Movie Review: Titli

Rituparno Ghosh has directed some great Bengali movies and he is one of the best directors among the young parallel movie directors. Rituparno is peerless when it comes to scripting complex screenplays. I must admit that he handles stories with multiple characters beautifully. Many of his movies are women-oriented and many of his movies have won the National Award. On the recommendation of a friend, I watched the Bengali movie "Titli" on Youtube.

The story of Titli develops around the evolution of Titli from a girl into womanhood, through the breaking of the crush. The story is set in Darjeeling and the dense jungles of Duars in North Bengal, covered in dense morning fog, the sunshine playing hide-and-seek, Buddhist monastries, the famous Darjeeling toy train, interleaved with poetry and music, create the romantic ambience underpinning this film.

Titli (Konkona Sen Sharma), is a 17 year old girl who has a teenage crush on a Bollywood superstar Rohit Roy (Mithun Chakraborty), who is more than twice her age. Though her bedroom is filled with his posters and memorabilia, Titli's mother Urmila (Aparna Sen) is surprised to learn that she could even marry this much older man. Titli and Urmila are going by jeep to receive Titli's father from the airport. The jeep is shared, and as it happens, their co-passenger is none other than Rohit Roy himself, who has a flight to catch from Siliguri.

Titli's adolescent dreams are set on fire after she meets her crush face to face. Their conversation is interrupted by a halt necessitated by the coolant running out. Rohit also needs a cigarette, and Titli wants to get them, and gets Rohit to agree. While she is gone, it is revealed that twenty years ago, Urmila and Rohit were lovers, when Rohit was an outsider looking for roles in the Bengali film industry situated at Tollygunge. Today, Urmila is married, but that doesn't stop them from reminiscing longingly. Urmila recites lines from the well-known Shakti Chatterjee poem, "Abani Bari Aachho?" (Abani, are you home?)

The immensely talented director Rituparno Ghosh gives a unique dimension to the film that would make viewers of sensitive films such as this lap it up. Right from the opening moments, when the lilting song, ''Megh Peon'' fills the air, the viewer is likely to be enthralled. Mithun Chakraborty, as the ''hero'', tries his best to cater to the demands of a film of this nature and he mostly succeeds. Aparna Sen, as usual, gives a superlative performance. It is Konkona Sen Sharma who excels as the young girl--torn and confused. Konkona grabs all the attention, deservedly; she did this film before got noticed and won praises for Page 3.

The final laudatory words must be in favour of the brilliant cinematography of Abheek Mukherjee. Nature has not been so effectively in a film for a long, long time. The myriad monsoons accentuates the myriad moods of humans. The film is to be watched with family and on the ratings scale, three out of five.


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