December 09, 2019
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Janala (Bengali)

The problem is not in the story but in its telling

Janala (Bengali)
Janala (Bengali)

Starring: Indraneil Sengupta, Swastika Mukherjee, Tapas Pal
Directed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta
Rating: **

The problem with Janala (Window) is not in the story but in its telling. On paper it would read like a lovely fable about old-world affability trying hard to survive in a rapidly mechanising, material world. It’s about a dreamer striving to find that elusive window to look out and away from the humdrum life. However, these metaphors are not as profound and resonant on screen, the film is way too monotonous.

Bimal (Indraneil) and Meera (Swastika) are in a relationship, expecting their first child and planning marriage. While Meera works in a call centre in Calcutta, Bimal has a job at an old age home in Purulia. A chance visit to his old school in Jhumurpur makes him want to contribute something for the dilapidated building and he decides to make a window frame for what used to be his favourite spot in the class to day-dream. However, the school management is unwilling to accept it. They would rather have some donation. The film is all about Bimal’s unsuccessful journey to find a wall for the window and leaves us asking whether there are no takers in this world for memory and nostalgia? The amateurish acting is a big let-down. Indraneil looks self-conscious and vacuous in the name of thoughtful and Swastika is affected. There are a series of oddball characters—thief, truck driver, trapeze artiste—but they come across loud and hammy rather than quirky. The several plot strands and locations—call centre, old age home, circus, hospital—get long-winded and the narrative ponderous.

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