Dutta Vs Dutta

This is an elegiac poem on celluloid.  It evokes nostalgia of a bygone era, of the Calcutta of the 70s, and seems to contain autobiographical elements of the director. The film basically deals with a father son relationship – the father (Anjan Dutt) wants his son (Ronodeep Bose) to become a barrister like him, while the son wants to become an actor. It also revolves around the Dutta household and its members, and delineates their lives in its varied color – the wife of Anjan Dutt (Rita Kayiral) is an alcoholic, possibly because she has been overlooked by her husband who falls prey to the charm of a widower (Rupa Ganguly), the daughter of Anjan (Arpita Chatterjee) flits in love from an elderly man (Sankar Chakraborty) to a Naxalite (Kaushik Sen), the patriarchal father (Deepankar Dey) who had vanished to become a Sadhu returns and sets up a music school in the house. 

The film has a lyrical quality about it, and has a number of Rabindrasangeet (Bhalo bese sokhi nibbhrite jotone amar naam ti likho, Othogo bharato lokkhi …). The frames are in varied color – the bright blue often contrasts with sepia tones. Anjan is a complex character – you may detest him for having an illicit affair, but he also has concern for his family prestige and his son and daughter. One do tend to empathize with him towards the end when he breaks down gradually – an unsuccessful practice in law with few clientele, filing a law suit against his own brother, selling off the aristocratic family car when the family falls on hard times, or finally when he is taken to the police station and beaten badly.

I found the philosophical content in a particular dialogue a gem in analyzing the connection between devotion to work and spirituality. When the patriarch tells his grandson that his realization that divinity existed in pursuing art like playing violin and that all religious shrines are excellent examples of artistic creation, which compelled him to return to the household from his hermitage, such philosophical insight is a rare commodity in the cinemas these days…

There is also a change of roles in the portrayal. We realize that Ronodeep is enacting the character of Anjan Dutt, and Anjan is playing his father. The performers are competent. Others in the cast include Srijit Mukherjee, Biswajit Chakraborty, Parno Mittra and others.

Rating: 4 out of 5


More by :  Subhajit Ghosh

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