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Paanch Adhyay

Debutant Gupta blends cinematic traditions effectively, exploring five stages of love

Paanch Adhyay
Paanch Adhyay

Starring: Dia Mirza, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sampurna Lahiri
Directed by Pratim Gupta
Rating: ***

The movie explores five stages of love, seen through the prism of a filmmaker (Priyanshu) who perceives his life unfolding not chronologically but in fragmented episodes, much like his film scripts. He lives so inextricably in the realm of the surreal that his love for Dia Mirza is a dream to be followed till it becomes reality. In the shattered illusions, he finds the plots and themes for his own films. “Imagine unrequited love,” he tells his heroine (Sampurna) during a shoot, to coax an expression of pain.

We are led through the relationship stages—courtship, marriage, disillusionment, extra-marital affair, impending divorce—to that unexpected moment which transforms life from the mundane to the mortal. The film begins promisingly, but falters midway (the romance scenes are superficial and loosely connected), picks up momentum again and ends in a crescendo of emotions.

Dia and Priyanshu deliver powerful performances. Sampurna is miscast. Soumitra is the commanding voice on love. Debutant Gupta blends cinematic traditions effectively. The sepia-tinted visuals are memorable, like the graveyard scene with its stark black and white contrasts with splashes of scarlet, reminiscent of 20th century East European cinematography.

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