The unsung heroes of the freedom struggle are gaining ground. Nudged by Central government funds that come with a rider these days, Bengal’s natural bent towards heroes and hero worship is getting refocused. Sounava Bose’s talent for biodrama based on sound research gets an impetus in Curtain Call’s Nitanto Byaktigata. This lavishly mounted period drama explores the unfavourable conditions faced by the Indian National Army after Japan starts withdrawing support in World War II. As the INA soldiers led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose start reworking their strategy, espionage becomes a crucial factor.
Besides Bose (Tirthankar Chattopadhyay), the role of Major General Kiani (Jayanta Mitra) is well-documented. But very little is known about Lt Saraswati Garewal (Bindia Ghosh) who maintained a delicate balance despite all odds. Love also blossomed in the trenches and the jungles, amidst tragedy and tears. The romance between Lt Nazir Ahmed (Tathagata Chaudhuri), and Sub-Officer Arati Nayyar (Monalisa Chatterjee), or the unshaken love of Captain Harvinder Singh (Rup Deb) for Lance-Naik Subhadra Jaiswal (Nibedita Bhattacharjee) form a parallel to the narrative of heroics and sacrifice.
Chattopadhyay, the director, leaves no stone unturned to make Nitanto Byaktigata worthy of its billing. The depth and the height of the proscenium are utilised by Arun Mondal, the stage designer, and Saswata Chatterjee’s scenography never lets the momentum lag. The ability of the light designer, Soumen Chakraborty, to shift the audience’s attention works wonders. Shreyan Chatterjee’s innovative soundscape — balancing nationalistic ethos and dramatic requirements — facilitates the flow of the production. The goosebumps moment comes at the end when "Shubh sukh chain" — the INA national anthem — is played and the audience joins the actors with passionate intensity.
The young lead cast mostly delivers. Ghosh's uncharacteristically muted portrayal in the scenes with Lt Janaki Thevar (Mary Acharya) demonstrates her maturity as an actor. Monalisa Chatterjee enacts the pivotal part to perfection. Nibedita Bhattacharjee and Rup Deb bring freshness to an unlikely romance.