Nov 30, 2023
Nov 30, 2023
Midway in the film there's a scene in KHANCHA (Bengali for Cage) where Rituparno Sengupta looks out of her window from her apartment in a multistoried building. She discovers that her stalker and womanizer boss (Arijit Dutta) is calling out to her from his stately car from the ground below. This particular sequence and moment in the film draws a parallel between her life, an urban corporate woman, and the subaltern woman (Parno Mitra) whom she has been sheltering in her house from a trio of rogues who are part of a gang of woman traffickers. This moment in the 2013 made film is a telling commentary about the true plight of women in our modern society irrespective of the rural and urban divide. In 2023 we are now discussing and ensuring passage of the Women Reservation Bill in our parliament, an attestation that the fairer sex have remained behind in a patriarchal society.
Interestingly, I find that some Bengali filmmakers are making films of a kind of genre that may be loosely categorized as 'social thrillers.' They are made in a thriller format, but they aren't so. They are more of an exploration of societal issues and a commentary on them. Think of Mrinal Sen's Ek Din Pratidin & Ek Din Achanak, and this film by Raja Sen, and you would probably agree with such a labelling about these films.
Very subtly through the character of the corporate working woman, the director has brilliantly captured the struggles and biases the modern woman has to face and live up with on a daily basis. She may break down often looking for help and comfort when confronted with fear inducing incidents as shown in the film. What many may not notice is the brilliant contrast shown in an unstated way - that the woman who has been wronged by society which has snatched away her daughter from her and cast aspersions on her morals has the courage to come to the rescue of a distressed woman who is a stranger to her. In a world where fellow feeling is generally on the ebb, how far should an individual go for their moral duty for a perfect stranger when it involves a threat towards their life? Wouldn't it be easier and safer to turn a blind eye towards the evil that breeds in our society?
I was pleasantly surprised by this film. When I looked up the web for reviews on this film, I found that the critic of TOI has given it a poor rating of 2.5/5. Yes, the film based on a story by Prafulla Roy is not without its weaknesses. For instance, who provided the three rogues with a police uniform when they stormed the house of the corporate lady?
There's also a romantic subtext in this film on women trafficking and molestation. Ritwik Chakrabarty as a reporter lending support to Rituparna is brilliant as usual. Both the female lead perform credibly. Overall, an absorbing and meaningful film that deserves a watch.
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
More by : Subhajit Ghosh