A popular Bengali romantic-fiction writer (Saswata) visits a remote village in Arunachal Pradesh for inspiration to write a murder mystery next. On his way, he meets an over-zealous photographer (Kaushik) and his mysterious fortune-teller girlfriend (Tina). Is this a chance meeting or a prelude to an unimagined connection?
Review: Ray — the mere mention suggests cinematic brilliance. And when a film named Ray releases, that too in Bengali, it opens up a floodgate of memories — mostly vivid shots from the masterpieces by Satyajit Ray. More so, when the team refers to the inspiration. While the film banks heavily on the ‘Ray’ factors, it suggests that evoking nostalgia is not the only ‘ray of hope’.
It could have been, though, had it not been for the animated-yet-nuanced interactions between the leading men in some of the well-executed scenes in the film. This is one of the many times when the film deviates from Ray’s way of unravelling a mystery, yet manages to hook the audience with its unpredictability, more so in the climax. There is no use of ‘mogojastro’ but some gory scenes of crime, which would not have made an impact without Saswata and Kaushik’s acting, both matching each other as forces to reckon with. The film deserves an extra star for their acting alone.
Kaushik is Ritz, the eccentric photographer, right from the word go. His get-up, mannerisms, expressions and voice modulations at the right moments reek of a man as menacing as a psychopath and as erratic as the hilly weather. In fact, it’s his love for shocking people, which he calls inspiration, that sets the tone for his interactions with Saswata’s Ranjan throughout the film. He goes all out to inspire the author for a best-seller murder mystery. What lacks in the acting department are the blink-and-you-miss-it expressions — not appearance — of the leading lady, Tina (who plays Roma). Given enough screen time, she fails to evoke any emotion of thrill, fear or seduction, which her role demands.
Inspired by Ray, Riingo tries every possible camera angle to capture the shady characters and up the thriller game. But a tighter script and fewer damsel-in-distress-meets-her-hero scenes would have done more justice to the plot. There are moments of unbelievable cruelty that make you cringe and some lengthy, emotional scenes that take away from the murkiness of the plot. The film proceeds with lopsided direction, but a good twist towards the end salvages things somewhat.
The cinematography and music need a special mention. The quaint village of Arunachal is captured beautifully and the Assamese song Oguni… makes you croon.
— Debolina Sen