What is the story about?
In 1947, a few months after India has gained independence, the country is still reeling from the after-effects of Partition. Henna Mallick, an East Pakistani girl, comes to stay in the house of Santosh Samaddar, a rich man and neighbour of Byomkesh Bakshi. One day, Henna is found dead in mysterious circumstances, and it looks like a suicide. But as Byomkesh starts digging, he realizes things are not what they seem.
Regardless of whatever other genres Hoichoi tackles, one thing is for certain—Byomkesh has been the platform’s biggest hit since its launch. No other show has enjoyed six seasons within four years, and that says a lot for how much fans have come to expect from this franchise. That being said, there was a certain degree of complacency that had been creeping into the web adaptations in the last couple of seasons. It seemed that the thrill of author Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s original text was somewhere getting lost in the technical showcasing, even though lead Anirban Bhattacharya has always been dependable.
However, the ghosts of the past are laid to rest with ace cinematographer Soumik Halder coming on board as director this season, which is based on the story Magna Mainak. The frames are gorgeously shot as per the period setting, and yet not one-shot feels extra. This harmonious balance between direction and cinematography is what supports this entire season as a single pillar, in spite of Sougata Basu’s screenplay getting a bit tedious in the middle. The result is arguably the show’s best outing since Season 3.
Besides Bhattacharya, Suprabhat Das and Ridhima Ghosh are also good in their roles as Ajit and Satyavati. Theatre veteran Debshankar Haldar knocks it out of the park as the reserved Santosh Samaddar. Darshana Banik’s Henna shines in the flashback sequences. Krishnendu Deowanji is decent as Santosh’s secretary Ravi Verma. Soumendra Bhattacharya and Ujan Chatterjee are okay, while Indrajit Mazumder is memorable in a cameo.
Music & Other Departments
Together with Sanglap Bhowmik’s deft editing, Souvik Basu’s cinematography brings the story alive. Shibaji Pal’s production design is top-notch. One wishes, however, that Sayan Ganguly’s score had been a little unobtrusive at times.
The sequence when Byomkesh questions Santosh Samaddar for the first time after Henna’s death and the unfolding of the conclusion to the story is the major highlights.
The screenplay starts lagging in the second episode when all possible suspects in the Samaddar household are being questioned by Byomkesh.
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?
Yes. A helpful tip would be to watch this preferably on TV, just to appreciate the frames.