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Dharmajuddha Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : / 5

Dharmajuddha Movie Review : Power-packed performances pull this intense story through

With Dharmajuddha, Raj Chakraborty focusses on the terrible consequences of communal violence and the subsequent incitement of riots. It is definitely a departure from the kind of films he has made so far, both in treatment as well as character development and acting, in general, creating certain settings that can be called claustrophobic and crowded. However, this film is aimed at creating a certain uneasiness, asking questions that are all too real, and showcasing incidents that are too close for comfort, with a good deal of graphic detailing to make it even more believable.
Swatilekha Sengupta’s unfortunate demise last year was even more vividly felt as she brought to life the resilient ‘Ammi’, who guides the strangers to safety and makes them interact with one another, by hook or by crook. She is gentle and compassionate, but at the same time, has a strength about her that dominates the screen effortlessly. In one scene, she aptly describes herself as the one who looks for the greater good, and her role is crucial to keep the narration moving forward.
As expected, Ritwick Chakraborty is chillingly flawless in his portrayal of Raghav. With stupendous comic timing, his mastery over body movements and methodically creating a persona that is aimed at disruption, he is played off against Soham Chakraborty’s bright-eyed Jabbar, a man who’s driven to violence because of his circumstance. Subhashree as a pregnant Munni gains sympathy quickly, but the surprisingly strong presence that often steals the spotlight is Parno Mittra’s Shabnam, who can fold a piece of roti and wield a large knife with equal ease. A special mention must be made of the styling – the costume and makeup, especially in certain scenes where the texture of the skin is crucial to understand certain aspects of the individual in question – a treat to observe.
The background – both ambiance and sound – has been done in a way that benefits the powerful performances from the lead cast, capturing very realistic noises and faint sounds that enhance the impact of certain key scenes in minute ways, like the sudden fluctuations of an emergency light whose battery is about to go out, or the gentle tick-tick of the wall clock that Ammi checks every now and then. But there are some moments which could have been better explained, and certain characters could’ve had more space to be developed in a stronger way. Certain bonds seemed a bit forced and unconvincing, and certain strengths practically implausible, but still, Dharmajuddha is definitely a movie that paints a convincing picture of how incitements work, and how friends turn enemies in the face of blind hatred, reminding us, once again, of the pity of war, and what violence and misinformation turns one into.

— Poorna Banerjee

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