Star cast: Rajat Kapoor, Rituparna Sengupta, Antara Mali

Plot: Rajat Kapoor is trying to cope with the loss of his wife and son in a violent attack when he was posted in Yugoslavia. He is now married to his psychiatrist’s daughter, Rituparna Sengupta. While in Sikkim, he sees a female monk who resembles his first wife, Antara Mali, and is confronted with all the pain and anger again.

What’s Good: The scenic beauty of Sikkim; Rajat Kapoor’s acting.

What’s Bad: Rituparna’s inconsistent acting; the English songs in the background; the unanswered questions in the end.

Loo break: Anytime, as many times!

Shangrila Kreations and Parth Productions’ …And Once Again (English) is about a man’s constant quest for answers and how this greed becomes the root of his sorrow.

Rishikesh Nag (Rajat Kapoor) is an IFS officer, vacationing with his architect-wife, Manuvela (Rituparna Sengupta) in the picturesque hills of Sikkim. He is coping with the death of his first wife, Savitri (Antara Mali), and his son in a violent attack when they were in Yugoslavia many years ago. While Rishikesh was in therapy, he fell in love and married his psychiatrist’s daughter, Manuvela.

During his visit to the monasteries, Rishikesh is one day shocked to see Savitri as a female monk there. Initially, Manuvela regards it as a figment of his imagination or plain hallucination, but later she begins to understand the impact of violence in Rishikesh’s life. Is Savitri avoiding Rishikesh? Why didn’t she contact him for 18 long years? And where does all this leave Manuvela? The film tries to answer these questions. Or at least some of them.

Sandhya Gokhale’s screenplay is good enough for the elite audience only, but some of the flashbacks are too abrupt. A linear storyline would have made things easier without taking away anything from the film. The dialogues (by Sandhya Gokhale) are lofty and sound like a preacher’s sermon, at times. The characters go on and on in English, and it’s only Rajat Kapoor whose character uses a few words in Hindi, making him seem more real. Rajat Kapoor and Antara Mali are very good. Rituparna Sengupta falls short too many times. Her makeup also seems to have been done hastily: she’s caked with foundation, lipstick and eyeliner even when she wakes up in the middle of the night!

Director Amol Palekar does a good job of using the natural beauty of Sikkim to his advantage. The rotating prayer bells, the traditional masked dances and monasteries – they all fit aptly into Amol Palekar’s storytelling. But his narration, like the script, would be appreciated by a very thin section of the class audience. Debajyoti Mishra and Anjan Biswas do a fair job of the background score, but the English songs fall flat. They sound out of place and forcefully rhymed. Asim Bose’s cinematography is laudable. Abhijeet Deshpande’s editing is just okay.
…And Once Again keeps a lazy pace throughout, but there isn’t anything to anchor the viewer – neither     the story nor the drama nor even the moral. You end up leaving the theatre with a lot more questions on your mind than the characters had in the movie.

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