Cast: Bishnu Kharghoria, Bina Patangia, Jatin Bora, Zerifa Wahid
Director: Jahnu Barua
"We are common people. The world is too big for us. We have no choice but to trust in it."
Multiple National Award winning director Jahnu Barua is known for making subtle statements against the shallowness and the inaptness of human life and its limitations. His latest offering 'Baandhon (waves of Silence)' is another fine tuned expression on the common man's life and how it gets affected by the developments in his surrounding.
The film is an emotional roller-coaster ride in every sense as it follows a set path which mesmerises the audience with its penetrating power despite the viewer anticipating the climax. 'Baandhon' shows how Barua has evolved as a personalised-yet-global storyteller over the years. He used to talk about 'localised' socio-political perspectives even in his earlier films but this time he has made it a point to present the vulnerability of the helpless human being as a by-product of his innocence and the state's failure in providing a comfort zone. When the lead elderly couple says in the climax that they don't have any other option than to keep their faith intact in the flawed world, you feel immensely numb and drenched from inside.
Dandeswar (Bishnu Kharghoria) and Hkwani (Bina Patangia), both have seen 73 springs and they have been married for the most of it. The only person who keeps them hinged to the willingness to live is their grandson Pona, who studies in Bombay IIT. They tease each other to keep themselves energised after the death of their only son and some five years ago. A successful local lawyer Jatin (Jatin Bora) and his wife Ranjana (Jerifa) are their contacts with the outer world, who look up to Dandeswar and Hkwani as their ideals in love. However, things take an unprecedented turn when Pona disconnects a call from Dandeswar in the middle of a conversation.
The film starts like a simple tale of two pleasant old people who don't have anyone other than each other to keep themselves entertained as they don't care much about TV, newspaper and the thieves living in the neighbourhood. Their world comprises of gardening, playing divorce-divorce and Pona, who they want to make the nominee of everything they have. Dandeswar's inquisitive eyes fail to believe that the values he is searching have almost become extinct in the practical environment. Barua creates the premise with lovable characters that refuse to take bribe and wish to give time to the loved ones without any vested interest. Too much idealism I must say but the way the story proceeds makes the spectator ashamed of his practicality.
Barua is a dreamer who never loses faith in humanity despite being beaten. The naivety prevails so much that he keeps referring to his village and insists on paying bribe to a morally upright officer because he was asked by an acquaintance to do so. The swift transition of emotions on Kharghoria's face displays his calibre as an actor. He is so amiable that you automatically become protective about his presence. It further leads you to overlook the overflowing and somewhat forced love scenes between Jatin Bora and Jerifa. The awkward silence between the dialogues and loud background score hamper the flow at times but Patangia and Kharghoria hold themselves with so much composure and precision that you wish them to see happy till the end.
There is nothing like a 'twist' in the story but the slowness of the emotional unfolding of the pain does the trick.
Acting wise, Jatin and Jerifa appear trying too hard but they overcome their anxiety in the latter half. Bina Patangia properly fits the bill but a bit more subtlety could have made the character better. Bishnu Kharghoria is a talent powerhouse and deserves attention of all kinds.
Overall, 'Baandhon' is Jahnu Barua's declaration that not everybody's mind is the scene of a crime, and we need to show trust in the humanity at any cost. I guess, even if it doesn't make any immediate change, it can always help in living with sour wounds.
'Baandhon' is made in Assamese and has been released with English subtitles across India.
Rating: 4 out of 5.