A half-baked script makes this drama a tedious watch
Directed by Sudeep Das, the film, which criticizes the patriarchal mentality, benefits from a commanding performance by Indrani Haldar.
Sudeep Das’ Kuler Achaar, with Madhumita Sarcar, Vikram Chatterjee, Indrani Haldar and Sujan Mukherjee, describes how the evils of patriarchy are passed down from generation to generation until rebellious family members break the cycle.
The film tells the story of a woman who chooses to keep her maiden name after marriage despite the objections of her in-laws. At first, it seems like a trivial question, but the self-proclaimed guardian of the family’s pedigree makes it a matter of ego.
Mithi (Sarcar) and her husband Pritam (Chatterjee) get into trouble on their honeymoon when the police question their marital status because of their different last names. Mithi is also disappointed that her husband put her up in a dodgy hotel and insists on getting home as soon as possible. Upon their early return from their honeymoon, Pritam’s parents become anxious. As they learn the truth, Pritam and his father (Mukherjee) hold Mithi responsible.
The family’s problems do not diminish over time. Pritam’s father’s friends stir up his selfish beliefs and he decides to coerce Mithi into adopting the family’s surname. Mithi’s (Haldar) stepmother, meanwhile, realizes she’s not being unreasonable but strives to maintain a connection to her own family history.
One of the strengths of the script is that all the characters go through organic transformations. Although Mithi is clear about her intentions, it also strikes her in times of acute crisis that she values her loved ones and their well-being above her own interests. In contrast, her stepmother, who for years never put her desires above her family’s well-being, finds new meaning in life when she too decides to use her maiden name. daughter after forty years of marriage.
Despite some poorly written scenes, the film depicts how the patriarchs in a family, like Mithi’s stepfather, victimize women until they feel completely helpless in the face of the harsh realities of life and realize that their desire to protect their ego stems from personal dissatisfaction or from the fact that they have been deprived of the fulfillment of a desire at some point in their lives.
The director here deserves credit for not taking a diplomatic stance on hypermasculinity and female solidarity. All of the male characters in the story are clearly victims of years of societal conditioning, but they barely realize it until the women in their lives become “rebellious.”
Indrani Haldar is adorable on screen. She owns every dramatic moment with honesty and proves that after a nearly five-year hiatus, she dominated the silver screen in the 1990s. Mukherjee also brings the negative undertones of her character to life with ease.
Chatterjee is decent as Mithi’s husband, who makes his inner transformation felt through his actions rather than his words. However, Sarcar’s frivolous, one-dimensional acting rather impacts the seriousness of the story most of the time.
Prosenjit Chowdhury’s camerawork captures the emotional turmoil of the characters. Prasen and Mainak Mazoomdar’s compositions “Bhul Koreche Bhul” and “Ami Amar Modhye” give moments of relief to the script, which is mostly full of chaotic moments.
Although there are more serious issues with feminism in the world that could have been addressed, the film attempts to critique the patriarchal mindset in a middle class setting. However, Bengali filmmakers these days seem rather hesitant to deal with serious issues in an unwavering manner and tend to incorporate frivolity to ensure mass appeal. Kuler Achaar suffers from the same problem that sometimes makes it tedious to watch despite its unpredictable storyline.
Kuler Achaar was released in West Bengal theaters on July 15.