Cast: Saswata Chatterjee, Anirban Bhattacharya, Joya Ahsan, Payel Sarkar
Director: Arindam Sil
Arindam Sil’s second installment in the Shobor series, Eagoler Chokh, starts on a very intriguing note where a woman is seen arguing on the phone in the dead of the night while two supposed burglars creep inside the spacious house. Moments later, she is shot dead – and her friend, Shivangi(Joya Ahsan), who was sleeping inside the bedroom, is shot on her head while she was trying to save herself from being killed.
The first scene itself sets the grim tone of the film. Where ace cop Shabor Dasgupta (Saswata Chatterjee) has to not only unravel who killed Nandini (Payel Sarkar) but also fight his own inner demons. Shabor, ably assisted by his assistant Nanda (Subhrojit) goes into the plush residence of Bishan Roy(Anirban Roy) to investigate a murder but realizes that it is not a case of burglary but a crime of passion, deceit and murky past.
Sil manages to keep the viewer’s guessing throughout-with ample amount of twists thrown within the film's narrative. The story throws upon several pertinent questions. Why does Banish-a successful businessman and a magnet to women prefer to be intoxicated and a recluse all the time? Why does his wife, Shivangi-a successful entrepreneur- never leave her husband despite knowing his misdeeds? What dark truth does Nandini know that can ruin Shivangi and Bishan's life? And more importantly- why does Shivangi sleep with a revolver next to her bed on the night of murder? Did she expect the burgalry?
As Shabor goes around unraveling one mystery after the other, the narrative goes back and forth in time to establish the plot well. The film’s key characters are all good actors and hence are able to create the tense situation that is needed in a thriller.
From Payel Sarkar to Joya Ahsan to Anirban Bhattachrya- everyone delivers a nuanced performance. Playing perhaps one of the most complex characters in the film – Bhattacharya’s performance stands out. A troubled past, a murky present, Bishan is a character who is loved and loathed in equal measures. Bhattacharya brings in vulnerability to his character perfectly.
The film though belongs to Saswata Chatterjee, who as sleuth-cop Shobor Dasgupta completely drives the narrative. It is because of his earnest performance that the film, despite glaring flaws, makes for an exciting watch.
There are of course several loopholes. A lot of questions go unanswered- who made love to Bishan Roy on the night of December 31st is never known properly, neither is Bishan’s transformation is understood. There is also a sly dig taken on a Bengali medium school and its people throughout the film which seems a bit insensitive. There are several moments in the film where the characters are seen staring at each other which doesn’t really convey anything, and could have been easily edited to make it more crisp.
Despite the flaws, I’d say Eagoler Chokh is worth a watch. Simply because Saswata Chatterjee shines throughout.