Dhananjoy: Film Review – A Sentimental Courtroom Drama

Verdict:  This is how you do a courtroom drama.

Directed by Arindam Sil, Dhananjoy is a courtroom drama that can make its audience sentimental about the verdict of capital punishment that was passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India against Dhananjoy Chatterjee in the gruesome rape and murder case of the 18-year-old Hetal Parekh. 

Dhananjoy shows that while the case was in court, one section of the society believed that Chatterjee was being framed on the basis of circumstantial evidence and that there were several inconsistencies in the statements of the witnesses and official documents (such as the autopsy report). While another section of the society, under the then West Bengal Chief Minister

Buddhadeb Bhattacharya’s wife, campaigned demanding Capital punishment for the accused. The movie upholds the conspiracy theories formulated during that time to frame Dhananjoy and cover up a case of possible honour killing of Hetal Parekh. The reason for believing so has been put forward that soon after their daughter’s murder the Parekh family winded up their thriving business and left not only the apartment but also the city of Kolkata.

The first half of the film focuses on the conviction of Dhananjoy (Anirban Bhattacharya), prime accused. How simply based on the deceased mother’s statement and circumstantial evidences, he was executed and ordered to be hanged till death in the wee hours of 15th August, 2004, in spite of serving 14 years of imprisonment for the same. The movie projects how the family’s cries for mercy for their son Dhananjoy were rejected by the society, courts and even the then President of India. The second half of the film upholds the concerns that later developed regarding inconsistencies in investigation through the eyes of Kavya Sinha (Mimi Chakraborty), who comes across the wife of the executed and tries to uphold how he was victimised and framed by the Parekh family and the other influential members of the society. 

Dhananjoy - BookMyShowThe movie is beautifully picturised and edited with a perfect background score to keep the audience hooked. Anirban Bhattacharya's performance as Dhananjoy was excellent. He perfectly portrayed the character’s emotions and sentiments. Equally brilliant was Paran Bandopadhyay as the father of the accused. Mimi Chakraborty as Advocate Kavya Sinha also did a splendid job to keep the audience gripped. It can very well be said that all the actors even in their smallest of roles complemented the film. The one thing that needs a definite mention is the perfect dialect of almost all the actors, especially Sudipta Chakraborty as Mrs. Parekh. 

Arindam Sil, despite his disclaimer, cannot ignore the immense resemblance it has to the actual rape–murder case of Hetal Parekh where the accused was Dhananjoy Chatterjee as is the accused in the film. Sil questions why capital punishment was meted out after 14 years of imprisonment for the crime committed. How much of the trial was based on actual evidence as compared to media and societal pressure? How much politics played a role in this case? 

Why You Should Watch This Movie:
A must see movie for those who relish sentiment and emotions. Acting, editing and cinematography are well tuned with appropriate handling of characters are reasons enough to catch this movie in a theatre near you.

– By Smita Nag

Release Date: 2017-08-11
Language: Bengali
Director: Arindam Sil
Genre: Crime, Drama
Cast & Crew: Anirban Bhattacharya, Mimi Chakraborty, Sudipta Chakraborty, Paran Bandyopadhyay,
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  1. M K P

    August 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Undoubtedly, Dhananjoy was framed. We still believe he was innocent. It is a clear case of honour killing. But CPI(M) party, Police department and Media played a great role in hanging him for the reasons best known to every body. It is open secret that money played a big role to hang him.

    His case should be reopened and the present Government should help the family of Late Dhananjoy for retrial to declare posthumously that he was innocent.

  2. Dibyadeep

    August 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Parekh family should be dragged to court and justice should be given to Dhananjoy's family.

  3. Arindam

    August 28, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Good review. Maybe Kaushik Sen's performance could also deserve a mention. But one character central to the film who I find barely discussed is Dhananjoy's wife. No idea who the actor was; but her mostly silent, depressed and sad demeanour, punctuated by the occasional pessimistic utterances, perfectly conveyed the oppressive pathos of her circumstances. 

  4. Arindam

    August 28, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    BTW just an addition: According to the alternative explanation suggested by the movie, there was no "rape" and no theft either – only the murder. So the script proposes that Dhananjoy was hanged for one crime that he didn't commit plus two that never happened. 

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