Story: Bilu (Joy) is a man with a lot of shackles that prevent him from achieving inner peace and reaching the pinnacle his melodious voice could help him reach. Left alone and dejected, he struggles to make peace with his inner demons.
Review: The chains that hold you down in life are often your own creations. And Bilu has too many of them. He needs to be financially stable, keep singing, hold on to his ancestral home in north Kolkata and continue hanging out with his friends, even if that means alienating his wife, Sohini (Koneenica), and son. It’s a story that will ring true for all those who are torn between livelihood and good living, nostalgia and practicality. It’s this basic connect that makes Bilu Rakkhosh the perfect recipe for a good watch. But sadly, it’s not. It’s the monotonous biography of a man who fails to inspire — a man no one would aspire to be, even if no one can deny the existence of a Bilu around every bend. The point is, why waste a good film on such a man?
That Indrasis is a man who knows his craft is apparent throughout his creation — right from the way the shots have been framed to the way he tells and retells Bilu’s story. Most of the film is a treat for those who love cinema in its essence, devoid of the sheen of glamour or star power. But isn’t that a niche audience? Amidst the celebration of great cinematography and really good performances (especially by Joy and Koneenica), the director seems to have forgotten that there’s an audience out there, waiting for Bilu’s life to take a turn — for something positive to happen, for a chance to smile or get goosebumps. But like Bilu’s life, the story refuses to resuscitate itself. It’s a flatline through and through. You can almost hear the continuous beep of the life support machine. And it’s a bit too lengthy, like the film.
But as I said, it’s a good film that has some really good performances. Joy, especially, holds his own as the camera hardly leaves him for the entire length of the film. His inner torment clearly shows. Koneenica, too, is fantastic as the bickering homemaker, who finally decides to part ways with Bilu because of his uncompromising attitude. Another highlight of the film is its music — the great classical vocals which form Bilu’s support system.
Over all, Bilu Rakkhosh is a watchable film. Just make sure you leave your expectations back home.