Direction & Story: Aniruddha Roy Choudhury
Screenplay: Shyamal Sengupta
D.O.P: Abhik Mukhopadhyay
Editor: Arghakamal Moitra
Abhik: Rahul Bose
Brinda: Radhika Apte
Paromita: Aparna Sen
Ranjan: Kalyan Ray
Literally translating the title would mean “endless.” Something with no end. This film is a take on the endless wait of love.
I was hearing this name for some time now. Everyone was talking about Antaheen. On a Saturday, I managed to finally watch it. Half an hour into the film I felt that it was made for the images.
The Cinematography played on close ups, slow tracks in and slow zoom ins. Quite a bit of slow motions and superimposes were also used.
But was that the need of the script? What was the need of the script? In fact, what was the script?
– Was it about technology pushing people further away, instead of bringing them together?
– Was it about relationships (or rather failed relationships)?
– Was it about journalism and power politics?
– Was it about some sort of romantic spirituality?
The script till the end keeps eluding from any one topic. It almost teases. I desperately wanted to know where it was headed. In fact, by the end, the ‘career’ seemed a tool forcefully introduced to reach the climax and create a dramatic twist (which it miserably fails in). The story falls flat.
Paromita: Aporna Sen, the smoking and champagne drinking marketing executive with short hair and breath-taking sarees, still can’t act. She is too conscious to please to be able to please.
Abhik: Rahul Bose, the IPS officer who never seems to be on duty and is basking in glory bestowed to him in the beginning of the film. He truly believes in the virtual world, is also a wonderful kitchen person, has a sparkling black Scorpio or something like that, and is too much of a dream man to be true. He is trying too hard to be the thinking man to be able to connect to the audience.
Brinda: Radhika Apte, the curly haired, tall journalist who was such a dreamer for a career oriented person. There was nothing much wrong with her. But she was made to make such a fuss about her beauty and femininity and sexuality that it just became dull.
Ranjan: Kalyan Ray, the rich husband of Paromita who seemed to be a jovial and lazy man and always had a glass in his hand (morning or evening) didn’t seem to be so difficult to spend life with. There was never much of a reason given as to why that marriage failed. He seemed awfully attached to his estranged wife. He looked intellectual. White beard and long salt-pepper hair. Just looked.
The characters tried (or were made to) so hard not to express their desires and they tried so hard to show their confusion with life that I never had a chance to connect with any of them. Also, the tiny bits where humans were actually interacting with humans, was sort of nice but remember? ‘Tiny Bits.’ The film was dominated by voiceovers so much that I started feeling dictated as to what the director wants me and the actors to feel. Neither was the voiceover gaps filled up with exciting visuals to indulge poor me.
The character of the aunt (Sharmila Tagore), the only worthwhile performance, and the corporate big shot and his wife and their sad back story seemed unnecessary and burdensome.
The whole fixation of beautifying the frame was completely overpowering. Everything became an experience to live, feel and touch. Even death didn’t dare express itself like it truly is. Stylized and glamorous, it would be everyone’s dream to die looking so beautiful. Aniruddha Roy Choudhury endorsed a lifestyle in which drinking is a matter of economy and smoking a matter of liberation. There was Freida Kahlo painting on walls and a stuck kite on antenna. Everything trying to be a metaphor.
Sad little Calcutta’s over-crowded roads with pot-holes became smooth highways for romantic long (silent) drives. There was nothing Bengali in the atmosphere. It became this utopic land which might be anywhere, where there are no woes other than the hearts’.
Contradicting this whole stream was introduced the idea of the big corporate taking away land from the poor (forcefully). Star Ananda endorsed Antaheen has a take on Singoor which barely fits into the same film I was talking about.
I would, to sum it up, say it is a pseudo-intellectual attempt at cinema.