Eagoler Chokh: An overtly over-rated thriller

     ACP Shabor Dasgupta (Saswata Chatterjee) returns to big screen with the new police-crime- “thriller” Eagoler Chokh (translation: Eagle’s Eye), but not with a bang! Do not expect an explosion of some megatons; it’s not even one gram of cracker. This lackluster return of the police detective tempts us to ponder why the film may be a success on some level but a failure on the most part.

     Nandini (Payel Sarkar) is a vampirette woman, who sucks the life out of her friend, Shivangi (Joya Ahsan), who is her business partner by trying to seduce her drunken husband, Bishan Roy (Anirban Bhattacharya), who has a “past”. On the fateful night, two armed men enter Shivangi’s house and kills Nandini, who has been residing there for some years and proceeds to take money from the safe. Suddenly, Shivangi shoots one of them, but the other after an initial shock shoots her, sending her to coma (a fashion nowadays in many films!). After a mockery of an initial police study of the “open and shut case of robbery”, ACP Shabor takes over the complex case and suspects the drunkard Bishan, who was away from the city that night with a friend and their bought-girlfriends-for-one-night.

     Bishan, a mechanical engineer in profession, is either smoking or drunk for most of his screen time, was sexually squeezed as boy of fifteen by some mature woman.  His nature is disturbed from after that, he cannot love anyone, heart of steel and so on. It is farce at the utmost level: an educated man having psychological problems drinks and smokes the whole time but never even dreams of consulting a shrink or doesn’t even confide in his wife, but tells everything to the ACP without the slightest use of pressure. One may argue that his wife is in coma, he is probably shaken by anguish an confesses. But he himself says, “I cannot love anybody.” Shabor also points out while saying, “Can’t you be affected like her?” The “her” in question is Jahnabi (Riya Banik), a girl in late teens or early twenties, who has been staying in their house for the last nine years; Shivangi has been teaching and taking care of her.

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     More and more characters enter the story, but Shabor’s case and the momentum of the film have infinitesimal speed. Shabor himself is facing another problem: after years of cat-mouse chases, the cat sees himself as a mouse. He has placed himself in the criminal’s position while solving cases and now he sees a criminal as his own self. Finally, he solves the case but doesn’t make the arrest (himself); he lets Shivangi go. The end twist that Jahnabi is Bishan’s own child from that woman who abused him can be foreseen a while ago and reminds of the ending of Dennis Villeneuve’s Incendies. There are also few dialogue similarities to Satyajit Ray’s (to be specific Feluda) films.

     This is Arindam Sil’s fifth film and Aborto can be considered his best work, though it is below par amongst the noteworthy Bengali features of the recent years. In this film, the work of the director is visible in a very untidy, confused manner; as if he cannot decide which style he wants to employ. The numerous use of close-ups forces to think of the emotions, but it is difficult to connect with the characters at an emotional level for the shallow characterization. The buildup to the climax is very slow, which is not a problem but the choice of editing makes it very noticeable giving the film varying paces at different intervals of time. The fast cuts, the sudden change in locations which are an integral part of thrillers look out-of-place in this movie it does not commensurate to the pace of the plot. The suspense is very much present in the story but lacking in the visuals and the background score making the film more of a novel than a cinema.

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     The ever-moving or shaking camera distracts the mind from the visuals and does not create a single frame worth remembering. Bickram Ghosh, who provided a great score for Har Har Byomkesh of this director only, is also not at his peak creativity for this flick. Saswata shines amidst this entire muddle, giving a serious cop with some quirky sense of humour. His expressions are just flawless; ranging from his shock seeing himself as a criminal, deadpan face while accusing and saying “Emni Bollam” (Translation: Joking) and cold stare while interrogating. Anirban and Riya also show some promise but still they are not up to the mark. The film is lacking in artistic expression; nothing is cinematic about it. While in the theatre it feels as if one is experiencing a big budget audio novel.

 

Film Score: 40

 

Director:           Arindam Sil       

Screenplay:         Padmanabha Dasgupta, Arindam Sil, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay (story)

Cinematography:     Soumik Halder

Editing:            Sujoy Datta Roy

Production Design:  Sabarni Das, Arindam Sil, Soumik Halder

Costume Design:     Soumik Halder

Music:              Bickram Ghosh

Cast:               Saswata Chatterjee, Payel Sarkar, 
                    Joya Ahsan, Anirban Bhattacharya

 

 

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