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X=Prem review: Srijit Mukherji presents a sweet love story, laden with sci-fi elements

The romantic-comedy is essentially a melancholy tale of love and memories. The bunch of new-age actors, Arjun Chakrabarty, Madhurima Basak, Shruti Das and Anindya Sengupta, win the heart with their performances.

  • Shamayita Chakraborty

Last Updated: 04.45 AM, Jun 05, 2022

X=Prem review: Srijit Mukherji presents a sweet love story, laden with sci-fi elements

Shruti Das and Anindya Sengupta in a still from X=Prem

Story: Khilat (Anindya Sengupta) and Joyee (Shruti Das) meet with an accident and Khilat loses a part of his memory. Along with the memory of his education and professional qualifications, he loses the memory of being in love with Joyee due to amnesia. On the other hand, Arnab (Arjun Chakrabarty) is unable to forget his unrequited love for Joyee despite his marriage to Aditi (Madhurima Basak). Can a memory transplant let them start their life anew?

Review: Memory is a tricky business. A box full of memories doesn’t let Arnab forget his unrequited love/obsession for Joyee. And a sudden memory loss of Khilat wipes off every detail of Joyee — his soulmate. Can Doctor Kaufman fix their problem? In an ode to Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (written by Charlie Kaufman), Srijit Mukherji brings out a love story of Gen Z. The film is intense and melancholy in which the protagonists shine bright like diamonds.

The strength of the film is perhaps the freshness and vitality, which inhabit all the characters. With almost a host of new actors and actresses, the director does away with the baggage of monotony. All four protagonists, especially Arnab and Shruti who dominate the film in terms of screen time, are a delight to watch. But the script is in favour of their four leads. Khilat sways Joyee with a Tango in dhoti in one of the quirkiest introductions of the characters. Joyee throws herself into his arms after smoking up a joint without an iota of inhibition. Arnab fails to move on and still stalks Joyee and Aditi can’t forgive Arnab and yet stays back. At this point, the story becomes more about love, compassion and empathy than the possibility of a memory transplant. In the end, it is love that wins. That is how the sci-fi element of the film takes a backseat and it becomes a quintessentially sweet romantic film.

The flow, however, falters too. The first half stretches a little too long before Arnab makes an entry. Also, there is no real crisis, per se, to keep you busy thinking if they could finally make it. That makes the ending a little underwhelming.

At the beginning of the second half, there is an annoying continuity issue in a series of scenes in the bedroom of Arnab and Aditi. In one scene, Aditi is seen at the left of Arnab, in the next shot, she is at his right and within a wink of another shot, she is back to his left. This looks jarring a little. Meanwhile, we are still a little uncertain if there are many Kabir Suman fans among Gen Z, so much so that they might have a huge poster on the wall.

Despite such hiccups, the soulful music that the film offers involves and engages everyone — young (as I would guess) and the not-so-young. Many of us from the millennial generation have been listening to some of the songs, Cinderella Mon and She Roder Nishana, for years. The composer of those songs, Saptak Sanai, has been well-spotted and utilised by Srijit. Sahana Bajpaie and Samantyak’s rendition of Baynabilashi and Shreya Ghoshal’s Bhalobashar Morshum linger long after the film gets over.

Verdict: X=Prem is not the usual run-of-the-mill movie. Set in a black and white backdrop, it talks purely of love – requited and unrequited. Simplicity is its forte. The film is not made to please the audience. It is not fast and gripping. But it has a sensitivity that is fresh, relatable and likeable.