Written & Directed by Amartya Bhattacharyya
Starring Amrita Chowdhury, Susant Misra, Swastik Choudhury, Hrushikesh Bhoi, Dipanwit Dashmohapatra
Indie Film Review by Taryll Baker
An ambitious project, and a charming one at that. Amartya Bhattacharyya’s Khyanikaa: The Lost Idea throws us into a wonderland filled with impeccable colour and strange but convivial characters. Simple yet convoluted; the plot seems to have some dream-like inspirational roots, but whenever the roots become visible the dirt crumbles back.
First and foremost, this film is beautiful to look at. When a film holds you through just the visual storytelling, that’s an achievement. Though the ideas are interesting, the way in which they’re explored is not. Thankfully, cinematographer and director Amartya Bhattacharyya provides a vivid canvas that paints itself as the camera moves blissfully through the rural landscapes. The work behind camera has clearly had some thought, the shot composition is remarkable. Not only that but the dialogue recordings are pristine, supplied with the sounds of nature, all mixed splendidly.
The talent isn’t just behind the camera, the cast is excellent also. Each actor brings their own quirkiness to their roles, creating a likeable connection between character and viewer. The script is underwhelming and although the actors deliver their lines carefully, it’s something that becomes noticeable from the beginning. That said, the way in which the conversations are captured through Bhattacharyya’s vision is stunning. Every location has been scouted carefully, creating a vivid and visually intricate world for our eyes to explore. There were some really nice sequences placed throughout, including a brilliantly choreographed dance performed by Amrita Chowdhury, however the story never felt captivating enough to hold interest past these.
The original score for Khyanikaa: The Lost Idea by Kisaloy Roy takes us on a ravishing journey through the Indian culture. Every scene is skilfully paired with Kisaloy’s work. The string arrangements are lush, and the plucked instruments complement them well. With modern film scoring, sometimes the music can become washed out due to an explosive bed of sound, but here it’s being brought to the foreground. It never outstays its welcome, instead it continues to evolve, bringing the visuals to life. This is truly brilliant work by Kisaloy.
There’s little to comment on further than the aforementioned, mostly because of the humdrum plot, so I’ll end it by saying this; it’s difficult to understand how a foreign film should be received, especially through translation, so although I believe the story to be tangled, others may say otherwise. The visual approach is breathtaking, and that’s something that can be appreciated by all. That’s what I took from it.