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Calcutta News – Review

Posted by Admin On January - 26 - 2008

Blessy the pathbreaking director in modern Malayalam cinema has come out with his fourth film in six years, Calcutta News which is as good as his previous oeuvres. The writer and director this time holds a mirror to metropolitan India’s ugly underbelly of trafficking in women and how a middle class girl from Kerala gets caught in it. It is riveting cinema and exhibits emotional depth and visual richness aided by lovely music, razor sharp script, superb camera, slick editing and above all knock-out performances from the lovable lead of Dileep and Meera. Blessy is able to bring savvy freshness to form hitherto unexplored. The story and settings are entirely different from the earlier films of the director which were basically family stories set in lower middleclass milieu in Kerala. Here it is a love story set against a big city like Kolkata and the plot unfolds like a thriller and has to be appreciated for tackling a relevant theme with a sensitive portrayal.

Ajit Thomas (Dileep) is an acclaimed investigative television anchor and producer with a leading channel ‘Calcutta News’, and is the son of a former footballer who grew up in Kolkata. His team at the channel includes news assistant Smita (Vimala Raman), and anchors Aruna (Manasa) and Sheela (Brinda). Ajit is a lovable guy who lives in a flat with his mom and sister and is active member of the Malayalee Samajam led by a comical president (Innocent) and his wife ( Bindu Panickkar) One day Ajit bumps into a newly married Malayalee couple while on work in a tram, but the guy is hostile when he tries to introduce himself as a Mallu! However, while editing the news, he is shocked to find that an unidentified body found near Kalighat resembles the rude guy he met in the tram.

Ajit’s investigative nature comes into the fore as he goes about finding the mystery behind the brutal murder of the guy. The guy was Hari (Indrajith), who had married an orphan Krishnapriya (Meera Jasmine) from Pattambi and brought her to Kolkata, before his brutal murder. Krishnapriya is unaware of her husband’s job or what he does for a living and is shattered to know about his death. However hope floats into her life after Ajit sort of becomes her protector and also gets attracted to her for her innocence and their mutual love for music.

Meanwhile Ajit finds that there is something rotten and discovers that Hari was one of the henchman in a sex racket that traps innocent girls and sells them to a one-arm bearded guy (Kathal Krishnamoorthy) who operates from Sonagachi, the largest red-light area in eastern India! Ajit along with his friends try to unravel the sex racket using their television channel, which leads to the bearded guy kidnapping Krishnapriya and taking her to his den in Songachi! Can Ajit in hot pursuit get through the maze of nightmarish and confusing alleys and by-lanes of Songachi to reach his lady love?

The film makes a strong statement against the trafficking of women and sex trade in big cities which are dependent on the gullible girls from villages across India including Kerala who are lured into it by middle men who con them into marriage. Blessy has a solid straightforward plot with an emotional core that pulls your heart strings like his previous films. Blessy has told it in a realistic manner through the eyes of his protagonist Ajit Thomas an ordinary journalist with guts and determination.

You cannot take your eyes off Ajit Thomas, played brilliantly by Dileep with a new hair style, glasses and looking every inch a television reporter who is expressive and riveting. The director has fleshed out his protagonist background adequately explaining his reason for falling in love with a country girl and making it believable. Meera is splendid pitching her act just right and portrays Krishnapriya’s strength and vulnerability beautifully. Indrajith has the right look and menace required for his character,Thambi Antony as doctor is impressive, Vimala is wasted while Krishnamoorthy creates fear as the sex trader.

Technically it is Blessy’s best film. The veteran cameraman S.Kumar has been able to capture the grimness of Songachi and its myriad alleys and the majesty of old Kolkatta its trams, Howrah Bridge, Kalighat, Oberoi Grand and its elegance amazingly. Count among other plus points Vijay Shankar’s fast cuts, Ranjit Ambadi’s make-up especially of Dileep and Manu Jagadh’s art work and choice of locations essential for the story.

And the biggest factor working for the film is the music of Debojyoti Mishra, based on classical forms and definitely there is a Bengali feel to it which Kerala listeners love (Remember Salil Chowdhary influence in Malayalam film songs of the 70’s and 80’s). Music is part of the film as they are married to the visuals by the lyrics of Vaylar Sarathchandra Varma with the melodious – Engino Vanna Panchavarnakili…. and the peppy Kannadi Kootile Kowmara Thumbi…. being the pick of the lot. The background score of Ouseappachan adds to the rich fare which makes the film gel.

