Sunday, March 2, 2014

Jatiswar review: A Journey of reincarnation

Note: This review contains spoilers.

A Gujrati boy loved a Bengali girl. Girl said, if he can write a full Bengali song and sing it for her, only then she can consider his love-proposal. They estranged. After a gap of three years they met. Boy learned the language of his love, wrote a song and prepared himself to sing it in front of her, for her. The span of three years, a journey for him to reach and learn a totally different genre, only for his love. The journey of love taught him to love the language and literature also.

A man of Portuguese origin, arrived in Bengal of early 19th century, is deeply influenced by the Bengali culture and language, as well as Hindu religion. He started to learn the language and become a renowned folk poet of his era. He composed a number of Bengali devotional folk songs in devotion of Goddesses Kali and Durga. He was also known for his performances in different literary face-off, called as "Kavigaan er Ladai".
Director Srijit Mukherjee's new venture Jatiswar offered the story of Rohit Mehta (the gujrati boy) and Antony Firingee (the renowned kavi-poet of 19th century) together in one bouquet. This tale of two men may told in two different stories with two different time, style and era - but the fragrance is same. Two men united through their journey towards their extreme destiny, only for their love, by their passion to reach somewhere they are unwanted, unwelcome. Jatiswar is their story of reincarnation, from lover to devotee. Two men from two times were connected with the same string of love, passion and devotion.

Along with Rohit and Antony Firingee, Jatiswar told us another story of Kushal Hazra, an isolated librarian, connects Rohit and Antony, through his reincarnation, or, it can be said Antony Firingee connects with Rohit by his own reincarnation through Kushal Hazra.

Prasenjit Chatterjee again crossed his every boundary line as Kushal Hazra. It could be said that he completed a 360 degree journey from Autograph through Baishe Shrabon to Jatiswar along with the same director. His every movement, every posture, every mannerism, the look, all's too perfect as Kushal Hazra, an ordinary common man with an extraordinary vision, while Prasenjit's Antony somehow a bit repetitive portrayal of his Lalan Fakir (Moner Manush). But, he never failed to surprise with his superlative acting skill, he has now shown in his recent films.
Jissu Sengupta as Rohit Meta done total justice to his character, more matured and impressive in second half though. The movie, itself, could have been better in first half, was more matured in second half. Jissu portrayed Rohit with such love and care; his love for the lady of his existence, his journey through Unknown Boulevard of language, become real words in screen.

Swastika Mukherjee was an automatic choice of Mahamaya (Rohit's love interest) and Soudamini (A Bengali widow, saved from her funeral with her husband, satidaho, by Antony, later married to him) and she done both of them as she does.
Srijit Mukherjee, the maker of the movie, touched his audience with his own narrative style from Autograph. But, his viewers could expect a simple substantial story, less stylized, this time, though. Jatiswar had the potential but sometimes it had lost its own track, simplicity replaced by over-stylization. Resemblance of Mahamaya and Saudamini could have been more apt and less-predictable by difference. Some characters, like Mahamaya's friends could have been less important in the total narration.

The film created some magic moments that really appealed to its viewers. The scene of music competition, where Rohit shared his stage with Kabir Suman, the spotlights revealed them one by one, with the orchestra. Rohit started his song for Mahamaya, made it the heart of the movie with the music and words and off course, with the presence of the maestro of the song, the Gaanwala and Jatiswar of Banglagaan, the writer-composer of the music - Suman Chattopaddhayay (now Kabir Suman). It took us back into our past, our youth, our love, our cry, our passion, our very own Bengali music, which reincarnated by Suman himself. It also remind us how dearly we missed him now. We can feel the flavor of him throughout the film, but the scene, especially made the movie a real delight with its musical fragrance... and the scenes of Kavigaan, really worthy to mention for their creation. Everything, from sets to props to act - they brought the era of 19th century very much.
Jatiswar made a journey of reincarnation of love for music, poetry and Bengali language through its narration...which is pure in its own form and will be reincarnated by the language's poets and writers more and more...

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