The film is without faults. There are the cliche dialogues. Sometimes, the literary references get too much to keep track of. But for acting, do not try to miss this one.
When a psychiatrist gets murdered during a party, the invitees come under the scanner. Once in a while, one comes across a film that shatters pre-conceived notions and judgemental misgivings. Chorabali does that, in a steady flow, throughout the movie.
Each actor, with the exception of Malabika, has done justice to their roles. Tonushree, however, deserves a shoutout for the way she has distinctly delineated both her characters — that of the author and the alter ego. Barun Chanda, our Poirot, holds the story together. Samasdarshi, in a short cameo, is all natural.
You have to give the audience the benefit of doubt. After all, not many original thrillers have done too well in Bengal in the last few years. Though this is not an original per se (it claims to be inspired by more than one work of crime literature), it neither is an adaptation. The influence of Agatha Christie's Cards On The Table is evident, as are various other instances of inspiration. Sherlock, Feluda, Byomkesh, even Shakespeare — you name it, you will find it. However, the director is only too eager to affirm his influences, as the physical copy of the Hercule Poirot murder mystery makes an appearance right around the beginning of the film.
Pranabendra Dasgupta, a revered psychiatrist, invites a motley group of people for a game of bridge, over drinks. The invitees: Dr Sanyal, another psychiatrist, Aditya, a wildlife photographer, Elina, a model, Madhurima, a famed actress, Vishnu, DC Kolkata Police detective department, Ardhendu Chatterjee, an eminent professor of criminology, Debolina, editor of a news channel and Tilottama, a crime novelist. Each of these characters have a shady past, and Dasgupta is privy to their dark secrets. So, when Dasgupta ends up murdered that evening, the onus is on each one of this group to implicate others, in order to save themselves. Thus begins a game of hunting, with each hunter ending up being hunted!
The noir style is what hits us, as soon as the opening credits start rolling. From the word go, it's a stylishly made film. The premise is a crime novel an author is penning. And the fiction she is creating (or is it fact that she is stating?) forms the centre of this whodunit. Is there a perfect murder? If yes, what constitutes it? The director makes deft use of concentric story telling — a story within a story. He skilfully commands the viewer's undivided attention by uncovering deceit, one layer at a time. Here, one must mention the tight screenplay and the cinematography that complements it. If you are a detective novel lover and pride yourself on looking for clues along with the fictional detective, you will end up with a smile on your face at the end of the movie. Because, years of camaraderie with fictional sleuths have taught you to not ignore the gaze that's a little too long or the reply that's a little too prompt. You will probably smile because the open end will make sense to you. Or probably because it's just so much fun to watch others being stunned by the denouement, which you almost saw coming! Either way, it's gratifying.
That is not to say, the film is without faults. Of course, there are the cliche dialogues. Sometimes, the literary references get too much to keep track of. And whoever said hysteria is the sickness of losing consciousness underwater?
Lastly, for the acting. Each actor, with the exception of Malabika, has done justice to their roles. Tonushree, however, deserves a shoutout for the way she has distinctly delineated both her characters — that of the author and the alter ego. Barun Chanda, our Poirot, holds the story together. Samasdarshi, in a short cameo, is all natural. Shataf can do with some toning down of the drama. Also, one can't help but wonder what prompted the casting of Malabika for that important a character! Sayani, definitely, would have been a better choice!
Overall, try not to miss this one.