Friday, May 27, 2011


 Games of Destiny

Kashmakash is the Hindi dubbed version of the Bengali Noukadubi-- Rituparno Ghosh’s new version of a Tagore story, that has been made before in Hindi as Milan and Ghunghat.

The story set in the 1920s is old-fashioned, but that also gives the director the leeway to create a lushly beautiful period piece, with lovely costumes and production design. The two Sen girls with their large Bengali eyes, and graceful body language, look perfectly suited for their parts.

Rajesh (Jishu Sengupta), a law student in Calcutta, is in love with his friend’s sister, Hanalei (Raima Sen), but he is forced to marry a girl from his village. After his wedding Ramesh sets out with his bride on boat journey back to Calcutta. A storm overturns the boat and when Ramesh wakes up on a deserted beach, he sees an unconscious bride and takes her home, believing that she is the one he married. But she is Kamla (Riya Sen), who was married to a doctor called Nalinaksha Chatterji (Prosenjit). Kamla wonders what’s going on by stays silent.

Gradually Ramesh realises that the woman he has brought home is not the one he married. He tries to trace her real husband, but doesn’t tell Kamla, for fear that she may not be able to take the shock.

Hemnalini learns about Ramesh’s marriage and is devastated. He father (Dhritiman Chatterjee) brings her to Kashi to recover, where she meets Nalinaksha and they get engaged. Kamla finds out that Ramesh is not her husband and attempts suicide. She is rescued by a courtesan, brought to Kashi and sent to  the home of  Nalinaksha’s mother. Kamla sees her husband but cannot speak up as he about to marry Hemnalini. Things do sort out conveniently in the end.

It does seem like a typical ‘filmi’ story replete with impossible coincidences, it is Ghosh’s delicate handling that makes the film worth a watch. The dubbing is not perfect, but once drawn into the emotions of the storm-tossed characters, it doesn’t matter. The performances are excellent- this is the kind of cinema Ghosh is most comfortable with, and he is able to bring out the nuances of the Tagore story, without tipping into melodrama or absurdity— telling this story to today’s audiences is a highwire act that Ghosh achieves without tripping.


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