The film does not have intense drama or tear-jerking moments. On the contrary, it follows its path and takes you along with it.
Last Updated: 07.39 AM, Feb 24, 2023
Story: Mayar Jonjal follows two tracks – Chandan Santra (Ritwick Chakraborty) and his family life, and Beauty (Chandreyee Ghosh) and Satya’s (Shohel Mondol) love story. When a plastic factory at Topsia shut down a few years ago, Chandan, aka Chandu, lost his job. Now he works as a security guard at an ATM kiosk. He is a borderline alcoholic and sticking to a job is not his forte anymore. To share the financial load, his wife, fascinatingly played by Aupee Karim, gets a job as household help at a posh apartment in a gated community. This hurts Chandu’s male ego.
Beauty, whose husband sold her off in Kolkata two years after their marriage, is a glamorous prostitute today. Satya, whose father was a chit-fund agent and later died by suicide, works for a syndicate. Satya and Beauty are somewhat in love with each other. But that’s complicated.
These two stories progress in Mayar Jonjal – sometimes meeting each other at a cross road and sometimes moving effortlessly without each other. The film has many more characters and each draws you to the film with their charisma.
Review: First thing first, Mayar Jonjal is a must-watch film. Based on two stories of Manik Bandyopadhyay, the film fascinatingly presents the everyday life of working-class people. We see these characters in our everyday life and yet the film reminds us how unaware we are of their language of love, heartbreaks, and empathy.
Mayar Jonjal takes us to a world of people deeply affected by the crumbling economy. Behind the shadows of Shining India, are the people who struggle to make the ends meet in the morning and dream of a better tomorrow at night after swallowing cheap country liquor. The film does not have a single flashpoint to shake you to the core but gives you a subtle discomfort throughout simply by showing the lives of have-nots.
Indranil presents a Kolkata we are so used to ignoring. The maker’s Kolkata bears the bruises of decadence, sans any archetypical markers of the City of Joy. DOP Indranil Mukherjee beautifully captures the naked long streets, sporadic, under-construction highrises, the plastic beauty of a posh housing complex, and busy flyovers around the Rajarhat-New Town area.
The film is tightly written and edited and follows a distinctive style. Different characters follow their tracks and the film presents them like a collage of shots. You know they may converge like the classic hyperlink cinemas. But the maker takes his sweet time to let their stories flow. They meet, walk along, and move on. He introduces a ragpicker who keeps collecting the debris that falls off in the process. Mayar Jonjal is surely not a lazy watch. It has the calibre to overpower you with love, heartbreak, empathy, and hope, only if you stay alert.
A bunch of very powerful performances of some of the best actors and actresses of our generation will surely help you to get glued to the film. The film definitely marks one of the finest performances of Ritwick. He seems seamless as Chandu. The actor brings about Chandu’s ego, hurt, anger, and helplessness effortlessly. His chemistry with Aupee Karim – another fine actress from Bangladesh – is spot on. Aupee’s character talks less and yet she expresses her pain so beautifully.
Like Aupee, Satya is also slightly reserved. His conflicts are intense. On one hand, he loves Beauty and on the other, he wants to break free from his situation. Shohel is brilliant with his dilemma, aspiration, backstory, and tearing love for Beauty.
Mayar Jonjal has to be the best performance in Chandreyee’s career. Beauty is loud and lavish and that is how she takes on her defeated life, and boy, Chandreyee does the job with elan!
Then the film is dotted with other fascinating characters and performers. There is Bratya Basu. He plays the character of Ganesh – Beauty’s client. Ganesh is a tad over the top and the fine actor that Bratya is, he plays the character perfectly well. Amit Saha is a gem as Pele. Saoli Chattopadhyay lights up the screen with her bold and beautiful presence and finally, Paran Bandyopadhyay’s dry and sarcastic humour not only lightens up the mood but also brings an underlying wisdom in the claustrophobic space of Satya, Beauty, Chandu, and his wife.
The film uses very little music and relies deeply on the ambient sound of the city. As a result, human emotions become more real and in your face. In one of the culminating scenes, Aupee receives an important call. That life-defining moment gets overwhelmed with the upper-middle-class clamour of a park. The impeccable set design is something worth mentioning.
Verdict: Mayar Jonjal does not have intense drama or tearjerking moments. On the contrary, it follows its path and takes you along with it. It is a lovely break from the over-the-top films that we are so used to today. It is calmer and deeper, and once you watch it, it will fill your heart.