Bhalobashar Shohor (City of Love)

Naushin Jahan Chaudhury reviews the most recent youtube release set in the backdrop of war in Syria, ‘bhalobashar shohor’


A 31minute singular short film ‘Bhalobashar Shohor’ has been phenomenally directed by Indranil Roychowdhury; he has managed to bring up the chaos of time in a muchsedated manner.The movie has been brought to life by the leading character and exquisite acting of Jaya Ahsan followed by other role-players, Ritwick Chakraborty, Sohini Sarkar and Arun Mukherjee. This short film was released on 30th June 2017 on YouTube for the viewers over the internet in Bangladesh and India [ for those outsidethese two countries].

maxresdefaultThe film delineates the story to be initially situated in an overcrowded neighborhood in Kolkata, where the cruelty of life emerges.A middle class woman Annapurna (Jaya Ahsan) falls in love with Adil Haider (Ritwick Chakraborty) who gives Annapurna the dreams she would jump for in a heartbeat. She loves Kolkata deeply and fascinates the antediluvian city but Adil wishes to take her to another beautiful ancient city called Homs, in Syria.

Jaya Ahsan (Annapurna) keeps a tight heart and moves along with whatever struggles life throws at her in the cape of good hope. As humans we tend to be oblivious about our surroundings because we always want to avoid the brutal truth around us. Jaya Ahsan takes a turn in her character and creates a change in heart for her viewers with her flawless performance. Her role as a mother and loving wife brings about wonders of sentiment. She highlights and maneuvers the film as though one can empathise every moment. Annapurna works a number of jobs to earn for the life she wishes to see. Her role reminds us of how infinite love can be and how much one can do for the people they love. She risks life and death but still have faith in her heart. Annapurna’s heart and soul is as simple as she physically appears to be with her engraved aching heart. Jaya Ahsan did a remarkable job in portraying her role where her entire attire, speech and rendition spoke her character. She managed to engage her viewers throughout the duration.

Ritwick Chakraborty (Adil Haider), on the other hand plays a role that consists of profound depth. His catchy voice behind the picture makes every moment intimate, as every word spoken by him counts. His tone and pitch announces his devoted character. Adil at heart wishes to give the life Annapurna deserves but when life takes a volatile turn, nothing more horrible than frustration occurs.

Arun Mukherjee (Annapurna’s father) is a fragile old father who lives to see the struggles of Annapurna and her grandchild. Parental love will always be affectionate, forgiving, certain, and never-ending. In this world of distress, the only people to be trusted are your own blood. The old father defeats the most unbearable pain, feeling helpless as the situation commences to worsen with time. By heart he was bound to bear the truth his daughter did not believe that made him come apart at seams. He wishes to serve his daughter with a solution that he did not have or a cure that would remove the pain in her heavy heart.

Indranil Roy Chowdhury vignettes the movie as though it seems to concern Kolkata only but later in the movie we understand that he actually tries to reveal the occurrences of the world and how our life is internally connected to the worldly affairs. Life is not in the hands of mankind but is actually how the world treats us.

Alongside, the contrast in marriage due to religious differences is shown which aren’t acceptable, still considered to be taboo and wouldn’t risk to be caught seen even in today’s time.  The prejudicial and illiberal society that we live in causes us to face consequences, and that should change.

Image-2Indranil Roy chowdhury, has directed the movie in a way where he had compiled the scenes in series of flash backs. He situates the movie to be in Kolkata of 2012 which actually isn’t too long ago. With that in mind he manages to make the audience realise how uncertain the world is and how things change with time. The motive was to bring about the worldly affairs of today in a very short period of time. He made sure to make every scene as realistic as possible. Not only were the main characters emphasised in the frame but also the atmosphere, the people, their lifestyle, habitat and habitual activities were shown aesthetically. The angles captured of the overview of the city with its landscapes, roads, alleys, people, noise, voices all collectively shows the time and beauty. The accurate captures of every scene radiates the vivid setting of the scenario.

The choice of song had tied the movie together. ‘Bondhu Rongila Rongila Re’ – an iconic Shachin Dev song sung by a female voice Titas Sen. The lyrics had empowered the song so strongly for the movie that it created mix of serene emotions, even though the movie flowed with suspense. This single song summarises the movie to the point it contiguously touches the soul and sets deep in the mind.

A scene halfway into the film that had overwhelmingly commiserated my feelings and that was when Annapurna hears the alarming dreadful news that shatters her and the next scene shows how vulnerable she feels. She barfs on the side of a running road, in open air, as helpless as she can be, lost in a number of thoughts that she could not withstand. Joya Ahsan does the scene in certified naturalism.

As the director wished to narrate the story in such a short duration, the downfall of the film is to be, the compilation of the scenes where it’s honestly too short to understand what was going on at one go. As the movie leads off with continual back and forth clips of the past and present it makes it quite difficult for the viewer to catch up.The film happens to be a puzzle for the viewers to deduce and understand the depth of every clip as each scene has some reasoning to be shown. If the short film were to be around an hour and half more, then it could definitely expose the intended messages clearly and could cork up the sensation that was willing to be shown.

Then again, I understandthat the upbringing generation is all about becomingsocially aware through the internet. As so, this short film has only been released over the net, it clarifies its targeted audience, but I personally wished the film was extended and would have been released on other social platforms so that the message could be preached to a larger audience. The language is so clear; followed by subtitles and it would have been great to see it release in all mediums so that world could view this heart-touching short movie. The world should see how far our film industry has evolved and the potential it holds.

The movie end with a scene in which camera is moving through a 2000 year old city of Syria, Homs, as it moves, one could see the destruction of war. The last line you would seen in the screen says, before the war began in Homs in 2011, everyday, millions of people would return home to their loved ones.

It is undoubtly a must watch short film that surely will not be a waste of your time. Life is too short and the world is temporary. Why don’t we act as one and contribute to the world? Many of us aren’t able to come home to our loved ones. We are left to solemnly then wonder where did you leave me and go my friend?


Naushin Jahan Chaudhury is a student of Independent University Bangladesh.

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