Asha Jaoar Majhe is a laborious cinematic ode to soundscape. Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s directorial is sheer lyricism which traverses on a sensuous rhythmic monotony in Kolkata. The Bengali-venture Asha Jaoar Majhe is inspired from a two-page Italian short story, Adventures of a Married Couple by Italo Calvino. It revolves around two parallel characters working in shifts, who rarely meet and perform mundane chores for survival. Survival is a strong word, here, it inspects the mechanical lifestyle. More over, it focuses on the hardships of ordinary people and the narrative likewise focuses on distinct characters.
It’s a dream-project for the Sound Designer, and Anish John has successfully achieved it. There’s a musicality in the Indianness of the chaos on the streets of Kolkata while silence soothes the “chaotic monotony”. Aditya Vikram Sengupta knows how to arrest and blend visual as well as sound through the most mundane objects, including a fish and kitchen utensils. Sound Designer Anish John’s attempt to unveil mystical illusion through diegetic and foley sounds, by creating a surreal realistic atmosphere is a triumph.
Cinematographers Mahendra Shetty and Sengupta lend a grayscale suggesting colourless life. Arresting visuals and long shots frame the psyche-emotions of the two character. Sengupta builds a masterful mis-e-scene where visuals convey a lot more than words, in a medium infamous for its verbose attacks. Every frame qualifies for exhibition at the “museum of modern art”, where the contemporary sensuality is poured hypnotically on cinematic canvas. There’s even a subtle symbolism to establish the characters through costumes, peaceful-yet-messy and naturalistic-and-tidy. Both are bound by a motif dictating governance even in fantasy sequence, a wrist watch.
Asha Jaoar Majhe reminds of Satyajit Ray’s Charulata (1964), it feels like Charulata is transported into 21st Century and re-experiencing the existentialism. Let’s call it as a contemporary offering to Ray Cinema, here, Sengupta’s directorial creeps in slowly and grows gradually. Asha Jaoar Majhe is an aesthetic labour of love, innate in depiction and lyrical in exploration. Released in 2015, along with phenomenal films across India including Killa, Court, Chauthi Koot and Kaaka Muttai.
Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director: “For the portrayal of routine ordinary life with extraordinary cinematic finesse.”
Best Audiography: “For creating a brilliant soundscape which enhances the narrative even in the absence of the spoken word.”
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