Another day in the theatre… Another Bengali film… Another excruciating test of one’s patience and sensibility! With each passing day and with each new release, Bengali films seem to be hell bent on proving to be more and more superficial, reducing the art and craft of films to something completely different, perhaps a ‘moving exhibition of images and sounds’ for the lack of a better expression. The film in question is Teenkahon by Bauddhayan Mukherji and is just another instance of the same old canonical, redundant and uninspired practice that goes in the name of Bengali Cinema for urban audience!
The film is an anthology of three short stories spanning across the length of hundred years, each one focusing on the classic three acts of love; boy meets girl, boy loses girl and boy gets girl. And in the midst of these often told classic tropes, the director sprinkles plenty of metaphors and symbolism and loose references to Satyajit Ray (in order to be taken seriously by the pseudo-intelligentsia) but unfortunately (for me at least!) fails to bring even an iota of originality or even inspiration or at least freshness in terms of images and sounds. Without getting into the details, it’d suffice to say that to watch these narratives unfold on screen was in no way a different experience of the sense than merely reading them on the pages of a book or hearing it on the radio. But then all these are symptomatic of the contemporary Bengali Cinema. And Teenkahon is a film which blends in so well with the crowd that it even doesn’t give rise to any original observation and thus engagement and thus criticism.
Not trying to sound prescriptive or preachy, but a good film or any work of art for that matter is a perfect marriage of form and content. Bengali films, barring a few exceptions have ceased to facilitate that ‘marriage’. Teenkahon is also just another brick in the wall…or three bricks!
Arup Ratan Samajdar
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