Movie review: Charulata 2011 revealing why Charu exists in the real
Charulata is a literary image of lonely married women in the real world. The story of Charulata from the time when Rabindranath Tagore had written the story “Nastonir” has become the reality of Charu in present times. The story of Charulata has become a Slice of Real Life.
Whatever happens in the universe happens for a reason. If a wife becomes a Charu, feels lonely, wanders in the virtual world of Facebook in search of a friend cum lover, falls in an affair with him, and cheats on her husband, there is definitely a reason. It is lack of sexual intimacy, attention and company that leads Charu to step out of the marital bondage and slip into an extra marital affair, a common social phenomenon in metropolises and a common matter of discussion in the articles often published in Times Life, a weekly supplement of the Times of India.
In Charulata 2011 directed by Agnidev Chattopadhyay, Rituparna Sengupta’s character admits, “I am suffering from the lack of it (sex)”. Are women thirsty and hungry for sex? No. When love affairs are incomplete without exchange of kisses or lip-lock these days, how can marital life be happy without the most passionate game in bed? Besides, sexual love not only beefs up marital life but also makes women feel secure, and that they exist for their men.
Arjun Chakraborty’s Bikram is not familiar with this truth in Charulata 2011. The editor of a Bengali daily, Bikram is older than Jaytee by 14 years. Busy writing editorials and planning for the daily edition of the newspaper, he fails to notice her restlessness, feel her loneliness, and hear her pleas. Naturally, the Charu in Jaytee turns to the social media Facebook and makes friends with Amol. Thanks to Facebook, she does not meet the fate of the lonely damsel in Percy Busshey Shelley’s “The Moon”.
The pace of the movie is neither slow nor fast. The plot is compact and concise, having a smooth flow and no loose chunk of the story. The sub plot involving Jaytee’s elder brother and his wife taking advantage of Bikram’s goodness and robbing him of 10 lack rupees is deftly merged with the main plot. The direction is superb reflecting Agnidev Chattopadhyay’s showmanship in telling the story “Nastonir” through lens.
The script of Charulata 2011 is contemporary giving space to the needs of day-to-day life – Facebook, condom and f**k. The script penned by Sudipa Mukhopadhyay is witty and poetic, including some touching dialogues. Especially, the Facebook chat or conversation between Charu and Amol is reminiscent of the old times when lovebirds used to exchange sweet nothings through hand-written letters.
The tone of the script is somewhere light, and somewhere serious. Nowadays, Bengali movies are somewhat poetic in feel. The script of Abohoman, Moner Manush, 22 se Srabon, Aparajita Tumi and Charulata 2011 is replete with poetic touches. The performance of Arjun Chakraborty, Rituparna Sengupta, Dibendu Mukherjee, Kaushik Sen is natural, not a powerhouse. They have done justice to their respective characters.
What makes Charulata 2011 a must watch? It is the well-thought out ending that throws a question “Who is Charulata?” This Bengali movie is a route to the root of why a Charulata exists in married women, and why she takes fancy to an Amol.