Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy are back with yet another tearjerker and emotional roller-coaster for Bengali cinelovers.
After 50 years of marriage, Arati (Swatilekha Sengupta) suffers from partial memory loss and, as a result, fails to recognise her husband, Bishwanath. Their children, Barin (Shankar Chakraborty), Buri (Aparajita Adhya), Mili (Rituparna Sengupta), and Piu (Monami Ghosh), gather at their Santiniketan residence as the family drama takes us through a touching story about love, sorrow, and patience.
Director duo Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy cracked the code to keep their audience happy many years ago. Belashuru follows the same trail. Through bouts of laughter and many heart-wrenching scenes, the film artfully presents this array of experiences custom-made to win the hearts of the Bengali audience. Most importantly, the film pays fulsome tribute to the two legendary actors, Soumitra Chatterjee and Swatilekha Sengupta, through their superb performances. On the whole, the duo makes an overwhelming impact in one of their last films that will linger in the audience’s memory long after it has been viewed.
Belashuru takes a cue from the 2015 film, Bela Seshe, and continues with familiar characters as they deal with a new situation. Due to Alzheimer’s, Arati is only left with certain specific memories – some from her childhood in Faridpur, Bangladesh, and some from her adult life, especially her wedding day. No matter how much Bishwanath tries, she fails to remember her husband. This deeply disturbs Bishwanath, but he refuses to share the caregiving responsibilities of his wife with anyone else.
The chemistry between Bishwanath and Arati is brewed with the right amount of love, solitude, and a sense of hurt. The film delectably presents how difficult it is to see your dearest one’s imminent descent into oblivion. Soumitra single-handedly steals the show with his poise and vulnerability. Swatilekha too gives an engaging performance.
Like Bela Seshe, this film too is a casting coup. The sibling squad, Aparajita Adhya, Rituparna Sengupta, Shankar Chakraborty, and Monami Ghosh, appear to be convincing. Their onscreen partners, Kharaj Mukhopadhyay as Jyoti, Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee as Bijon, Anindya Chatterjee as Palash, and Indrani Dutta as Sharmistha, are good too. However, this is a film that showcases two icons one last time, and hence the spotlight remains on the evergreen elderly couple.
Belashuru, like most of Shiboprosad and Nandita’s films, is a traditionalist and often defies modern sensibilities. It preaches family values and often limits its characters by imposing societal norms and compromises. For example, the film is dotted with characters who give up their career to become parents, and despite being independent, some of them chose to settle in a lavender marriage. However, no note of regression can deter the commercial success of Shiboprosad and Nandita’s films, including Prakton. Thus, one can be sure that such limitations will not pull the film back in any way.
It is definitely worth a watch with your family. The music of the film is already a major hit, with Tapa Tini going viral. With Kabir Suman’s melodious title track, composers Anupam Roy and Anindya Chattopadhyay have delivered a soulful album. The serenity of Bolpur and heart-wrenching performances by two great actors shall remain deeply etched in our minds. For many, it may be an emotional joyride in which you laugh a little, cry a lot and come away inspired to make the most of your life and love.