After she’s caught stealing, Durga (Sohini) is given a second chance by jeweller Shomshankar Basak’s (Sumanta) younger daughter-in-law, Manashi (Tonushree). What follows is a trial by fire for both women.
A slice of life film is best enjoyed when that slice, however minuscule, is brimming with goodness. And it becomes all the more sweet in today’s world where the news is brimming with violence and death. So, in this fast darkening ecosystem that’s ripping at the seams with intolerance, hate and malice, Durga Sohay is a bright slice of humaneness. It’s about love — especially those facets of the emotion that are fast losing out to lust, selfishness and impatience. Most of all, it’s about the most underrated human quality in modern times — kindness.
All that was about the grain of a film made by an actor-turned-director who’s known for his thrillers, especially his brand of Byomkesh Bakshi films. Durga Sohay breaks that stereotype. Arindam Sil is now a good filmmaker. Period. And that’s all the more apparent from the way he has approached the film and it’s simple, heartwarming subject. The result is a director’s baby. No one over- or under-acts, there’s no continuity faux pas and the story progresses smoothly towards the hope-filled climax.
So, Durga Sohay is essentially a precisely-wound mechanism that unwinds at just the right pace, leaving very little room for the actors to do something extraordinary. But Sohini, Tonushree, Ritobroto and Anirban have still managed to squeeze in memorable performances. Sohini, devoid of the empowering sheen of makeup, manages to embody Durga — a woman whose past is shrouded in the shadows of crime and poverty. Her body language, diction and expressions — right down to fleeting movements of her eyes — are bang on. As for Tonushree, Manashi will certainly be one of her most memorable roles. She plays a mature and caring daughter-in-law of an affluent yet grounded family with elan. That emotions define Manashi is clear from the way Tonushree approaches the role. Rwitobroto, on the other hand, seems a bit too energetic at times but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that he plays Bhrigu — the teenage son of Shomshankar’s elder son Dibyendu (Kaushik) and his wife, Smita (Debjani) — perfectly. Though all actors do justice to their roles, another character that really stands out despite the small screen time is that of Madhab, the seasoned dacoit. Anirban is so surgical in his portrayal that even his 10-odd minutes of screen time makes you detest him.
Bickram Ghosh manages to create the perfect ambience with his music, especially the fusion medley by Bhrigu and his band that forms the core of a musical evening during the Basak family’s Durga Puja celebration. The camerawork by Gairik Sarkar and Sujay Datta Ray’s editing infuses life into Sil’s vision in the best way possible.
Go, watch Durga Sohay with your family. It’s definitely worth every penny you spend on the tickets.