Finally Bhalobasha Movie Review: Anjan Dutt’s Film Is A Reflective Meditation on Love

Cast: Raima Sen, Arjun Chakrabarty, Anirban Bhattacharya, Arindam Sil, Sauraseni Maitra

Anjan Dutt has long been a chronicler of Kolkata in his films. One has almost come to recognize the signature tune of an Anjan Dutt film – urbanites dealing with existential crisis, people coping with broken families and relationships, antsy, edgy characters who have given up on their dreams and often operate in a morally twilight zone, hurting each other, seeking some sort of closure, redemption, with the city hovering large in the backdrop. And almost all of the drama no-holds-barred, most often an octave or two higher than one is comfortable with.

Finally Bhalobasha retains some of these tropes, particularly in terms of the characters – a physically abused wife looking for freedom from the hell she inhabits, a dying man seeking friendship with the male nurse who tends to him in a hospice, a confused young girl from a broken family who bonds with an elderly man suffering from arthritis. Yet it is in many ways a film unlike most in Dutt’s oeuvre, nowhere more so than the narrative moving out of Kolkata (which, though the backdrop of one of the stories, is never ‘The City’ as it is in his other films) to Asansol and Darjeeling. And despite its tagline, ‘Hormones run faster than emotions’, this is an uncharacteristically subdued film, with the director eschewing the in-your-face for the understated. Also, unlike the typical Dutt film, the music never overwhelms the narrative, though the three songs that punctuate its stories are exceptional, as is the background score which enhances the mood immeasurably.

This is a film that revels in its small moments. Having just witnessed his boss (Arindam Sil) brutally battering his wife Malavika (Raima Sen), the greenhorn assistant Bibek (Arjun Chakrabarty) tentatively walks up to her and asks he if she is okay and would like a glass of water. A guitar chord strikes in the background and you know a connection has been made. A young aspiring actor dying of AIDS, Joy (Anirban Bhattacharya), tells his nurse Rajat (Suprobhat Das) that he had always wanted to come to this particular spot with his lover who ended up marrying someone else and moving to America. When Rajat asks why ‘she’ left him, Joy, twirling a flower in his hand, says, nonchalantly, his lover was a man. Or witness the almost orgasmic pleasure on Dinesh’s (Anjan Dutt) face as a young Ahiri (Sauraseni Maitra) sprays his arthritis-wracked back with a painkiller. These are moments charged with sensuality and yet work better because of the understatement that marks the execution….Click here to read the full story