Film: BRAHMA JANEN GOPON KOMMOTI
Director: Aritra Mukherjee
Actors: Ritabhari Chakraborty, Soham Majumdar, Soma Chakraborty, Manashi Sinha
ANINDITA ACHARYA, Kolkata: It’s a good time at the movies. Of course, we understand states like Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala have closed down movie theatres due to the coronavirus outbreak, but if we look at the brighter side (if at all we can at this grim situation), then two films — Anubhav Sinha’s Bollywood release Thappad and Aritra Mukherjee’s Bengali film Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti is a silent slap to patriarchy in its own way.
Extremely sad but till now, women are not allowed to enter the kitchen and temple during their periods. We are made to change our clothes, shampoo our hair after the menstrual cycle is over because those days we were “impure”. And Aritra’s debut film breaks the shackles of age-old superstitions associated with menstruation, kanyadan and also challenges the very fact that priesthood is a profession that belongs to “only men”.
Of course, the film comes with its own set of loopholes and becomes over dramatic at times (especially the scenes between Soma Chakraborty and Manashi Sinha), but then the strong subject of Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti practically overshadows everything. This is where Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti wins hands down and the lead actors especially Ritabhari Chakraborty’s Shabari remains with us long after we have left the theatres.
In fact, you will wonder why Ritabhari hasn’t been offered many roles in Bengali cinema. Why she is still remembered for Ogo Bodhu Sundari’s Lolita when she can carry an entire film on her able shoulders? From her gait, to the way she dresses up, Ritabhari owns Shabari. In fact, as you watch the film, you would realise she believes in each dialogue she mouths. Watch out for her in the scene when her secret that she is a priestess gets revealed in front of her mother-in-law (Soma) and husband Bikramaditya (Soham Majumdar). Her face turns pale for a while, but she quickly picks herself up as Shabari knows she has set out on a crusade. She had learnt the ropes of the trade from her father, who hasn’t taught her to fail.
While the first half is a bit drab, the second half is fast-paced. Soham had a difficult job on hand. His was not an easy character to play. On the onset he might look as a simpleton, then he is not someone without a spine. Though we did not like him always saying “Panchali ki Raja Bickramaditya ke bhalobashe?’, but he did speak for Shabari at the right time.
The song Tui Chol in the voice of Somlata Acharyya Chowdury takes the journey of Shabari forward. But then, Aritra — was the song — Biye Legeche — really needed in the film? It really didn’t gel with the texture of the film you presented. It is tough to make these films because you tend to become too preachy but here, the director has maintained a fine balance. And till the end, he has managed to pass on the message without being “too preachy”. In an interview, Soham had mentioned that a film cannot change the mindset of the audiences, but it can lead to a discussion in the society. Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti deals with a relevant topic and talks about centuries of discrimination and deep-rooted patriarchy. Hope, someday we rectify this gender inequality. Don’t miss this cinema.