Out Of Theatre

Kolkata Calling

Out Of Theatre
21 Nov, 2014 1 hr 52 mins A
Moon Moon Sen, Raima Sen, Riya Sen, Ritwick Chakraborty, Samrat Chakraborti, Kaushik Sen, June, Shataf Figar
Moon Moon Sen, Raima Sen, Riya Sen, Ritwick Chakraborty, Samrat Chakraborti, Kaushik Sen, June, Shataf Figar
Mainak Bhaumik
Synopsis
So, musically, Kolkata Calling is as good as it gets. It’s only the parts between the songs that fall flat.
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  • Critic's Review
  • Times of India
So, musically, Kolkata Calling is as good as it gets. It's only the parts between the songs that fall flat.

Let's get over with it at the very outset. What went wrong, Mainak? I mean, Kolkata Calling is, by far, the longest flatline I've come across in a while. There are hardly any beeps to indicate signs of life, except that gem of an actor called Ritwick Chakraborty, who virtually carries the film on his shoulders. But then again, that's maybe because only his character, Shuddhyo, is clearly defined in the film. The rest of the lot are so full of holes that no one actually gets to see the whole picture. In fact, the film can be the perfect case study on how too many tasteless ingredients can create a culinary nightmare.

ALSO READ: I am awkward, shy and a day-dreaming weirdo: Mainak Bhaumik

First, the flatness. Except maybe a few bright moments, there's hardly any curve to the storytelling, be that upwards or south. Even life has its ups and downs, with hopes bumping into disappointments every now and then. Cinema is not supposed to make it all seem so boringly mundane and flat. But Kolkata Calling , sadly, is exactly that, in a back-achingly boring way.

It does have an upside — it makes you hope that things are going to change for the better, though nothing of that sort happens. Then there is that surprising casualness about all the characters — not one of them seems to be serious about their so-called 'calling'. Kaushik, the wannabe filmmaker, roams the streets of the city with a breast-eyeing novice of a cameraman, with hardly a clue about what he's trying to make. An apparently rich mother (Moon Moon Sen) keeps telling her college-going daughter, Krittika, to start earning, because she can't always look after her. Then there's Deep, who falls for the adventurous Gayatri (Raima), who has this strange penchant for white salwar suits.

ALSO READ: Mainak Bhaumik introduces the characters of Kolkata Calling

But questions remain. Who or what is Krittika's mother? Some kind of a call girl? If yes, then sadly, Moon Moon doesn't fit the bill at all. I'm not saying she doesn't do justice to her role. She plays her part as perfectly as it can get. It's just that her character is not clearly defined in the film, neither does any dialogue reveal her profession, leaving us wracking our brains about her on-screen identity. Moreover, she doesn't look her part as the mother of a teenager, nor that of a sexy high society escort. So that, kind of, adds to the general confusion. And since this is not exactly a Byomkesh mystery thriller, no marks for keeping everyone guessing.

Cut to Krittika. A girl who apparently grows up among strange men... um, correction... clients of her mother, but still has no clue whether the man she just had sex with used a condom or not. How originally dumb is that? Has she grown up blindfolded with ear-plugs to boot? Perplexing...

ALSO READ: Kolkata calling was more fun than work

Deep's situation is more or less obvious, but it's never clear whether he stops taking drugs since his return from Washington. But here creeps in a few inconsistencies. For one, it's unclear whether he's returned from the US after 10 years or six, because he says 10 and his friend greets him after 'six years'. Moreover, right after Raima compliments his accent, he says he's returned from Wash-ington, and not Wosh-ington, as pronounced in the States. That 'accent' kind of rings out...

But then, there's the silver lining — Ritwick aka Shuddhyo. It's not that his character is spicy; it's a rather boring tale of a wannabe actor. But Ritwick breathes life into it. He's so natural with the body language and mannerism of a frustrated street-smart 'actor' that you actually watch him in awe. Even Shataf Figar plays the womanizing fashion photographer to perfection.

The peppy title track is really magical, setting the mood for an adrenaline rush that never comes. The background score is good, and so is the way the songs are picturized. So, musically, Kolkata Calling is as good as it gets. It's only the parts between the songs that fall flat.
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