Aparichito review: Greed of a middle-class homemaker
There’s a Bengali proverb which says, “lobhe paap, paap e mrityo”, greed leads to sin and sin leads to death. While many may joke that death is inevitable even for a non-greedy person, Aparichito directed by Arindam Bhattacharya explores another concept of greed that leads to death. Bhattacharya who is also the screenplay writer of the Aparichito cinematographically begins on a very sombre note.
You notice the common aspects that happen on a Sunday morning in a middle-class household. A busy homemaker in the kitchen, a husband who has to run errands while keeping in mind domicile chores. But this is a tale of a homemaker who is unhappy with her mundane middle-class life and is consumed by the ideas of living a lavish lifestyle. That’s why when one fine day she receives a package from a random stranger named Satyaprakash Kar promising her a demand draft of Rs 50 lakhs at the cost of someone's death, she gets more than tempted at the very thought of being the sole owner of such a large sum of money.
The shot cuts to Rajatava Dutta directly addressing the camera and introducing himself as Satyaprakash Kar. The short historical importance of Rajatava Dutta’s character can be rightly compared with a number of cinematic pieces. One won’t hesitate to mention Aparichito alongside Anik Dutta’s Aschorjo Prodip or the Arabian tale of Alladin where he faces a genie who grants him three wishes. In Aschorjo Prodip too Rajatava played the role of a genie who seduced Anilabha Gupta with a lavish lifestyle till he reached a point where he had to confront his wife who was secretly working as an escort.
Here when Satyaparakash Kar (literally meaning reflect the truth) comes with an offer of Rs 50 lakh, he is not very different from a blue genie. Is he? After all, would you really care about the skin colour of the man who gives you Rs 50 lakh? No isn't it? Anirban Bhattacharya knows that well and thereby dressed Satyaprakash Kar as a regular insurance agent. For the rest, the realism has been with the aestheticism of the feature film. While Anik Dutta had been cinematographically more elaborate, Anirban Bhattacharya solely relied upon the expressions and day to day mannerism of the three cast members which included Tanusree Chakraborty, Sujan Neel Mukherjee and Rajatava Dutta.
So, if you have been familiar with the latest feature films in the Bengali film industry, Aparichito will not strike you that hard, however, the brilliance lies in Anirban Bhattacharya’s ability to sublimate a middle-class lifestyle through his shots and frames. None of the characters relied on heavy dialogues to express their greed. The idea of choosing to eat brownie over mishti, (while living in Kolkata) reflected Anushua’s desire to live life king size, but instead of making an effort for it, she depended on her husband’s income to live a better life. Halfway through the film, you could almost tell that the husband and wife on-screen were not bonded by the act of love, but marriage happened in their life as a sense of duty.
There’s no hate between them (which is a relief) but there lies a constant pressure on each other to keep their spouse satisfied with a monetary contribution. The only reason Aparichito deserves to be watched is to encourage the idea that marriage needn’t have to be about hate, even if you don’t emotionally connect with your partner.
Ratings: 4/5 stars