"Angshumaner Chhobi" is an impressive directorial debut largely because of the competence with which the director has engaged his viewers in an intriguing, and somewhat complex narrative. In spite of all the complex layers that the film offers, it is not at all a pseudo-cerebral film. Rather it makes us go through a multi-layered ride in explorations in the hues of filmmaking. It is not so much of the much-used film-within-a-film device, than it is a depiction of the filming rigours experienced by a young filmmaker protagonist named Angshuman, and the complex struggles undergone by the leading characters in his film (called Anandi Katha). And there is a crime angle too.
The director has already delivered multiple acclaimed tele-films, and hence he has been able to avoid the indulgences common in first-time directors. He has been able to use a terrific ensemble cast that blends perfectly into the narrative. The screenplay is shorn of excesses. The cinematography has been made use of in the right manner to help us rightly focus on the emotional curves of the characters. The music (by Rocket Mandal) is apt, and so is the editing.
The stellar performances, that happen to be the essential hallmark of "Angshumaner Chhobi", feature the nuanced portrayal of the veteran egoist actor Pradyut Mukherjee by none other than Soumitra Chatterjee; Indrani Halder as Madhura Sen - the one time National award winning actress who has had an unsatisfactory career and even acts in jatra for a living. Indraneil Sengupta, from Mumbai, has been cast as Angshuman, the director who has come from Italy only to make his dream feature film debut in his mother-tongue. While Indraneil's voice has been dubbed by Aabir Chatterjee, I must say that the model-turned-actor does look convincing in the role. Tota Roy Choudhury is the surprise package among the actors, donning the role of a gigolo with aplomb. Others in the cast include: Rudranil Ghosh, Ananya Chatterjee, Bhaskar Banerjee, Shoma Chakraborty, Pijush Ganguly, Anjana Basu & Sabyasachi Chakraborty.
The cast makes us so much involved that we cannot escape being drenched by the climaxing of the powerful feelings. That is a rarity in many a parallel film or one that treads the middle path, trying to yield a sensible treatise. Personally, I applaud the efforts of the makers of such films which offer entertainment as well as food for thought. It is so tough to achieve! And Atanu Ghosh succeeds; mostly. The psychological probings are not diluted by the dramatic elements. Yet, there isn't an overburdening of the narrative with a 'more intelligent than thou' execution.
At the core, there is a simple tale, or rather there are simple tales, of vulnerability, insecurity, camouflaging, clinging, longing & transgressing. There is even death - which acts like a hook, and which gets probed almost like it happens in a whodunit. The characters in the film made by Angshuman & the protagonists playing the leads in Angshuman's film, viz. Pradyut and Madhura, merge beautifully towards the end.
I wish Atanu Ghosh all the success. May he get all the success that he deserves, and more importantly, may we get more such sensible & sensitive films.