Monday, 30th October 2017

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Mirror cracked

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By Madhuparna Das
  • Published 29.11.08

If it’s just about performance then Dulal De is spot on with his two female protagonists Rituparna Sengupta and Rati Agnihotri. Aainaate focuses on two women from different walks of life who find themselves in similar situations; their lives resembling a curious mirror image.

The crux lies in how one of them bows to society and repents for the rest of her life, while the other stands her ground. Rati, despite the dubbed voice, is completely in sync with her character. She’s Urmila Sanyal, a role model for many, a compassionate social worker who fights for the disadvantaged woman. Rituparna plays a photojournalist called Malini, a fan of Urmila Sanyal, and it is the Rati-Ritu relationship that leads the story to its climax with a secret (most predictable) being revealed.

In roles where Rituparna is required to play the plain Jane (in terms of looks) with shades of a strong woman, she has always shone. Though we have seen Rituparna in brighter roles she does her bit here with confidence.

But then a film is not just about performances. And viewed in totality, Dulal De’s Aainaate is confusing, haphazard and boring. The confusion arises mostly from the holes in the screenplay. The frequent hop-skip-and-jump of the sequences is often quite unnecessary. The many subplots are half-baked and hardly take the story forward.

Questions remain unanswered and relationships unexplored. Even in the mainstay of the film, the Malini-Urmila relationship, remains vague. We never get to know why Malini is such a big fan of Urmila or why she only takes photographs of the dead. It is revealed in the beginning through Malini’s voiceover that she was subjected to sexual abuse as a child, scarring her response to men. The next thing you know, she is happily calling up boyfriend Rajat (Ferdous) and singing dream songs. Rajat and Malini’s relationship is half-baked, leaving Ferdous with precious little to do.

Rati is hounded by her memories, which keep coming back in flashes of a stormy night and a screaming child. But why? We also learn that Rati is the second wife of barrister Sanyal (Soumitra Chatterjee) but the husband-wife relationship is never dwelt upon.

For the sake of a social message through the take of two women, De seems to have given a few basics of film-making the miss. Dipankar De and Gita Dey are wasted. Soumitra Chatterjee only has a couple of funny lines. If you insist on sitting in for this one, do it for RR (Rati-Ritu), not DD (Dulal De).