Movie : Kashmakash
Director : Rituparno Ghosh
Cast : Riya Sen, Raima Sen, Prosenjit, Jishu Sengupta, Dhritiman Chatterjee
This is one of those films severely rooted in authentic detailing and atmospherics, with a contrasting fairytale aura.
Kashmakash is the dubbed Hindi version of Rituparno Ghosh’s Benglai film Nauka Dubi, based on Rabindranath Tagore’s story by the same name.
Set in the 1920s, the film tells us about the lives of four individuals bound together by circumstances. A simple village girl (Riya Sen) mistakes Ramesh (Jishu Sengupta) to be her husband, as the wedding was arranged without the bride and groom meeting. Happy to look after him and the home, the girl slowly falls in love with Ramesh. But Ramesh, on realizing that she is not the girl he married, sets off to find her real husband. Meanwhile, he is forced to move away from his true love Hemnalini (Raima Sen) who is distraught knowing of his sudden marriage.
When her father (Dhritiman Chatterjee, incredibly restrained) takes Hemnalini to a trip to Kashi, she meets local doctor Nalinaksha (Prosenjit) and they form a connection. She suggests they marry, but coincidentally also bumps into former lover Ramesh. She is now in a ‘kashmakash’ (dilemma), as are the other characters.
The delicate stories are interwoven dexterously and don’t seem as improbable as they are. Performances are superlative. Raima Sen proves to be the scene-stealer, portraying the intelligence and sensitivity of Hemnalini expertly. Her relationship with her father encapsulating respect and friendship is one of the most delicious aspects of the film.
The tale is one based on mysterious coincidences and the hand of destiny moving the characters along. It may strike some viewers as being too fantastical, but the story is a fairytale at heart! In fact, it has you thinking back to the lyrical Raincoat that Rituparno Ghosh directed in 2004.
Ghosh takes his time establishing the characters and while that may delight one of kind of a viewer, it’s also likely to make several others restless.
The vote is likely to be split on whether it makes sense to dub a film or sub-title it, keeping the nuances of the language. Having seen the dubbed version of the film, it is certain that the dubbing works only marginally and sounds affected in several portions. Having seen several Bengali and other language films with sub-titles, it is undoubted that keeping the authentic language with apt sub-titles is a far more authentic way to appreciate a movie.
One would still recommend Rituparno Ghosh’s Kashmakash for the incredible story, luscious characters, and massive performances.