Calcutta News is a vital, sardonic and disturbingly brave attempt within the commercial film format at good meaningful cinema that also entertains.

Source:- sify

4 Responses to “Calcutta News – Review”

  1. Rajesh says:

    I have been waiting for this movie for so long. Blessy and Meera Jasmine, was wondering what it could be. I am afraid if Blessy went wrong in casting Dileep for this role, or he went wrong in his dialogues for Dileep, with unncessary and excessive use of English. We feel strange or irritated on most of the English dialogue scens and felt if it was really necessary for those dialogues in English. One wonders, is it because of the dialogue itself or Dileep finding it difficult to deliver them with ease.

    Having said all the above, K.N is still a different and good movie. Full points for S. Kumar and Meera Jasmine for their efforts. I am afraid Blessy could have done better, both with his script and direction in many scenes, especially many scenes including Dileep. The climax scene with a function too proves typical of many movies, which could have been avoided for a movie like K.N

    Still I must thank Blessy for a movie like this.

  2. Vismaya says:

    Here is a better review at Movie Mazaa.

    Blessy’s Calcutta News is a slickly designed film that unfortunately has very little to say. Well intentioned, but astoundingly unexciting, the film is a major disappointment in terms of content, concerns and convictions.

    Ajith Thomas (Dileep) is a Senior Correspondent with Calcutta News who inadvertently runs into a Malayali couple, Hari (Indrajith) and Krishnapriya (Meera Jasmine), on the bustling streets of Kolkata, in the midst of a hectic Kali Puja shoot. When Hari is discovered murdered a few days later, Ajith along with Krishna, embarks on a perilous journey that would decidedly change both their lives forever.

    Social satire has always been Blessy’s forte; one which has at times, vehemently displayed a fierce passion that is at once authentic and intense. The Blessian protagonist is hence quite at ease donning the spectator’s garb, be it Madhavan in Kazhcha or Monichan in Palunku. However, Calcutta News badly falters as the censure this time around is distinctly strained; arising out of a hoard of illogical and terribly specious sequences that are seemingly as disjointed as they possibly can get. And it doesn’t help a bit that the film has as its premise a done to death theme, albeit set in a different milieu.

    This is a film that fervently aspires to be something but sadly turns out to be something else. It’s unbelievably unsure of itself. One moment it’s a drippy, dopey tale of romance and a psychological thriller the next; at times it’s a moral fable and a little later a surreal parable. It means to be seductive but merely progresses from the contrived to the manipulative. There is a frantic attempt to maintain an air of mystery through out, which falls flat on its face, since it gets increasingly wary as the minutes pass on. Bewilderedly led round and round along the street maze of Kolkata, you dolefully lose what’s left of your curiosity, when at the end of it all you find yourself stranded where you had set off a couple of hours back. And it does ultimately go overboard with a totally theatrical denouement that is clogged up with visually spectacular shots sans a reason or purpose.

    It’s refreshingly wonderful to see S. Kumar back in action after a while. His camera generates sheer poetry on celluloid. Having realized that there is not much of a story to bank on, it assumes a life of its own and sets out on a voyage, capturing a host of dazzling hues, detailed portraits and outstanding moments in the process. Be it the hazy Kolkata rains or the star studded nights, the russet avenues or the raging river, Kumar is at them with a zealous vengeance and the results are nothing short of captivating.

    I am appalled by the lead performances though. For, Calcutta News does neither of its leads any particular favors. Dileep in a journo act looks refreshingly modish, and yet it isn’t what I would term an effortless makeover from his usual Romeo roles. He staggers on quite a few occasions and essentially needs a few lessons in articulation. Meera Jasmine on the other hand runs the danger of being stereotyped as the damsel in distress; she looks a tad jaded and world-weary throughout and startlingly manages at times, in sudden spurts of eagerness, to ham to the hilt as well. Of course, there might still be some appeal to the outcome if there were any charisma in the leads or any chemistry between them. But that’s not the case either. There’s absolutely no spark between them, forget a fire, though they strive desperately to rub up some warmth.

    The film has no particular result; rather it shoves a contrived ending down our throats as we still wait with several of those jigsaw bits dying to fit together. It remains caught up in its baffling rationale, and ends up looking scheming and gauche. The more intricate it tries to be, the less convincing it becomes and hence rightly invites ponderings about method over matter.

  3. seo blog says:

    This is an interesting article, your a very good writer,keep it up.

  4. Nice blog I really like your writing style,it is really interesting to read your articles.

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