Film: “Vinci Da” (Bengali); Cast: Rudranil Ghosh, Ritwick Chakraborty, Anirban Bhattacharya, Sohini Sarkar; Director: Srijit Mukherjee; Rating: **** ½ (four and a half stars)
Two thoughts struck me simultaneously as I watched Srijit Mukherjee’s latest work open-mouthed and stunned: this is the most original thriller I’ve seen in Indian cinema, and that some of the best work in Indian cinema is happening outside ‘Bollywood’.
Interestingly, ‘Bollywood’ does come up for discussion in the course of this vastly intriguing thriller when the make-up artiste, pet-named Vinci Da for his affinity to the art of Leonardo da Vinci, comments on budgets for Bollywood cinema being unaffordable in Bangla cinema.
And yet Vinci Da survives, and he is brilliant at his work, just like Srijit Mukherjee who makes two films a year. This time Mukherjee is on slippery ground negotiating across an arching lumbering canvas that at once secretes a devious thriller and a stirring morality tale.
It’s hard to say anything about the plot without giving away the devastating twists and turns. But the one thing that can be said safely is we have never seen anything like this before. The interactive drama about a serial killer who has the mind of a brilliant lawyer, and a make-up artiste, played with visceral force by two of the country’s finest actors Ritwick Chakraborty and Rudranil Ghosh, is so fraught with a feral acuity, we are often left looking at situations and circumstances that seem ripped off newspaper headlines and pinned to the macabre vision of Wes Craven.
As the serial killer Adi Bose, representing what criminologist Colin Wilson called ‘genius gone the wrong way’ snares the goodhearted idealistic make-up artiste into a bizarre web of crime, Mukherjee straddles the two worlds of terror and tenderness without losing his firm grip over the narrative.
There are bouts of bestial brutality that reminded me of the sudden spurts of violence in Mukherjee’s “Rajkahini”. Then there is the tender passion between the make-up artiste and his speech-challenged beloved Jaya (Sohini Sarkar). Their scenes together are suffused with the incense of an innocent attraction. It is a sight to behold when the narrative fuses the brutal violence with the tender innocence.
Speaking of ‘incense’, it is no coincidence that the word means anger and also those religious sticks that one has to light up to experience the heady fragrance. At the end we are are left with only the fury and fragrance mingling in a union that is both shocking and exhilarating.
“Vinci Da” is a remarkable work for the way it blurs the lines of morality to show how easily a clever man can jump from the right side to the wrong. And how weak can be manipulated by the strong. It’s also remarkable for showing the close relationship between crime and art, and between the criminal and his conscience.
It is no coincidence that the young Adi Bose (played with chilling serenity by the astonishing Riddhi Sen) batters his abusive father to death minutes before he turns 18.
“Vinci Da” breaks every glass ceiling that the ‘thriller’ genre in India has ever encountered and savours the shards as they penetrate the very core of the concept of crime and atonement.
Pankaj Tripathi: I know people love me through social media
Pankaj Tripathi is one of the busiest actors in the Bollywood circuit, but he surprises you by saying he doesn’t quite understand what it means to be a star. However, he gets to know that people love him through social media reactions.
“Nothing has changed. I don’t have an idea if I am a star and I don’t know what it’s like to be a star. I don’t have an idea about stardom. I used to work with honesty and I am doing it with sincerity till now,” Pankaj told IANS.
He is, of course, aware of the love he has won, thanks to social media.
“I know people love me. I get to know about it through social media. Sometimes I feel that the love of the audience is like a fixed deposit with me and I have to give them back with interest. So, the responsibility and trust increases. I have to return the love of the audience with interest,” he said.
Pankaj has a motley of films lined up in the year ahead. He will be seen in “83”, ‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar”, “Mumbai Saga” and “Bachchan Pandey”.
Singer Sonu Nigam meets Yogi Adityanath after visiting Ayodhya
Well-known singer Sonu Nigam on Monday met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the latter’s official residence in Lucknow.
The Chief Minister gifted the singer a coin launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a book on Kumbh Mela.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, the singer said, “Yogi Adityanath is a dynamic leader and far-sighted person. I was in Lucknow and had the opportunity to visit the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Tomorrow, I will be going to Kashi Vishwanath. I told the Chief Minister that his thinking is beneficial for the country and he should tell us how we can contribute to nation building.”
Earlier, on Sunday, the singer reached Ayodhya to offer prayers to Lord Ram at the Ram Janmabhoomi temple. He also attended the “aarti”. He said that he wished to present a brick for the Lord Ram temple construction in Ayodhya.
“For years I wanted to come to Ayodhya. Today, my wish has been fulfilled,” he said. The singer also visited Hanuman Garhi temple.
Actor Sharad Kelkar: People are partying so don’t know why they won’t go to theatres
New Delhi: Actor Sharad Kelkar during the promotion of the upcoming ZEE5 web-series “Rangbaaz Phirse” in New Delhi on Dec 10, 2019. (Photo: Amlan Paliwal/IANS)
Actor Sharad Kelkar is surprised that the audience is still hesitant to return to the cinema theatres, although other areas of the hospitality and entertainment industry have started to open up, post Covid lockdown.
“People have started going to pubs, coffee shops, restaurants, weddings and even to places like Goa on vacation. People are partying big time, so I don’t know why they are not going to the theatres,” Sharad told IANS.
“Theatres are much safer, and also there is 50 per cent occupancy. Theaters are regularly cleaned and sanitised. This is one of the biggest industries we have, and it is dependent upon the audience. So I’d request everyone that if you can party, you can also go to the theatre,” he added.
Quizzed about how the pandemic and lockdown have affected him, the actor said: “I am known as a workaholic in my friend circle. I am active and love to run around all the time. This pandemic taught me patience. Sitting at home doing nothing was a new experience for me for the first time in the last 18 years that I started working. Not going out to work and not meeting people was initially a little depressing but ultimately I understood that in life you need to be a little patient!”
Sharad, who impressed all playing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Ajay Devgn’s blockbuster film Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior last year, reveals he had rejected historical roles for almost 15 years of his acting career.
“I have been getting offers for historical shows right from my initial years when I started doing TV, due to my voice, height and physical structure. But I was always afraid of doing it. There was a fear of having to wear a lot of costumes, which I thought would be tedious. So I almost avoided historical roles for 15 years,” he said.
About Tanhaji and his role in the film, he said: “I never knew a historical film would give me so much appreciation and establishment in the industry. So, I proved myself wrong!”
On the work front, Sharad turns narrator for the upcoming animated series, The Legend Of Hanuman. He will also feature in the Ajay Devgn-starrer Bhuj: The Pride Of India and the forthcoming web series The Family Man 2.
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