Verdict: A shoddy attempt at experimentalism in storytelling.
Mainak Bhaumik’s body of work has largely been set in the life and times of people living in modern day Kolkata. Aami Aar Aamar Girlfriends (Me and my girlfriends) is no different. The story is about the bonds of Sreemoyee, Preenita and Rhea, BFFs in their 20s. This could have been Bengali cinema’s fully fledged film on female bonding; had it been crafted with more sincerity and less brazenness. The ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn’ attitude is overly evident especially in the dialogues and screenplay. And it feels forced.
Sreemoyee has lost herself in a marriage. Her husband’s life is disarrayed professionally. She seeks solace in the idea of children. She soon finds out about her husband’s disinterest in sex. Sreemoyee then chances upon physical intimacy with a student whom she counsels. Swastika Mukherjee has always been decent as an actor in unconventional roles, but this one seems like a wasted attempt.
Parno Mitra plays Rhea, the youngest who tries to find the right man, with every outing leaving her sulking. She receives sage advice from a colleague which provides her the ‘male perspective’. Parno Mitra tries hard to hit the bulls-eye with her geeky look. However, her acting is average and not noteworthy.
The supporting actors in Aami Aar Aamar Girlfriends constantly keep popping in, none of whom create a lasting impression. The songs have a similar fate. Mainak’s ambition to engage the audiences with an on-paper format of screenplay is exploratory. But the unusual format of projecting shots is disinteresting for the general audience, who seldom wish to know the nuances of screenplay writing.
The silver lining in Mainak’s film is Raima Sen playing Preenita. She is a self conscious author whose parents’ divorce has lead her to live in an illusion. It is when she chats with a stalker/admirer that she finds liberation and she starts to undo her elite image. Raima Sen maintains composure and projects her best self on screen. The film showcases the three friends as they explore life, find ambition and add meaning to it.
Aami Aar Aamar Girlfriends is frustrating because you are subjected to a film with potential which is underutilized. The cinematography is dull with the zoom, pan and dolly shots not adding any perspective to the story. Work on the editing table is decent. This is another point that adds to the film. Director Mainak Bhaumik has proved his mettle with his past release Maach Mishti and More, but this seems disoriented. A penniless investment is the best way to catch the film.
Why should you watch the film?
The actors are not completely disappointing. Raima Sen is a good reason to keep the viewer engaged.
By Soham Bhattacharyya