Bhagshesh movie review: Rema Bose's film is a wasted opportunity — and a tragic one at that
Director Rema Bose’s new film Bhagshesh (The Remainder) suffers from a familiar ailment — an insufferable lack of vision
castMalabika Sen, Priyanka Sarkar, Koushik Roy, Ambarish Bhattacharya, Subhrajit Dutta, Soumitra Chatterjee
How many good concepts in cinema are spoilt simply because of poor execution? How many perfectly good opportunities are wasted, thanks to shoddy writing or misguided direction? How many times have you watched a film and told yourself — the premise had great promise, and had it not been for the director's lack of vision, this could have been a wonderful film? Director Rema Bose’s new film Bhagshesh (The Remainder) suffers from exactly that ailment — an insufferable lack of vision.
The film is narrated by an aspiring writer named Biswajit who has just learnt that his recent novel has become a bestseller. He tells us the story of his novel: the story of a woman named Madhubanti; a woman he personally knew. Biswajit, Madhubanti and Amit were three good friends in college, and they stayed in touch even after their college days. When Amit’s wife suspects that he is having an affair with Madhubanti and leaves him and their daughter Pooja, the little girl blames Madhubanti for her parents' separation. The situation is worsened when scared of his lifelong commitments as a single father, a weak-willed Amit proposes marriage to Madhubanti. A product of a broken home herself, Madhubanti understands the plight of children who haven’t had the good fortune of receiving their parent’s love. So despite the fact that she never quite loved Amit, she says yes to his proposal, just so that she can take care of Pooja. But Pooja can’t seem to stand the sight of her, and remains aloof for fifteen long years. When Pooja grows up to be a pretty little belle and falls in love with her college professor, Madhubanti gently offers her support to Pooja, finally winning her heart. The love of her daughter that she had been craving for all her life is now hers to enjoy. But her joys are short lived, because an unexpected turn of events threatens to pull Pooja away from her yet again.
Had this beautiful premise ended up in the hands of a talented director, they would have created a splendid and sensitive portrayal of a mother’s love out of it. But Rema Bose’s half-baked storytelling and excessive theatricality makes the film an extremely sub-par watch. What is more painful for the audience is that all through the film, you are constantly aware and conscious of the strength of the subject, and yet you see it die a tragic death, bit by bit, thanks to immature handling. Fraught with an unnecessary deluge of dialogues, poor shot composition and uneven pace, there is nothing left in Bhagshesh by the end of it all.
Among the actors, the ever dependable Ambarish Bhattacharya is perhaps the only one who brings in some semblance of reason to his performance as the soft-spoken, all-seeing, sensitive and good natured Biswajit. Bhattacharya is effortlessly good in his role, and one can see that he has an excellent understanding of film acting. Subhrajit Dutta appears and disappears before you know it, and fails to leave a mark. Priyanka Sarkar seems to have potential, but one gets the feeling that she has ended up in the wrong film, and that the director could not extract a good performance out of her. That is no excuse, however, for putting up what is essentially an extremely uninspiring performance.
But the real tragedy of it all comes with the performance of the central character of the film — Madhubanti, played by Malabika Sen — who is just not convincing enough, not even in a single frame. As a result, there is very little connect that she is able to establish with her audience, and for a film that rests largely on her shoulders, that’s a grave weakness to possess. Because every time she flounders, the film flounders, till a point comes when it predictably gets completely derailed.
What the film can boast of, however, are some beautiful songs. The title track, in particular, is exceptionally good. But I am sure director Rema Bose knew that a good film needs much more than merely good music. Bhagshesh is a wasted opportunity, and a tragic one at that.
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