Let me tell you at the very outset that Srijit Mukherji’s Baishe Srabon (22nd of the Bengali month-Srabon) fails to work as thriller, but many other aspects of the film is enjoyable and watchable. It is 2011 and the City of Joy is witnessing serial murdes similar to Stoneman Murders, and the killer leaves behind every time a Bengali poem near the scene of murder. The case is being handled by Abhijit Pakrashi (Parambrata Chatterjee) who is unable to crack the case while the murder count piles up. His boss Amit Srivastav (Rakesh Sharma) advises him to take the help of his ex-colleague Probir Roy (Prosenjit Chatterjee). Probir is an ex-cop who used extra judicial method to kill people, whom he thought are criminals and to get a confession from a suspect he would go to any extent. Probir has been suspended from the police force due to this. An initially reluctant Probir agrees to help Abhijit solve the case.
If you are a fan of thriller films, it would be easy for you to guess the climax in the first ten minutes itself. The film takes inspiration from films like The Recruit and The Righteous Kill. When we are introduced to Abhijit it is mentioned that he is one of the brightest officers, yet he does not even care to do the basics of investigations. He does not even have a profile of victims, while Probir who is suspended by the court is reinstated into police force in one day. Probir’s intelligence is mentioned during various parts of the film, then why he has to beat convicts is something I do not understand, because he could have made a water tight case even without the accused’s confession if he was intelligent.
I think one pattern which can be found in all murders is that he is well aware of Bengali poetry, so the killer must be someone who has read Bengali Literature, why does this point escape Abhijit is baffling to note actually. Also on the other hand Raima Sen who plays Parambrata’s love interest adds no value to the main story, even if her character was chopped from the whole film it would not have mattered at all. One thing Srijit gets right is the music and background score in his films, but this time none of the songs made an impact on me and the bgm was loud and over the top, may be to compensate the lack of tension in the film. Srijit does not use routine song and dance, but uses montages in this film which makes it even more boring and repetitive of what is conveyed to us earlier. Like the Song Ekbar Bol, when Abhijit smokes weed, and in the next scene when he drinks alcohol for the first time, the impact could have been much better if the song was removed. As in the next scene anyway he expresses his love and longing for Amrita. The other song is Je Kota Din which comes after the breakup of Abhijit & Amrita, the scene has Abhijit breaking down in his bathroom, but then we are to witness another montage of love making scenes between Amrita & Abhijit which does not add any value or point to the story.
One more grouse that I have is that after such an interesting climax, Srijit does not allow the audience to soak in the impact of climax, and one more song follows which takes of the tension from minds of audience. Now let us look at a point which the film makes, and which I feel was the soul of the movie and I really liked it as it deals with censorship by state, under the name of obscenity. We have seen and read how bans are applied on films, books and anything just because they/it challenges the pre-convinced notion of people’s idea about religion or morality. The recent killing of a man (in Pune) proves how this is dangerous for a Nation and it seems nobody has seen the actual post on Facebook. What would happen if we do not allow our poets to sing, our writers to write and show a mirror to society. As Amrita says in the police station that kissing in Public is not an IPC offence, but you see right wingers and the police routinely going and humiliating teens anywhere or rather across the Country.
In the scene where Nibaron (Goutam Ghose) is interviewed by Probir and Abhijit, Nibaron answers beautifully that it is not a movement that fails,rather it is a society which fails. Ironically Probir’s character in the movie stands for power and government, he is someone who comes from old school feudal family, who believes in the use of force and power to get what he want, be it confession or his job back, while Nibaron, the poet is the voice of the common man whose voice has been stifled over and over again and yet he finds the resilience to somehow fight back.
As usual Srijit takes his time to introduce Prosenjit Chatterjee, as he comes on screen almost after thirty minutes. He teases the audience and the fans, it helps in building an enigma around his character, The final twist would work more for an Bengali audience who already know Prosenjit, but what about others who have not watched any of his films, then the twist is not much of shock value for them. While in Autograph, Srijit was deliberating avoiding Prosenjit’s star charisma, he uses it here effectively, to move the story forward, like Srinandita asks Arun (Prosenjit) what should she call her, he says Sir, in this film to Abhijit asks Probir what should he call him and he replies it with sir. Prosenjit carries of the role with an ease and charm, if you look carefully you’ll see that the character is written in such a way that you are bound to hate him, but he still makes you root for the character. Baishe Srabon is overall an average film with inspired story-line that works mainly due to its lead actor.