Chotushkone (2014) Bengali Movie Review

At the end of the day filmmaking I feel is about how well you narrate a story. Srijit Mukherji no doubt knows how to narrate a story. While I was waiting to watch this movie from Sep 26th, the day it released in West Bengal, it finally made it to Bombay this week.Chotushkone (Quadrangle) was marketed as a thriller, but I feel it would be laziness on our part to slot this film in just one genre; it is a quirky film where Srijit clearly wants to have fun and at the same time engage the audience as well.

Chotushkone PosterOne major reason why Chotushkone works is because of its casting. Srijit seems to have fun with the film, blurring the lines of reality and illusion. In a scene where Parambrata Chatterjee (Joy) tells Aparna Sen (Trina) that he has only made two films and that he will gain experience by working with seniors including her, we know it is in reference to Parambrata himself who apart from being an actor has made 2 films till now (he is currently busy making his 3rd film,Lorai).

When Chiranjit Chakraborty (Dipto) tells Gautam Ghose (Sakyo) that success of commercial films leads to making of art films like the ones made by Gautam, he goes on to explain how cinema is a proletariat medium rather than bourgeois. For those who are not clued into Bengali cinema, Chiranjit is an actor who was associated with commercial potboilers of the 80’s and 90’s while Gautam represents art cinema in real life.

More than a thriller, Srijit makes us embark us on a journey of creative process, while Gautam’s story deals with how a creator deals with characters he or she has created, I felt it was an ode to Mrinal sen’s telefilm- Tasveer Apni Apni. We all know how Mrinal Sen used his films to propagate the idea of Marxism, later on he was accused by same party cadres of betraying the movement because he had started questioning the idea of Marxism. Similarly you see in Gautam’s story how a character accuses the writer of being a sellout.

In Chiranjit’s story if you look at the surface level it is about cigarette addiction, but look closer and you will realize that it is one helluva story which gives a big middle finger to the censor board and it’s stupid rule of having the ‘smoking kills’ scroll in films. Or in an even more boarder concept it is about a filmmaker or artist wanting to express his ideas, but then like the police officer the moral police comes into picture and puts pressure on filmmakers on how they should make a film, or on what topic they should make a film etc. Well as a country we drove out M.F Hussain, just because we could not understand his art and could not respect his freedom of expression.

In Aparna Sen’s story we have a character who is named Meenakshi Iyer, an English teacher. Interestingly Meenakshi Iyer was the name of the character played by Konkona Sen in Aparna Sen’s own Mr. & Mrs.Iyer. Srijit clearly enjoys having fun with his audience, it is like a magician pulling out his tricks one after another in order to entertain you.

Chotushkone Still 1Chotushkone on one hand uses all these metaphors on how a film gets made, how characters are developed etc and it also indulges the audience in what is real and what is not. It tries to ask us if can art be original.

More than death which seems to be quite in focus as a factor in the film, Srijit I feel is interested in the creative process of why people want to tell a story. He is sporting enough to use a cliche like breakdown of car in middle of road, something which he did brilliantly in interval block for Autograph and present it in another way which elevates the scene to something beyond a routine cliche.

One thing I absolutely loved was the depiction of love between Moloy, Trina and Dipto. It is wonderful to see how this episode is handled and it showcases how you can love two people at one time.

Music of the film as usual just as in all Srijit’s films is top notch, though I felt the ‘Boba Tunnel’ song was a hindrance to the story and not needed. Like in his previous film Srijit here gives tribute to Tagore with ‘Chirosakha’ which comes towards the climax and at the beginning of the movie.

It is good to see Srijit not using gimmicky camera moments like he did in some of his previous films,he now comes across as a director who is now confident about his story telling skills.

Chotushkone is a quirky, fun ride which Srijit pulls of elegantly. Had it been a director of less calibre it would have been a mess. 2014 would certainly be a memorable year for Srijit with two of his films hitting the bulls eye critically and commercially (the other film being Jaatishwar)

Chotushkone reaffirms the fact that Srijit is a director to watch out for.

Note-Chotushkone is currently playing in select cinemas in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi/NCR, Bangalore, Hyderabad with English subtitles.

 

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6 thoughts on “Chotushkone (2014) Bengali Movie Review

  1. With each and every film Srijit has become a better storyteller but somehow his films lack a technical beauty to it. I find the cinematography to be jarring, largely hand held and jumpy. I wish he sorted this out and became a complete filmmaker.

    I liked Chotuskone for everything but the cinematography and editing.

  2. Indeed a really nice movie .
    I am not a voracious bangla movie watcher , so pardon me for asking this .

    Can you or anybody explain to me the relevance / significance of the last scene in which

    In the hospital Trina and Dipto are sitting on the bench with trina crying . Moloy sees this from a distance and tells the receptionist – to tell Mrs. Sen that her friend had visited and then he leaves , looks back and smiles.
    I want to know why he refers to her as Mrs. Sen …. When nowhere in the movie her surname has been mentioned . And her friend had visited ?
    Is this some reference to some movie or real aparna sen … Can somebody please tell me

    Will be very kind of you

    • Hi Sudeshna,

      I’m not sure if this is the exact interpretation but here’s what I feel of the last scene-

      1. The name Mrs.Sen is incidental because Trina’s husband is referred to as Moloy Sen in
      the film so its only logical that her name is Trina Sen now.
      2. Moloy sees Trina finding some solace in the arms of Dipto & hence wants to move
      away without disturbing her. He tells the receptionist that her friend had visited,instead
      of saying husband as that might have upset her,even made her feel he was probably suspecting
      her of infidelity etc.
      3. Of course the very usage of Sen as a surname instead of say a Chatterjee/Chowdhury/Ghosh
      etc itself could be a nod to the real Aparna Sen as well.

  3. Not impressed about this film as much as you are and neither it is one of the best of Indian cinema in my list as Sethu placed it for 2014…

    The film has its moments but the 3 short stories are a downer and the director’s indulgence to shoot it in RBG… And to a certain extent the film is quite predictable for a thriller with the Parambrata angle…

    • It is definitely not best films of this year, it is an above average film, as for RBG Srijit is very gimmicky director, i hope he abandons that part of him, as storyteller he is one of the best we have in recent times in Bangla film industry.

  4. Srijit’s love for gimmick (sometime falsely interpreted as style) over content can also be gauged from a few other things: all his stories have this “shocking” or gimmicky plots, dialogues in his film are too stilted or flippant (late Satyajit Ray used to think in his “Our Films, Their Films” book that it takes years for a director to write dialogues) dialogues, and jerky or amateurish camera movements from his very first film. In sum, he is good but shamelessly overrated.

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