Bheetu (The Coward) (2015) Bengali Movie Review

A psycho-thriller, obsessed love and lust cocktail or a story of fight back – the movie Bheetu (the Coward) can fit into any of these buckets. The movie opens up with the presence of two different cross-verticals in our society – a beggar asking for some food in a local ‘dhaaba’ one night – and on the other ‘glamour’ side, some young groups boozing and dancing in a local disc. The drunken and oblivion faces of the boys and girls is no way connected to the pale and  gloomy face of the beggar who looks up to the sky to utter on his own “There might be storm tonight”. Does he meant only weather by the word ‘storm’ or it’s into somebody’s life, a prophecy of some danger ahead. Matching the prophecy, the sequence follows a brutal murder and rape of two drunken girls returning from that disc that night in the hearts of Kolkata by a gang of two or three reprobates. Starting with such an awful and dramatic clip the movie slowly unfolds the darker side of the human life to reveal the helplessness of women or even children.

The following scene displays the protagonist of the movie – a girl named Sohini (Parno Mitra) having nightmares about a childhood molestation incident in her life by a close relative. She still couldn’t recover from the trauma and also couldn’t forgive her elder sister Rohini (Sudipta Chakraborty) for not rescuing her from that incident. Rohini is a wheel-chair bound depressive woman whose husband leaves her and their daughter to Sohini because of her mental and physical state. Meanwhile, the other protagonist of the movie, Rony (Ritwick Chakraborty), the rapist shown in the opening scene carries his feeling of both love and lust for Sohini. He and his mates are displayed as extremely perverted rogues who think of nothing but sex. Sohini, an advertising agency employee has Andy (Saheb Bhattacharya) as her boyfriend. Andy is an hotelier’s son where Rony works as a waiter. The plot revolves around the pervert Rony trying to fulfill his sexual desires for Sohini and how she fights back, not only against Rony but also against the fear which she was carrying since childhood.

But is that all? What resemblance do the murder scene from the beginning has in the lives of Sohini, Rohini, Rony and Andy? Is it only to cowardestablish the character of Rony, or are all of them connected with the incident some way or the other? Why is Rony shown so dominant in the movie, is it the character requirement or….? What exactly are the cops looking at while investigating the case? Too many questions – sorry friends, I am not a spoiler, so not revealing the end or suspense; you need to go watch the movie. What I can only state is the ‘key’ to the mystery is the opening scene – please don’t miss it. You will also get clues while the movie rolls over, watch them closely, ask questions, you will find the end. It’s a strong and balanced screenplay by Utsav Mukherjee and Abhijit Mallik – a blend of both mystery and human relationships. The story also reveals how the kinship between the two sisters (Sohini and Rohini) which was bitter like anything took a much better shape in the end.

Ritwick being a powerhouse of talent, did full justice to the ‘Rony’ role, with his expressions and dialogue delivery –just awesome. Parno looked to be improving day by day; especially in some scenes with Ritwick and Sudipta she was equally good. Saheb was ‘okay’ as a stand by character, though he too had involvements in some of the scenes. Above all, Sudipta – as a handicap, dejected and timid woman – is just too good with her performance. Not sure why there are not many roles for an actor like Sudipta in our industry.  Also we have the ‘Chander Pahar’ director Kamaleshwar Mukherjee with his cameo as a cop investigating the rape and murder case from the beginning. Much noticeable is the cute little girl who plays the daughter of Rohini in the movie.

Director Utsav Mukherjee opens the movie with a smooth pace, deeps a little slow in between but picks up the tempo soon. The making is smart and also daring for Bengali cinema; especially with scenes of Rony stealing ladies inners or masturbating by looking at the clips or videos (in his cellphone) of Sohini just walking around, reveals his obsession and perversion. For Utsav, Bheetu is his second Bengali feature film after Half-Serious which was released in 2013. It is definitely a watchable (for adults) with smooth and breathy soundtrack by Neel Adhikari and sequential editing techniques and excellent cinematography by Shamik Chatterjee and Indranil Mukherjee respectively.

-Dhruba Bhattacharya

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