Dracula Sir revolves around the life of a primary school teacher Raktim (Anirban Bhattacharya) whose protruding canines leads to the monicker. As he unknowingly hurdles towards his fate, a past-life incident compels him to seek vengeance.
Story: Dracula Sir is a 2-hour long psychological thriller that portrays the horrific torture of Naxal youths back in the day while drawing stark similarities to modern-day Maoists and vandals. The plot takes place in two different eras that are a lifetime apart. In this film, the director, Debalay Bhattacharchya, artfully showcases the story of a school teacher, Raktim, who is ostracised by society for his strange canines and forbidding appearance. He is called “Dracula Sir” by his students. In all this misery, Raktim finds refuge in the memories of his past life as a Naxal (Amol). In the past, Amol was sheltered from the police by his beloved, Manjari. Raktim remembers their torturous deaths and decides to settle scores with their tormentors. The film’s constantly depressive and eerie undertone adds to the thrill.
Dracula Sir embarks on a promising note, but the narrative loses track as the film progresses. The story keeps jumping abruptly from the present, where Raktim is a school teacher, back to the 70s, where the Naxalite movement is in full gear. Raktim is depicted as an outcast who is looking forward to living a simple life but is constantly haunted by the ghosts of his past life. The screenplay is somewhat difficult to follow and seems forced at times. When the two narratives finally converge, Dracula Sir is left wanting in several aspects.
It seems that the makers wanted to connect the extremist Naxal movement of the 70s with a larger-than-life vampire story but failed to find a creative way to do it. The story twists and turns, trying to keep the audience guessing, but ends up being unacceptably confusing. The gruesome torture scenes were mildly unnecessary, and the repeated mention of the desecration of Vidyasagar’s statue seemed out of place. The token reference to this real incident leads to nothing. Some scenes have been used merely for cosmetic display, like Raktim dancing with snowflakes or drowning his face regularly in a bucket of water. They only served the purpose of glossing over the shortcomings of Dracula Sir.
The film profoundly depicts police atrocities of the time. However, the major plus of Dracula Sir lies in the sublime acting of Anirban Bhattacharya as Raktim/Amol. Bhattacharya ably plays the part of the perplexed Amol, who struggles with his internal battles, and the hideous-looking Raktim, who is a subject of constant ridicule.
Within the brooding personality of “Dracula Sir”, Raktim grapples with multiple layers that are hard to fathom. The slight slur in Raktim’s speech due to his unnaturally long canines is subtly depicted. Mimi Chakraborty (Manjari), Supriyo Dutta, Bidipta Chakraborty, and Rudranil Ghosh also played prominent supporting roles and did justice to the script. The music, costumes, and impeccable camerawork further added to the intricate storytelling.
Verdict: Despite its flaws, Dracula Sir has been received by the audience with mixed emotions. It has been hailed as a complex tale of life, love, and rebirth. The tussle between belief and reason, the heart-rendering emotions, human bonds, and political ideologies make for a complex yet engaging watch. The short and powerful cameo by Bidipta Chakraborty deserves special mention. The lilting music and the gripping lyrics of each song were also major highlights. Ultimately, Dracula Sir is a rare psychological thriller that has all the components of being a true horror film but is as real as it gets.