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Abhijaan

Abhijaan Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : 4.0 / 5

Abhijaan Movie Review : A well-crafted tribute to an artiste by an artiste

Making a film on Soumitra Chatterjee is no mean feat. An ambitious project helmed by Parambrata Chatterjee, Abhijaan offers a peek into the legendary actor’s multi-faceted personality in a compact cinematic journey. Featuring Soumitra himself, with Jisshu Sengupta portraying his younger self, the director has pulled off a casting coup of sorts by also roping in a host of other popular actors portraying various Tollywood icons of the bygone era.
The film sees Parambrata as Dr Sanjay Sen, a practicing oncologist living abroad, meeting Soumitra as an aspiring director who wants to archive the actor’s life. Claiming to be a fanboy, Sanjay takes the actor’s permission to record their conversations so that he could make a film later. Though Soumitra turns him down at first, he eventually agrees. Why? That is for the audience to find out.
As Soumitra starts narrating his life story, the director lets the viewers form their own opinion of his life — his relationships, his penchant for theatre, poetry, painting and politics.
Qaushiq Mukherjee aka Q, as the iconic filmmaker Satyajit Ray, is a revelation. Prosenjit Chatterjee as matinee idol Uttam Kumar is unfortunately a misfit, purely in terms of physical appearances. The female actors do justice to their small but significant roles. Jisshu brings life to Soumitra’s onscreen moments as Apu in Apur Sansar, Mayurbahon in Jhinder Bondi, Feluda in Sonar Kella, Sandip from Ghare Baire, Amal from Charulata and so on. One of the standout scenes where Soumitra confesses to Dr Sanjay about his vulnerabilities, his passion to live life to the fullest on his own terms and the real reason behind agreeing to the project, touches you to the core.
The director explores his characters sensitively, negotiating the troughs and crests of life, evoking intense emotional responses from the audience. The film oscillates seamlessly from monochrome tones to moods of the present, without losing any of the solid grip on the storyline, ever. Most of the story is told in flashbacks and that is where the screenplay works. It grabs your attention almost immediately. Given the legend’s fan base that that continues to thrive, Parambrata deserves a round of applause for not just attempting a project like Abhijaan, but also executing it with fierce honesty and dedication.
Appu Prabhakar’s brilliant cinematography and music by National Award-winning composer Prabuddha Banerjee add value to the film.
Niggles? The film could have been a bit shorter and a few scenes could have been easily avoided.
Watch this film for the extensive research, and the earnest effort to capture the epic canvas that was Soumitra’s life and art.

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