Story: It is a melancholy story of a forlorn man who is crippled by an accident. Based on Moti Nandy’s eponymous novel, the film delves into the insecurity and dilemma of the man
From Koni to Striker and Parapar — Moti Nandi’s novels have been translated into films quite a few times. The author’s gritty tales of struggling athletes have generally been well received by the Bengali audience. However, it was an uphill task to make a film on his intense works on human relationships like Baranda. Despite Reshmi Mitra's effort, the end product is a two-hour-12-minute film that verges on boredom.
Baranda is a story of a forlorn man, Girijapati Biswas (Bratya Basu). It is not a story that is driven by its plot. It is a gradual revelation of human relationships and its intricacies. Not impeccably honest, Girija become housebound after he met with a massive accident that almost makes him a cripple. His solitude turns him irritable and cynical, as he sits at his balcony watching the world go by. Runu (Rituparna Sengupta), Girija’s wife, is now the sole bread-earner for her family. She deals with her husband's irritability in her own way and most of the time she gives him some solace and company while sitting with him at the balcony. However, the film makes it evident that their conjugal life is strained. Meanwhile, Girija’s distant cousin, Ambar (Shaheb Bhattacharjee) — a footballer — starts living in their house as a paying guest and Runu finds a new man in her life. Girija can smell their intimacy but keeps mum. Instead, he indulges and nurtures grim ideas, suspicions and insecurity in his head. And there is Mohan (Sumitro Banerjee), Girija’s former colleague, whom he suspects to be behind his accident. Again, he doesn’t talk about his suspicion. Girija’s mind is the only breeding ground of his suspects and cynicism. Mohan is lecherous and currently is in a relationship with Buli (Manali Dey), a half blind, ugly young girl. However, things become complicated when Girija meets Buli as both of them find comfort in each other’s physical challenges.
The actors put up a valiant fight with their performances to salvage the sloppy script. To make Girijapati’s character convincing, Bratya successfully adapts a certain mannerism. He looks real in Girija's grief and meekness. Despite consistent brilliance, Rituparna goes a bit overboard when her character, Runu, confronts heartbreak. Shaheb, on the other hand, is underutilised. The crisis of Ambar is not fully explored in the film. Painted with many shades of grey, Mohan's character is well presented by Sumitro. Manali as Buli makes a late entry but does justice to her portrayal.
Baranda is not a contemporary story but the director does not make any attempt to give it a period-film look. While the film showcases some fantastic frames of the old charm of Kolkata, the filter that is used to show the flashback looks hideous.
Overall, the film is too long with sloppy storytelling. The novel is still much more entertaining than its big screen depiction.