Being a talented director, Atanu has created a beautiful relationship tale out of it.
When 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death near her home in New York, it was later revealed that there were 37 witnesses of the crime, all her neighbours, who didn't do anything to save her. This horrible incident gave birth to a social psychological phenomenon called The Bystander Effect. This refers to cases in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present. The probability of help is inversely related to the number of bystanders. In other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. The story of Atanu Ghosh's fourth directorial venture,
Ek Phaali Rodh
, is woven around this theory. Being a talented director, Atanu has created a beautiful relationship tale out of it.
Social scientist Somshankar Halder (Dhritiman Chatterjee) conducts field research to test this theory and to gauge how much humanity is left in a metro like Kolkata. To gauge this, he hires sociology student Anwesha (Aparajita) and journalism student Swagato (Ritwick) as research assistants. They create mock crisis on the city streets and videotape the reactions. However, these professional research activities start getting into their personal spaces when Anwesha's singer boyfriend Joy (Jisshu), Ritwick's girlfriend Rupa (Mahua) and visually challenged author Pratim Guha (Tota) come into the equation. One trip to the sea and an unexpected tragedy alters the chemistry among them, leading to the exposure of their inner conflicts and a realization that may be we all have a bystander inside us.
However, despite showing the guts to make a feature film with this unique theme, the director loses his rhythm many times. Especially the way he shows the dynamics of interpersonal relationships - Anwesha and Joy's love, hate and conflict, Pratim and Anwesha's admiration, attraction and ego, Swagata and Anwesha's friendship, dependence and undeniable chemistry - all these equations have not been given sufficient time to establish themselves in the audience's mind. For that reason, the subtle thriller edge in the plot becomes loose-knit and confusing. But the director recovers the audience's confidence in the last half an hour, tying every loose end in a very sensitive and satisfactory manner.
The actors, each and every one of them, have made this film worth a watch. Dhritiman, Aparajita and Jisshu have played their parts naturally. Tota Roychowdhury as usual has impressed with his effortless acting. He must be one of the most underrated actors in the industry. But the best performance has come from Ritwick Chakrabarty. With his amazingly expressive eyes, he mesmerizes the audience. Dulal Lahiri's short role as Ritwick's father asserts the director's assertion that society still has some humility and humanity left in it. Atanu Ghosh, in his last three movies, displayed an uncanny understanding of human nature and relationships. In this movie too, he doesn't disappoint.