Teenkahon: Film Review – Obsessively Beautiful

It’s not every day you come across a triptych as beautiful as Teenkahon. And then you thank director Bauddhayan Mukherji for his fantastic debut with the movie. Teenkahon (Three Obsessions) ties together three love stories; love stories those are told in a manner very refreshing. With a cast that boasts of some stalwarts of the Bengali movie industry – Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Rituparna Sengupta, Ashish Vidyarthi, Dhritiman Chaterji, Kharaj Mukherjee Teenkahon steals your heart from the word go.

How can you not be intrigued when you’re led to watching a movie that claims to tell you “three stories spread over 100 years of Bengali life”? The movie is divided into three Acts – Act One: Parichay (Boy Meets Girl), Act Two: Birauh (Boy Loses Girl) and Act Three: Milan (Boy Gets Girl). The three acts are based on stories penned by Bibhutibhushan Mukhopadhyay, Syed Mustafa Siraj and director Mukherji himself. By the end of each story, what completely bowls you over is the spin Mukherji or Buddy as he likes to be called, gives to the whole boy meets girl, loses girl, gets girl idea.

The first act Parichay explores the idea of unrequited yet passionate, obsessive love and is set in the Calcutta of 1954. Based on a story titled Nabalok (by Mukhopadhyay), we are introduced to three friends who get together for a game of cards, something we are told they do on a regular basis. Just this stormy evening, there is a change of plans when one of them Shailen (Suman Mukhopadhyay), a poet decides to explain the concept of love to his friends narrating his own story of how as a child, he fell in love with a newly married young woman, a feeling that was never reciprocated. Barsan Seal as the 8-year-old Shailen is an absolute treat to watch. This act is entirely shot in black and white and is poetry in motion, particularly the story of young Shailen. Any tribute to Satyajit Ray may or may not have been intentional.

The second act Birauh features two men – Gyanesh Mitra (Sabyasachi Chakraborty) and Sukomol Basu Roy (Joy Sengupta) – and once again tells us a story of love and betrayal called Post-mortem set in Calcutta 1978. This chapter has been written by Siraj. Mitra arrives unannounced at Roy’s doorstep on a rainy day drenched to the bone to discuss the death of Mahua, the former’s wife and the latter’s lover. Post-mortem has been shot in technicolor staying true to the time and belongs to Chakraborty who moves you with his portrayal of a betrayed husband. And that doesn’t take away anything from Sengupta who pulls off a brilliant understated performance.

The final act Milan is based on a story Telephone by Buddy himself. Set in Kolkata 2013, the third act is the story of Anamika Anu Guha (Sengupta) and ACP Joydeb Guha (Vidyarthi), a couple in a troubled marriage. The story with its fair share of surprises has Anu and Joy battle their demons and they take the audience on an emotional roller coaster while they do so. A round of applause each is due to both actors who do a stellar job.

At a little over two hours, Teenkahon, some may complain moves at a leisurely pace but then again, it accurately captures the essence of each story. It could be a tiring watch at times but at no point would you want to give it up. The first two acts essentially form the parts one is bound to enjoy the most. And while the third act is no less gripping, it at some levels fails to touch the highs set by the previous two stories. At certain points, Act Three even seems a tad disjointed. However, that should not stop you from enjoying Teenkahon, which could be counted as one of the finest Bengali movies in recent times.


Why You Should Watch This Movie:

You cannot give Teenkahon a miss for the very intriguing stories and the visual experience that it offers. The different treatment of each story trying to give the audience an even more authentic taste of each eventually seems delightful and something that isn’t very common at the movies. Buddy Mukherji has a winner with his debut effort and you shall know it too when you watch Teenkahon.