Review of the movie “Shantilal O Projapoti Rohoshyo”
Director – Pratim D. Gupta
Cast – Ritwick Chakraborty, Paoli Dam, Ambarish Bhattacharya, Goutam Ghoshe
Director Pratim D. Gupta’s new film Shantilal O Projapoti Rohoshyo has been promoted as a detective film to be in sync with the current trend of successful detective thrillers, but the truth is Rohoshyo solving is just a part of the film, the main story is about two individuals Shantilal and Nandita. These two belongs to two completely different worlds but gets connected through a co-incidence.
The story is about Shantilal (Ritwick Chakraborty) who works as a weather journalist in an English daily. He is bachelor who has almost passed the age of marriage. He is living a monotonous life with nothing exciting happening in his personal or professional life. One day his life takes an exciting turn when he gets to know about a secret related with super star Nandita. Nandita (Paoli Dam) is a popular actress who is at the peak of her career but still wants to join politics to do some social welfare. Initially Shantilal decides to search the truth about Nandita with a hope of an exciting story which can bring fame to him as a journalist. But later his quest for truth takes him more deeper to the world of porn industry and flesh trade. What will be the outcome of his investigation and how it will change the lives of both Shantilal and Nandita that forms the rest of the story.
From his first film itself, Pratim D. Gupta has a knack of telling refreshing stories with some wonderful characters. His detailing about the characters is really commendable. He has developed each and every character with uttermost care even the ones which appear for one or two scene. For example the character of Rocket Ranjan, the interpreter in Chennai, played by Amabarish Bhattacharya or the editor of the news paper played by Gautam Ghose, all these characters are written so well that they impress in their limited screen time. But undoubtedly the star attraction of the film is its two lead protagonists. Pratim has created these two characters in a completely opposite style which works very well to show the contrast between these two characters. Shantilal is like an open book. His whole lifestyle is very clear to the audience from the beginning. We know his daily routine from reading newspaper in morning to watching porn in night. On the other hand Nandita’s character has a mysterious aura around her. She has been introduced to the audience through a television interview followed by an appearance at a movie premiere. Till then only her star persona has been revealed. Later in the movie when Shantilal as well as the audience get to know little more about her then only the audience are allowed to enter in her personal space. Still nothing about her past or present or future has been elaborated too much. There is a room intentionally left to make your own impression about the character. The contrast between these two characters has helped to create the momentum for the climax when these two comes face to face.
Somewhere paying attention in character development, Pratim D. Gupta has lost his grip over the screenplay. The film begins with impressive note and the climax is also satisfactory but somewhere in the middle it lost its track specially in the investigation portion which is the weakest thing about the film. First of all, the clue which leads Shantilal to start his investigation is not convincing enough. No one will invest his money and time to explore the truth on the basis of a mere co-incidence. Secondly, the way we see a common man like Shantilal investigating such a big organized racket looks very unrealistic. There are hardly any hurdle for him, it seems everything is placed properly to help him at the right moment. Just for example in Chennai he gets a helping friend so easily who knows everything about the porn film making industry which is not very obvious for a common man to know. His total investigation process has been progressed based on coincidences one after another. When a script relies on too many coincidences then obviously it lost its credibility.
Although these shortcomings have been covered up too some extent with a very well written climax featuring the two leads which deserves applause. Also the film gives a very realistic view of the world of journalists and the inner politics of a news paper office which we have not seen in any other movie so far.
As a director Pratim D. Gupta deserves credit for choosing a brave subject once again. He knows how to deliver strong message without sounding preachy. Only he could have resist himself from showing some cliche moments. For example, just because shooting is happening in abroad it is not always necessary to take the audience to a city tour. Also the way the brothel in Singapore and its inmates have been shown that look very filmy and less realistic.
Barring his first film, Pratim has always cast good actors in suitable characters so his movies are always a treat to watch finest performances even in cameos. Every actor in the supporting cast has done wonderful job specially Ambarish Bhattacharya who is mostly wasted in stupid comic characters. Swaroopa Ghosh, Shanghasri Sinha Mitra and Srijit Mukherji are effective in their one scene cameo. But it will not be wrong to say the whole film rests on the strong shoulders of the two lead actors Ritwick Chakraborty and Paoli Dam. Ritwick Chakraborty has mastered the art of playing a common man. He has played a common man in so many movies but it never looks that he is repeating himself as he brings something new every time to his character. He has effortlessly brings every emotion of his character. Paoli Dam has comparatively lesser screen time but whenever she is there on screen she has something meatier to do and she has proved her potential in every single scene. Specially she is extra ordinary in the climax.
Cinematographer Subhankar Bhar has done a fantastic work, through his lens he has smartly created the gap between the two contrasting worlds of Shantilal and Nandita. Arko’s music is very nice. All the three songs are refreshing and sounds good. Some computer graphics created butterflies have been used to show how the clue is haunting Shantilal to investigate the truth but the poor quality vfx has not worked much in favour of the film, it could have been avoided. Although the animation work done in the opening credits is quite good.
On a whole Shantilal O Projapoti Rohoshyo has a refreshing story idea with some memorable characters but it deserves a better screenplay to do full justice with the so well written characters. Still it can be watched for the strong performances by the whole cast lead by the two gifted actors Ritwick Chakraborty and Paoli Dam.