Calapor review: Well-intentioned but not engaging

Calapor review: Well-intentioned but not engaging

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Saturday 03 August 2013

Movie Title

Calapor review: Well-intentioned but not engaging


Dinesh P Bhonsle

Star Cast

Rituparna Sengupta, Harsh Chhaya, Raghubir Yadav

Calapor begins with the line ? ?If crime is a disease, there should be a hospital-like environment in jails?. The film attempts at exploring this thought, with art as the proposed healer.

We meet a cop (Harsh Chhaya) who wants to introduce art to the inmates as a way of reforming them. ?They?re not bad people, circumstances made them bad,? he says beatifically while ticking off the list full of rapists, murderers etc. We wonder if such generalization is healthy.

Of course, one must view jail inmates as human beings with a chance for reformation, but it is quite simplistic and utterly naive to paint all of them as harmless folk who were victims of circumstance. After all, generalization is never a good thing.

Classical dance teacher Jyotsna (Rituparna Sengupta) is summoned for the task. She and her assistant are to teach and train the criminals in a dance theatre programme called Matruchaaya. The play is to be presented on Republic Day for a seemingly encouraging politico.

The prisoners line up to introduce themselves ? representing all of India. ?I was Sita in Ramleela?, one says; ?I did the bhangra in my village,? quips the other, and on it goes. About as dangerous as freckled boy scouts, they all start dancing on an impromptu song called Bindaas, about the advantages of living in a jail. Okay.

The story then reveals Rituparna?s connection with a jail inmate, her own sordid back-story, and a criminal-politician nexus.

Coincidences sprout at every corner, and believe it or not, a family drama unfolds within the premises of the jail.

Directed by Dinesh P Bhonsle, the film is full of improbabilities. Like Jyotsna continuing to teach in Calapor, despite knowing that her ex-husband (with a criminal past) is in the same jail. One would think covering the face with a dupatta, isn?t going to cut it, if she?s going to visit the premises every day.

The performances vary. Rituparna Sengupta is the uncrowned priestess of the small, issue-based film. One has never seen her give a masterful performance, but she gets by with her earnestness. Here, she is further handicapped by awful dubbing, sound, and an unflattering look. But kudos to her for accepting projects that others probably scoff their noses at, all for pushing the envelope. Priyanshu Chatterjee?s is the only performance that leaves a mark. The actor playing her son is also effective. Curiously, the film makes Raghubir Yadav?s performance look bad (I thought it was impossible).

The film will have you think back to Do Aankhen Barah Haath, but both are in completely different leagues.

In a world full of annoying serendipities and coincidences for the benefit of the plot, the only portions that move you are the ones in the dance theatre. It?s interesting how the play, an emotionally violent one, has an effect on the characters.

Baring that, this remains one of those films?where the intention may be good, but that, sadly, doesn?t result in an engaging film.

Rating: Two stars

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