Review of the movie “Chhaya O Chhobi”

Director – Kaushik Ganguly

Cast – Koel Mallick, Abir Chatterjee, Ritwick Chakraborty, Priyanka Sarkar, Churni Ganguly

Overall Rating – 4/5

Kaushik Ganguly’s “Chhaya O Chhobi” is sweet simple story about the changing equations of personal and professional relationships in the backdrop of an outdoor shooting of a film. It is a crossover between reel and real life where both the reel and real story goes on side by side.

The story is very simple and one liner but what makes it special is the layered screenplay and the realistic characters with a mix of both positive and negative elements. Maya (Churni Ganguly) is a famous documentary filmmaker who is well settled in abroad. But her grandmother and father want her to direct a Bengali film so she comes to West Bengal to make her debut Bengali feature film “Sada Kalor Galpo”.  The story revolves around the outdoor schedule of her feature film in Darjeeling. Maya went to Darjeeling with her crew and her lead cast which includes a super star actor Arindom (Abir Chatterjee), a super successful heroine Rai Chatterjee (Koel Mallick) and an upcoming actress Mou (Priyanka Sarkar). Arindom and Rai are a real life couple too and they are about to get married soon. A film shooting within a film is an interesting concept but hardly any Bengali film maker take it to detailed level except for movies like “Bariwali”, but here Kaushik Ganguly has tried to give us an inside view of what chaos goes on at shooting sets . You can see the Assistant directors juggling between actors and director to make everything on same page, you can see makeup artists helping actors with fake blood to shoot a gun firing scene, you can see the concern of Sound recording guy over overlapping dialogues also you can see how crew members giving away juicy gossip to media persons. Not only that, there are the problems that producer and production manager have to face to handle the tantrums of stars and financial issues because of demonetization. But the movie is not just about the technical details of making a film it is about the changing equation of basic human relationship between the crew members and also a very important relationship between a star and a fan. Here the fan is Jeetu (Ritwick Chakraborty) a local car driver who is a huge fan of Rai Chatterjee and fortunately is on her duty during the outdoor schedule.  There are mainly five characters but the main focus is on Rai Chatterjee, how her professional and personal relationships takes a complete turn by the time she wraps up the outdoor schedule.

The screenplay has been written wonderfully, there is no hurry to make any point or give the story any twist, and it takes its own comfortable time to establish the characters and situation. But the good thing is the screenplay never gives any dull moment. It takes a serious turn towards the climax only and ends on a very sweet romantic note which gives you a satisfied feeling while leaving the theatre. There is only few points in the screenplay which needs more clarity like the money minded decision Rai takes does not go well with her character, also there is some shocking revelation about one character towards the end but why the character does that there is no proper explanation, was it an intentional decision or just a mistake that remains unanswered. But in spite of the short comings it works for most of the part because of the well developed characters and for the chance to take a peek at the actions going on behind the camera during shooting of a movie.

There is nothing more left to say about the brilliance of Kaushik Ganguly as a director. In this film he has showed us how a director has to have the whole view of the situation going around on a film set and it is not an easy thing to do. We must say he is continuously managing this tough job film after film.

Koel Mallick has chosen the best possible character to make her comeback. At one point in the film her character Rai Chatterjee says, she is tired of playing the “Dushtu Mishti Nayika” in the hero centric films and now she wants to do meaningful cinema where she will get a strong character to play. Most probably the same message Koel wants to give in her real life too. She looks beautiful and her acting is good. We are looking forward to see her more in such well written characters in future.  Abir Chatterjee is working for third time with Kaushiik Ganguly after “Bastushaap” and “Bishorjon” and it can be said it is comparatively simpler character for him compared to the last two. Here the character don’t have any physical disability or different linguistic rather the character he is playing is quite similar with his real life persona, a successful actor of Bengali cinema who is friendly, have good sense of humour and very caring boyfriend.  Most probably Abir did not have to do too much preparation for this character but again it needs to be said he looks very natural on screen and performed really well. Also performing a simple task simply is not that simple as it looks. Apart from that both Abir and Koel have to play two other characters Ranjan and Madira which are their on screen characters in the film they are shooting at Darjeeling. And both of them have made those characters really perfect even though it was for three scenes only.

About Ritwick Chakraborty the director himself says when there is a really challenging role then only he goes to Ritwick that says a lot about his acting calibre. There is nothing more to tell about how perfectly he moulds himself to each and every character. Here he looks perfect as Jeetu. Watch him in the scene where his idol Rai Chatterjee suspects him as a thief, his eyes emotes the pain which will make you feel sympathy for him. Priyanka Sarakar is a good actress, she has limited scope but she has done a fine job. In the film her character is an upcoming actress who is trying hard to make her own place among the two big stars but in real Priyanka has managed to make her presence felt in spite of having the big stars and seasoned actors within the same frame. Churni Ganguly is a wonderful actress but sadly we get to see her on screen very rarely. She is perfect in her character but one thing need to be said that she is getting typecast as a mature single woman who is struggling with her not so good past but managed to keep herself emotionally strong. Her character background was quite similar in movies like “Bastushaap” and “Shabdo”. Now we want to see some variety from the talented actress.

Music of the film has been given by Indradip Dasgupta and the songs “Drwaing Khata” and “Eh Kancha” sounds good in the film, rest of the songs are just okay. Camerawork by Gopi Bhagat is good especially in the scenes inside the forest of Darjeeling.

Overall it is a satisfactory watch with some solid performances from the lead cast. It has some emotional moments which will touch you. Watch it to experience how real life is more melodramatic that cinema.

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