Film: 'Calcutta News'; Cast: Dileep, Meera Jasmine, Indrajith, Innocent and Bindu Panikar; Director: Blessy; Producer: Thampy Antony; Music: Deb Jyothi Misra
'Calcutta News', director Blessy's latest film starring Dileep and Meera Jasmine, is a marked departure from his kind of filmmaking. He predominantly makes family-centred movies but here he has tried to widen his scope. The end result though is utterly disappointing.
The story is about a Malayali TV reporter, born and brought up in Kolkata, who helps a newly married Malayali girl in the city find out the reason behind the mysterious death of her husband.
Blessy tries hard to layer the story with issues ranging from human trafficking to alienation and belonging but cannot carry the juggling act successfully.
Ajith Thomas (Dileep) is a successful TV reporter, well versed in Bengali culture. He claims to be better than the locals in his knowledge about West Bengal.
By a quirk of fate, he spots a couple from Kerala while shooting Durga Puja. The girl seems to be very excited at the possibility of being seen on the TV, but the man is angry. There is a minor scuffle between the husband and the TV crew.
After a few days, while editing a news story, Ajith finds the picture of the man lying dead somewhere in the city and he starts thinking about the girl. After a massive search operation, he finds her locked up in a dingy lodge room.
The story then moves back and forth, delving into her past and revealing the blooming romance between Ajith and her. The screenplay loses consistency after this. Several cliched twists and turns follow, culminating in a predictably gory climax.
Blessy tries to use his strong point as a writer while depicting Ajith's family life but fails while dealing with mystery and suspense elements. So he has to use contrived tools like coincidences and supernatural happenings to move the story forward.
Technically, the film offers the best visuals seen in Malayalam cinema in recent times. Cinematographer S. Kumar captures the spirit of the city in every frame.
Dileep and Meera look jaded and confused because their characters are not well-etched. Innocent and Bindu Panicker are used for comical interludes.
Maybe, Blessy is not cut out for different genres of filmmaking. He should stick to what he can do best - depicting families in distress.