Indian Film Industry mourned the demise of cinema’s one of its most praiseworthy names. Rituparno Ghosh who breathed his last on 30th June, is one of the most impeccably artistic film makers of India. Though most of his better and more celebrated works are in Bengali, I did manage to find a Hindi piece of my choice – Raincoat.
The film was wiped out from public memory, due to the large dislike towards art films. Yet, Raincoat was a master piece from Ghosh that dwindled into oblivion without earning its rightful due.
Raincoat is film that will reek of melancholy and nostalgia, yet manages to be breathtakingly and painfully beautiful. Borrowing mildly from the premise of O.Henry’s classic short story ‘The Gift of the Magi’, the film is a story of unrequited love and how we often make choice against our heart’s will and settle quietly for unhappiness!
If you don’t let the snail paced narrative bother you, Ghosh assuredly has a treat waiting for you. A story that begins in Bhagalpur travels to Kolkata with the film’s protagonist. Out of job, his haplessness takes him to his former lover. Ajay Devgn as the reticent guy plays his part to such perfection. It is when we watch these brilliant performances of Devgn, we miss the actor he was before commercial success took out the better of him.
Aishwarya Rai, as the lover who is facing the brunt of the couple’s self imposed estrangement is near perfect. Ghosh’s caliber and art of film making takes credit for most here. As the story begins with pouring rain and sweltering atmosphere, the narrative follows the terrain of Chekovian style of work.
The film’s drama is layered, yet so simplistic and subtle that it seems natural. More suited to have been the story with veteran actors, Devgn and Rai both struggle to render believable elements in their not so compelling chemistry. The plot line is packed with shallow claims and verbal grandeur which remains a delusional fragment of the lead’s imagination. Trying to settle into the make belief world of happiness, her appearance speaks the contrary. Shabby, unkempt and uncaring, she smells of passiveness. Devgn’s entry evokes restrained love from her, and both actors do manage to aid the other’s performance.
Rituparno’s work is poetic. Its dialogues lyrical and its setting melodious. This speaks volumes of his vast understanding of story though being unfamiliar with the language. He compiles varied tints and hues of unrequited love in the story, aspects we can feel yet cant express. The film seeks support from Debojyoti Mishra’s resonating musical scores and Aveek Mukherji’s silent photography.
There are reasons why I appreciate Ghosh’s works. This man understands human sentiments like none other. There is poignance is every bit he shows, there is beauty in every mundane frame. The film is heart wrenching. It is a work of sheer cinematic excellence and in the end you are left spell bounded at the magnanimity of this simple tale.
We, at Koimoi are deeply saddened by the loss. It seems personal to us and hence on this heart breaking moment we bring to our readers, a striking memoir from Ghosh’s work. Do catch Raincoat and get overwhelmed!