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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Raktabeej: Why the Nandita Roy-Shiboprosad Mukherjee film is recommended as a post-Puja watch

The action thriller features Victor Banerjee, Abir Chatterjee, Mimi Chakraborty and Anashua Majumdar in significant roles

Agnivo Niyogi Calcutta Published 28.10.23, 10:04 AM
(L-R) Mimi Chakraborty, Victor Banerjee, Abir Chatterjee in Raktabeej

(L-R) Mimi Chakraborty, Victor Banerjee, Abir Chatterjee in Raktabeej Windows Production

Raktabeej, among the four Bengali releases to hit cinemas this Durga Puja, is a clear departure from the comfort zone of director duo Nandita Roy-Shiboprosad Mukherjee. Known for socially relevant family dramas, often criticised for over-the-top melodrama, they have ventured into fresh waters with this action thriller. Here are four reasons why Raktabeej worked for me, and why I would recommend it for a post-Puja watch, too!

The plot makes it real and relevant

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The premise is the hero in most Nandita-Shiboprosad films, and it’s no different in Raktabeej. A plot inspired by the Khagragarh blast in 2014 that had triggered quite a law-and-order scramble in Burdwan in the context of President Pranab Mukherjee’s return to his ancestral home in neighbouring Birbhum, for Durga Puja, is a masterstroke. The central idea itself makes Raktabeej real and relevant from reel one.

The threat of an assassination bid looms large as President Animesh Chatterjee (Victor Banerjee) arrives home for the Pujas. A local law enforcement team led by Sanjukta Mitra (Mimi Chakraborty) joins hands with a special officer from the Centre, Pankaj Sinha (Abir Chatterjee), to keep the first citizen of the country safe.

So, just grab that popcorn and enjoy a thrill-ride.

Tight script and web of interpersonal relationships

Sarbari Ghoshal and Zinia Sen, along with the director duo, have come up with a tightly-scripted narrative segmented into the Puja days counting down to the climax. The story is narrated from the viewpoint of different characters, creating an intricate web of interpersonal relationships and fast-paced action sequences. A special shout-out to a sequence where Animesh engages in a heated discussion with his elder sister Gouri (Anashua Majumdar) about his decision to reject the mercy petition of a terrorist. Animesh and Gouri represent two sides of the central debate on state-sponsored killing vs terrorist violence.

The casting and the performances

Raktabeej boasts a stellar ensemble cast, with Victor Banerjee delivering a charismatic performance as the President. His interactions with Anashua Majumdar are show-stealers, enriched with heartfelt flashbacks from their shared childhood.

The natural chemistry between Abir and Mimi, whether they’re on a chase together or are engaging in verbal sparring, shines through.

Kanchan Mullick, in the role of the local police officer, and Debasish Mondal’s portrayal of the elusive terrorist also hit home.

The score matches the visual experience

The background score, by Prabuddha Banerjee, uses Bengali folk music to good effect, in keeping with the festive theme of the film. The integration of poetry and verse – specifically the Puja mantras, adds a layer to the storytelling.

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