only keeping the basic theme intact. The good thing about the script is it dares to do something unconventional. Where mostly mainstream movies are made around a hero or a romantic lead, it chooses a different path to tell the story through five female protagonists. Another good thing is that the five central characters are very easy to relate with. We can identity with them. The crisis in their life is also reliable, financial problem for unemployment or trouble in balancing personal and professional life are very common issues in our everyday life. But the way their crisis has been presented that is not authentic at all. For example in Ira’s case she looks over burdened in her office work. She is supposed to click pictures, taking interviews, writing an article on that and completing all this in just one day that too without any prior notice. Meher needs money so desperately that at one point she even decides to act in B Grade movies but she never thought to borrow some money from her good friends Ira and Archie. Suzy is so poor that she can’t even afford noodles for her kid but her perfect costumes and make up never reflects her poor financial condition. Ms Sen is big name in town as a successful business personality but her company is near about to collapse with the loss of just one deal as if they don’t have any other client. As their crisis situations are not convincing enough so as audience we do not feel invested in their problems. This is the weakest thing about the script. Apart from that there are some instances in the script that has no proper justification. Like one big revelation related to the family of Ms Sen which comes before climax sounds very confusing, it do not go in sync with whatever we have seen so far about her character. Also the film is not bold enough to address Ms Sen’s sexual attraction towards her neighborhood girl Urna (Ridhima Ghosh). All the ladies have been given almost same screen time but still few tracks looks incomplete. We do not get enough information about the past of Ms Sen or Suzy. Infact the whole track of Suzy is in very superficial level. We never get chance to know the character from close. Her track is least eventful nothing much happen in her life in the whole day compared to others. In the climax some of the problems have been resolved with too simple solutions which is not convincing enough.
But in spite of the shortcomings in the writing the film works for the smart and stylish story telling of Birsa Dasgupta. His cast and crew has given full suport to him. DOP Gairik Sarkar has done a wonderful work. He has shot various outdoor locations of the city beautifully. Editor Shubho Pramanik has efficiently mixed the different tracks of the five protagonists. Taking Jam8 studios for composing music for the film is one smart decision taken by the makers. Their music sounds fresh and works well in the narrative. All the songs are good and specially Duniya and Momer Shahar are very well composed songs.
All the five leading ladies are in good form. They have performed really well. Mimi Chakraborty is effective as the urban working girl. She has looked and acted convincingly as per her character. Nusrat is mostly cast to add glamour in commercial remakes but here she has been provided a good scope to showcase her acting abilities. She has utilised this opportunity skillfully. Jaya Ahsan has played a character which is very different from the characters she has done so far. It has showed her range as an actor to play various type of characters. She should continue doing such experiments as she is capable of it. Sohini Sarkar is perfect as the troubled housewife. One can sympathise with her pain. She is too good in her emotional outburst scene. Priyanka Sarkar is a good actor but her character has not written that well. She has acted with honesty in her limited scope but she deserves a better written character. In the script, more importance has been given to the central characters only, all the supporting characters are very routine with nothing significant to add to the story. Among the supporting cast only Arjun Chakrabarty and Ambarish Bhattacharya successfully grab attention with their natural performances.
On a whole Crisscross has some loopholes in the script but still it works for most of the part because of the unconventional subject and the wonderful performances by the leading ladies. The film is not so good but not bad either.