11 Oct 2021
Nilanjana Rudra, Satyajit Das
Debaprasad Halder, Biswarup Chakraborty, Nilanjana Rudra
Satyajit Das’ short film Sesh Porjonto follows Poroma (Nilanjana Rudra), whose lazy afternoon is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Sumanta (Biswarup Chakraborty). He has come from the Home Ministry Office to inform her that her ex-husband, who was an officer in the merchant Navy and has long been presumed dead, was in fact arrested by Iraqi soldiers and held captive for 20 years. Now, he is on the way to visit his wife and, perhaps, disrupt her peaceful existence. This ostensibly simple plot is made impossible to follow by both the editing and the sound design.
The opening conversation between Sumanta and Poroma is a mess. For one thing, the scene is either very poorly lit, or it was shot in front of a green screen (although why this would be necessary when we can clearly see that they filmed on location is anyone’s guess). On top of this, the camera cuts rapidly between the characters, often in the middle of a line, which ruins any flow the scene could have. Elsewhere, Das employs long takes arbitrarily, and never to emphasise an important moment. Perhaps most frustrating, however, is the sound design: every line of dialogue seems to have been dubbed over, and even then it can be almost impossible to hear what is being said under the score. The sound mixing in general is frustrating; dialogue, sound effects and music play at the same volume, and often at the same time. To put it mildly, this is incredibly distracting.
One positive (and in isolation it is a big positive) is the soundtrack’s inclusion of songs performed by Manidipa Chakraborty. At the opening of the film and again towards the end, passionate ballads effectively set the tone and introduce the themes. It is a shame, then, that these beautiful songs do not exist within a better film. Worse, instead of ending the story where it would have made sense – with that second song playing us out – Das includes a twist (along with a ridiculous sound effect and editing choice) that, while unexpected, is far from original and results in a rather silly denouement.
The film’s title can be translated to “In the end,” and unfortunately the end of the film compounds the issues that came before. Still, even without the unnecessary twist, the technical problems are too many to ignore, and interfere with a story that should have been handled with grace.