Sankhachil – Does border really exists?

    Goutam Ghose‘s latest is a drama about the consequence of partition between India and Bangladesh, which won the National Award for Best Bengali Feature. Muntasir Chowdhury Badal is school teacher in a border side village in Bangladesh, where the gorgeous Ichamati separates the land from Taki (India). He is responsible and broad minded man, who allows his daughter, Rupsha to grow up freely in accordance to her wishes. This kind of upbringing is not entirely supported by his wife, Laila, who too like Badal loves Rupsha intensely. Rupsha is sometimes out of breath while playing or running but it seems nothing serious. She also befriends an Indian BSF, who has a daughter just like her back home. Tragedy strucks after intermission; Rupsha collapses and the doctor recommends immediate transfer to some city for medical tests and perhaps admission. The parents are in a dilemma whether to take her to the distant Khulna or the nearby Taki by illegal crossing. With the help of Badal’s headmaster they take Rupsha to Taki and the BSF overlooking it for the sake of humanity. The fight between life and death goes on in the other side of the border. A man known to the headmaster helps them get to Kolkata for advanced treatment. On his advice Badal and his wife assume hindu names and pretends to be his relatives. He also arranges for an Indian voter identity card. In Kolkata, Rupsha is operated but doesn’t survive. The grief and sorrow consumes Badal to declare that they are muslim, they are Bangladeshi.

    The story is no doubt a unique one. The film questions the necessity of border, religious differences between people of similar culture. The consequence of the partition of the Indian subcontinent is felt even today. The development of the plat is a little bit slow but the screenplay demands it. The riverside rural beauty is beautifully portrayed and the music by the director himself suits the nature of the film. Prosenjit Chatterjee as Badal is wonderful: his Bangladeshi accent , his expressions , his emotions lets the viewer envision his soul.  Shajbati as Rupsha does an average job as a few times her expressions and accent are below par. Kusum as Laila does justice to her role even though she does not have a huge responsibility. The editing could have been better; there were some unnecessary scenes which does not contribute to the action or general theme, but are there just for the sake of information. The film also lacks in good cinematography. Being shot in 4k it looks great, but lacks the dynamic range in some outdoor scenes composed of the river, river bank full of trees and the sky. Those may have looked better if shot on the traditional film rather than going digital.  The interior night scenes were very dimly lit for no other reason than to convey a hint of tragedy.

     The subject that the director chose is of utmost significance for both Bangladesh as well as India. During the partition many people suffered the departing of friends and family to another country or to another world. Many lives were lost in trying to cross the border to meet their family. The film draws the similarity between the struggles of the time of partition and the present time, sixty years after that. He uses direct analogy between the events of the partition and that of the present times. A more subtle analogy would be better suited on this context and the film’s storytelling would be more beautiful.

Film Score: 55

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