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Subhashree Ganguly shines in Hoichoi’s Indubala Bhaater Hotel as a refugee homemaker who starts a business

Directed by Debaloy Bhattacharya, the web series is based on a novel of the same name by Kallol Lahiri

Agnivo Niyogi Calcutta Published 29.03.23, 04:33 PM
Subhashree Ganguly as Indubala in Hoichoi’s Indubala Bhaater Hotel

Subhashree Ganguly as Indubala in Hoichoi’s Indubala Bhaater Hotel Hoichoi

Debaloy Bhattacharya’s Indubala Bhaater Hotel is an ode to an immigrant woman who, having been uprooted from her rural habitat in undivided Bengal and thrown into the chaos of a big city, takes life head on and thrives. With food as the connecting thread, Indubala Bhaater Hotel weaves a tale of nostalgia and a sense of loss that runs deep within the protagonist even decades after being separated from her homeland.

Spanning from the 1940s to present times, the show tracks Indubala, a free-spirited girl living with her parents and grandmother in the village of Kolapota in East Bengal (now Bangladesh). She is in love with Monirul (Debdutta Raha) but when religious strife grips Bengal in the mid-1940s, Indubala is married off to an unscrupulous man, Ratanlal (Pratik Dutta), from Kolkata.


Indubala faces ill-treatment at her in-laws and abuse from her philandering husband. When he dies leaving her with two children, Indubala decides to use her culinary skills to set up an eatery and eke out a living. The recipes that Indubala had picked up from her grandmother, which she now uses in her ‘bhaater hotel’, bring back memories of the life she had left behind. Every dish carries the whiff of a person who left a mark and shaped her to be who she is.

Tollywood actress Subhashree Ganguly, who makes her OTT debut with the Hoichoi web series, slips into the main character of Indubala in her mature years, without much effort. She shines in both the avatars – Indubala as a middle-aged homemaker and an octogenarian whose life revolves around her ‘bhaater hotel’ (the younger version of Indubala has been played by Parijat Chaudhuri). Among the supporting characters, Sneha Chatterjee deserves special mention as Indubala’s close confidante Lakshmi. Angana Roy as the young vlogger Sanchari and Debopratim Dasgupta as hotel manager Dhanada make an impression too.

Written by Trisha Nandi and Debaloy Bhattacharya, Indubala’s story unfolds over the course of eight episodes. The narrative is non-linear, with every episode dwelling on a food item and triggering a chain of memories in Indubala. For instance, she decides never to make kochubata again, after Lakshmi is killed in an accident while fetching kochu for her. And when her husband rapes her, a plate of malpoa that her brother had brought for her from their native village helps Indubala get a grip over herself. Hoping that her old lover would come visit her some day, she also always leaves a plate of food on the table at night.

Music plays a key role in taking the narrative forward. The episodes are named after songs. From heartbreak and betrayal (Shunyo E Bukey) to the remnants of a love story (Kothay Tomay Pai), or the collage of bittersweet memories (Pakhider Smriti), the songs, composed by Amit Chatterjee, help capture the essence of Indubala’s inner journey. Sanglap Bhowmik’s crisp editing and Ramyadip Saha’s camerawork enhance the visual aesthetics.

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