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Critics Review
Ekannoborti movie review: Mainak Bhaumik’s family drama is heartfelt but inconsistent

While the premise of Ekannoborti is gripping, the final film could have fared better with tighter editing.

3.0
Pratishruti Ganguly
Jan 14, 2022
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Story:

Set against the backdrop of Durga Puja, Ekannoborti tells the story of a family reuniting at their native residence in Barasat for the four-day festival. During the stay, the family members are forced to confront their own insecurities and each other.

Review:

Filmmaker Mainak Bhaumik has always displayed an exceptional understanding of fraught relationships with his films. Especially those shared by women. In Ekannoborti too, the filmmaker turns his lens towards women from different generations of a family.

It is, without doubt, heartening to watch women come front and centre of a story, while the men occupy the fringes. So Ekannoborti spotlights four women — Malini Chatterjee (Aparajota Adhya), who is struggling to come to terms with her husband’s infidelity after being married for 25 years. She is the only daughter of Mrs Banerjee (Alokananda Roy), the octogenarian family matriarch who rents out their mortgaged family mansion to film director Abhradeep Dutta (Kaushik Sen) to pay off a loan instalment. Malini has two daughters, Shila (Sauraseni Maitra) and Pinky (Ananya Sen), who are also burdened by their share of difficulties. Shila is stuck in a loveless relationship she is desperate to make work, and Pinky suffers from bulimia and a lack of self-esteem.

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Much like Rituparno Ghosh’s Utsab, which also rests on a similar premise, Ekannoborti is an attempt at studying characters and relationships. There is nothing that happens during the film as such, except it brings many people, who may have not met in years, face to face.

There are several things that the film gets right. Ananya as Pinky hits it out of the park as a plus-sized, insecure woman using abrasive, self-deprecating humour as a defence mechanism. Her sense of self-worth is so low that when a man unabashedly flirts with her, she rebukes him for having a fetish for hippopotamuses.

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She is also envious of her elder sister, assuming she’s had it much easy because of her physical appearance. Pinky gets the funniest, most acrid comebacks. And it is to Ananya’s credit that she delivers the dialogues with razor-sharp accuracy.

The relationship between Shila and Pinky is heartfelt for the most part. They namedrop popular brands and heavily draw references from pop culture, bicker with each other, reminisce about their school days and support each other silently. There is an easy chemistry between the actors that makes the audience buy into their bittersweet dynamic.

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Malini and Abhradeep’s relationship, on the other hand, is punctuated with flirty silences.

When Abhradeep compliments the colour of Malini’s saree, her eyes brim with tears. Having not felt desired for years, Malini finds a companion in Abhradip. To him, Malini is not a homemaker, a daughter or a mother. They have both lost their spouses in different ways, bond over a sense of loneliness.

The rest of the film, unfortunately, leaves much to be desired. There are enough narrative arcs in the film that could have made Ekannoborti a brilliant dysfunctional family drama. But it takes so much time to get to the point that you cannot help but wonder what the sharp editor’s scissors could have done to the final product.

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Despite trying hard to incite important conversations around body positivity, the fluidity of relationships and what constitutes infidelity, Ekannoborti is what the interwebz would deem a boomer uncle. The film underscores the importance of cohabiting as a family with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. While the coolth is peppered for fun, the film gets too pedantic at times to be effective.

Verdict:

With nuanced stories like Schitt’s Creek and Silver Linings Playbook increasing our expectations from family dramas beyond the broad-stroke Hum Saath Saath Hai-s and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham-s, it is difficult to digest the saccharine sweetness of Ekannoborti without a pinch of salt.


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