#Praktan has turned out to be an awesome experience. I would highly recommend this movie to everybody. It is sub-titled in English and the appeal is universally relevant. Nobody will return disappointed with movie. It has got a wide release throughout India and even outside. I hope moviegoers will take this opportunity to watch an excellent movie. You can identify with the story, beyond the language.
Praktan stands out on the strength of its overall treatment because in spite of a very straight line and commonplace story with an expected ending, it keeps the audience interested till the last scene. The suspense is never overwhelming but always grips the attention. The tight editing, superb camerawork, wonderful songs and contextual relief sequences never lets the focus shift from the flow of the story, in a series of flashbacks. The director duo deserve kudos for this movie.
Praktan, literally means the prefix Ex , as used to describe a past association or relation. Here the story deals with the sudden and fateful chance meeting of an estranged and divorced couple, on a train journey from Mumbai to Kolkata. The woman boards the train from Mumbai to find her ex husband's present wife and daughter as co passengers in the 1st class AC coupe. The man himself joins his family at Nagpur, ostensibly to surprise his present wife on her birthday but is himself surprised to find his ex-wife with them. The train journey and the interactions brings back memories in flashbacks to relate the present with the past and explores a tortuous trajectory of a relationship of love going haywire due to ego, obstinacy, misunderstanding and immaturity. It is a very plausible and normal story of our times. The travails of a career minded working woman partnering a less career oriented man is also narrated in a very sensitive manner. The story also tries to explain how love is very much necessary but can not be the sole cementing factor for a stable relationship.
The train journey forms the backdrop for the present to unravel the past. The use of train compartment and coupes will make one feel nostalgic and may also bring the memories of the movie Nayak by the master director Satyajit Ray. It could have been a claustrophobic experience with the confinement of a coupe but a very innovative casting and selection of co passengers to provide relief through humour and music makes the total journey very interesting and interactive. So much so that at a certain point the audience will identify with the journey. And some shots of the moving train would just make you say- WOW. Indian Railways may think about adopting this movie as a showcase.
Apart from the train, the wonderful shots of Kolkata weaves a nostalgic romance in the flashback scenes. The music of the movie helps to take it along and though my favourite Anupam Roy is again back with a wonderful composition, Surojit's folk based rendition upstages him for its audio visual effect . Even I will admit that.
It was a pleasure to see veteran thespians, Soumitra and Sabitri Chatterjee pairing up to provide a glimpse of their acting skills. The recitation of the theme poetry by Soumitra babu works better than a song to create the mood. The innovative casting of singers Anupam, Surojit, Anindya and Upal as themselves is a great idea to make music relevant to the story and the antakshari scene is rollicking too. A thread of relationship is also explored through them. Bishwanath provides a good comic relief as the young husband on honeymoon with his wife in the single coupe. But Manali Dey as his peppy and saucy young wife is a revelation. She is very, very good. And the child artist too.
Rituparna and Prosenjit in the central roles are so much fitting that the old chemistry between them seems to be reignited. They carry the movie on the strength of their acting. Rituparna expresses the emotions so wonderfully with her facial expressions. But Aparajita Adhya as the roly poly housewife probably gives the performance of her life in this film. And a momentary expression on her face in the climax is the high point of the movie. She is the actor who will stay with the audience, to remember, long after the movie. A standing ovation for her.
This thin story could have easily degenerated into somethng else. But Nandita-Shibaprasad, the director duo never let it go out of hands and the restraint showed is commendable. The tight screenplay and interspersion of the train journey with flashbacks is never boring or jerky. The drama is never allowed to be a melodrama. And the bitterness and sadness of a broken relation never overwhelms into a sentimental excess. In fact, the movie is quite positive and provides feel good vibes inspite of dealing with a subject of negative memories. You come out of the theatre with a refreshed mind.