Directed by: #AtanuGhosh
Written by: #AtanuGhosh
To say, Indian cinema is diverse would be a colossal understatement. With around 1,600 films produced in as many as 20 different languages every year, the Indian film industry is one of the most extensive and varied in the world. Many people, of course, think immediately of the iconic costumes and colour of the Hindi language film industry of Bollywood. But the historic Bengali film industry is a distinctly different kettle of fish.
Atanu Ghosh’s film, a far cry from the glamour of Bollywood, which sees Sayoni (Jaya Ahsan) – a law officer – reunited with her former boyfriend and swindler, Asimabha (Prosenjit Chatterjee). He reappears not so coincidentally after 15-years, while Sayoni is in the process of writing a book about fraudsters and plays out like a gritty cat-and-mouse thriller. It creates interesting chemistry between our two main characters, and both actors play off against one another really well, with plenty of the back-and-forth power struggles we expect from this genre of film. Sayoni, who at first seems meek, soon proves she’s not going to be the victim we all expect her to be, while Asimabha leaves the film having been taken down a peg or two.
But while the performances are generally good all-round, the dialogue itself is rather weak and, occasionally, makes little sense. In fact, the writing overall isn’t great: the narrative too suffers from some of the same issues and often comes across as being unclear and jumbled. By the end of the film, I still wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, who was who, where certain characters had gone, or even what the point of them was. It’s also worth noting that some of the subtitles have slight spelling and grammatical errors, although, in fairness, this never became an issue and everything’s still understandable.
Debajyoti Mishra’s music, however, is excellent and utilises many traditional Indian instruments—including the iconic sitar. It melds well with the film, and the strong, classical Indian vibe fully supports Appu Prabhakar’s cinematography. Which ably portrays both the hustle-and-bustle of life in a modern Indian city and the country’s natural beauty in equal measure.
Robibaar got off to a strong start and had the potential to be so much better than it was. It begins to trail off slightly towards the middle of the film, and by the end, we’re no longer sure where we are or what has happened. This might not have been the case if the film weren’t so long. At almost two hours in length, a considerable amount of filler could have been cut to make the film more concise, preventing it from falling into mediocrity. And without losing anything important in the process. Having said that, Robibaar is still an enjoyable film overall, and fans of Indian cinema or psychological thrillers, in particular, will undoubtedly find plenty to like.