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'Shankhachil' Review: A Poignant Father-daughter Story with Top Notch Performance from Prosenjit Chatterjee

Shomini Sen | IBNLive.comshominisen

Updated:April 18, 2016, 4:40 PM IST
'Shankhachil' Review: A Poignant Father-daughter Story with Top Notch Performance from Prosenjit Chatterjee

Cast: Prosenjit Chatterjee, Dipankar Dey, Kusum Sikder, Shajbati

Director: Goutam Ghose

Politics may divide people on the basis of religion, boundaries may set them apart, but humanity surpasses such boundaries and limitation. Something that Goutam Ghose’s new film ‘Shankhachil’ resonates throughout.

Having won the Best Bengali feature film this year at the National Awards, ‘Shankhgachil’ highlights the anguish that people have gone through due to partition, through generations. Based at a small village-town in Satkhira district at the Indo-Bangladesh border, the film centers around a school master Muntasir Chowdhury Badal (Prosenjit Chatterjee), his wife Laila (Bangladeshi actress Kusum Sikder) and their daughter Roopsha (Shajbati). Roopsha, a free spirited 12-year-old with a curious mind, suffers from a life threatening heart disease for which the couple is advised by the neighbours and local doctors to get her treated at a bigger hospital in a big town. The couple, now Bangladeshi nationals, has two options- one to head to Dhaka for their daughter’s treatment and the other to cross border to get her treated in India which is nearer.

As Roopsha’s condition worsens, the couple hastily decides to cross the Ichamati River that divides Bangladesh from India and take their daughter to India to get treated. With the help of a few neighbours and an old Doctor friend in India, the couple get their daughter admitted to the hospital but are compelled to change their names, religion and country in order to not get deported back.

The film primarily scores for its brilliant cinematography and compelling performances by the cast. No words are enough to describe the talent of Prosenjit Chatterjee. The actor, who ruled the box office of Bengali cinema most of ‘80s and ‘90s, has reinvented himself and the kind of roles he does onscreen. As the honest, good-hearted yet helpless father of an ailing daughter, Chatterjee manages to stir the viewer’s conscience. When he is lying to save his daughter, you feel for him. When he smiles at this child’s innocence, you smile along. Chatterjee, who has been consistently been delivering stellar performance is the past few years, is in top form in this film as well. Giving him company is Bangladeshi actress Kusum Sikder, who plays Roopsha’s mother. Hesitant to wear red bindi and vermillion on her forehead to disguise her identity, Sikder plays the anguished, helpless mother to perfection.

The film boasts of some fantastic shots of the Ichamati river. Shots of the gathering storm, a lone streamer crossing the river at dusk- all make for stunning views.

The only problem with film is its narrative which takes a leisurely time to establish the plot. At the beginning too much time is spent in expressing the anguish and the pain that still exists amongst people of both the country when that is just forms a sort backdrop to the whole film. Half an hour before the interval, does one finally get the grip on the story. There are certain shots which seem so pointless- like the one where suddenly a few bikers are seen racing down an empty road in Kolkata, no one knows why the scene was not edited out.

Should you be watching the film? Yes. Because ‘Shankhachil’ makes for a compelling watch simply because of its heartwarming, poignant story and for actor Prosenjit Chatterjee’s performance, who never fails to impress.

Ratings: 3/5

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