Review of “Tarikh” – Celebration of life through dates
Director – Churni Ganguly
Cast – Saswata Chatterjee, Raima Sen, Ritwick Chakraborty, Anashua Majumdar, Aloknanda Roy, Kaushik Ganguly
Overall Rating – 3.5/5
On surface level, Churni Ganguly’s second directorial venture Tarikh tells the story of three friends and their changing equations but in depth it touches several topics like pseudo intellectualism, escapism through social media, positive impacts of social media, immortality of ideologies on internet, death and its impact on the people who are survived. In fact there are several layers in the characters and plots that it depends on the audience how much they can grasp.
The film has used social media site Facebook as a tool to depict the life events of the primary characters. The film opens with a news of the death anniversary of a lead character and then it traces back the story for the span of last three years through some Facebook posts on some important dates like birthdays and anniversary. The three primary characters are Anirban Gupta (Saswata Chatterjee), his wife Ira (Raima Sen) and his childhood friend Rudrangshu (Ritwick Chakraborty). Anirban who is a professor by profession, is an ideologist. He believes to raise voice against injustice, he likes reading and travelling to historical places for him its his pilgrimage. On the other hand Ira who works as a lobby manager in a hotel is completely different from her husband. She is more focused on her personal life, she do not want to explore the world rather her friends and family is her world. Rudrangshu is a childhood friend of Anirban but he is more closer to Ira as they are like minded. In fact he has a soft corner for Ira too but he never allows that feeling to create any complication between the three of them. The relationship between the three has been handled with maturity. There is an important scene in the film where these three central characters do an honest confession about their feelings for each other and it is a wonderfully written scene and has been used very well in the film in three parts.
The subject of the film is refreshing and the idea of using Facebook post to connect the story in flashback is commendable but Churni Ganguly’s treatment is appealing to a limited section of audience only who loves thought provoking intellectual cinema. The film opens on a interesting note but the tone in second half is too depressive. The scenes following the death of a central character has been stretched too much. After a point it starts looking repetitive and the narrative remains stagnant for a while. In second half, there is a lengthy dream sequence which serves no purpose rather it looks like a conscious effort to give the film a feel of intellectual art house film. Although the twist in the climax compensate for these shortcomings to some extent.
Editor Shubhajit Singha has done a good job to join the non-linear narrative but do we really need some random shots of different objects and places in between the scenes to make the film look more serious. Although the music rearranged by Raja Narayan Deb is not much impressive but background score created by him stands tall. Gopi Bhagat’s cinematography is good.
The cast is the best thing about the film. Each actor is in solid form even the supporting players like June Malya, Aloknanda Roy and Anashua Majumdar are praise worthy. Saswata Chatterjee has made his idealistic character very much convincing with his natural acting. He has wonderfully portrayed the dilemma of the character who wants to be someone else but confined to a different life. He finds his escape from reality in social media, in travel, in books but at the same time he wants to fit himself in his real world too by being a responsible husband and father. All these complexities of the character has been well captured in the expressions of Saswata Chatterjee. For a change, here Ritwick Chakraborty is just playing a supporting character without bearing the burden of the whole story on his shoulders. His character has not been written with much detail. Despite of that, he is efficient in his part as expected from him. The film definitely belongs to Raima Sen. She is outstanding in the film. The character has enough scope to prove the acting prowess and she has utilized this opportunity with all her abilities specially in the second half when the focus is more on her.
On a whole Tarikh is well made film on a refreshing idea with some excellent performances but the film has slow pace and depressive tone. It tries to address a lot of things which adds more complexity to it. The film will appeal to a selected section of people only who are intellectually aware. This one is not for everyone out there.