Macher Jhol is a yummy ensemble of emotions
The entertainment industry of India is evolving, with the encroachment of digital platforms, storytellers get opportunities like never before. We see movies being made on varied subjects, backdrops etc. This advancement is not limited to the Hindi movie industry, Bengali movies have also undergone radical transformations. The stern demarcation between commercial and urban or parallel cinema, has gradually mellowed, if not vanished completely. A freer thoroughfare of ideologies, performers and storytelling across this line of control is being witnessed these days.
Recently I watched a Bengali movie. Keeping the nostalgia, ethos and pathos of watching a Bengali movie outside Bengal aside, 'Maacher Jhol' truly intrigued me by its unique make. Director Pratim D Gupta has chosen a subject, which is largely untouched. Or rather he sings a known song in an unknown tune. He wraps a delectable blend of emotions, social taboos, conjectures in a newly baked crisp cover. And the cover, essentially consist of flavors, new to the Bengali audience.
Maacher Jhol means the quintessential Bengali fish curry, which is associated with varied emotions and flavors that comprise the life of a bong. This tale is that of a man who aspires to be chef but finds himself trapped in the cobweb of expectations of his father. Veteran actor Mamata Shankar, excels playing the exemplary mother who resonates with the aspirations of her son, played by Ritwick Chakrabarty.
Ritwick is a treat to watch, in his absolute candid portrayal of the successful chef Debdatto based in Paris, with a doting french girlfriend. However his success story like all others, has dark patches too. Paoli Dam as the dauntingly self respecting wife of the chef, whom he leaves in Kolkata to pursue his dreams, must be applauded for her underplay which succeeds to overwhelm.
The characters are well defined and their journeys converge laminar. When Debdatto comes to visit his ailing mother, the tangled threads of his life gradually loosen. When he strives hard to cook the 'Maacher Jhol', his mother wants to have, he learns about himself and encounters his inner demons.
While I end my narrative, I recommend this yummy treat of emotions to all movie lovers.