Chowrasta: Crossroads of Love
Cast: Victor Banerjee, Rupa Ganguly, Shashwata Banerjee, Naved Aslam, Aparajita
Direction: Anjan Dutta
Rating: * ½
“I want to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk!” declares Rita Das, one of the characters in Chowrasta. Ms Das could well have been speaking on behalf of the rest of the multi-lingual cast, which speaks in English, Bengali and a smattering of Hindi. There’s a lot of dialogue going on in this movie about three couples — one which has just eloped, one which has separated and one which has been separated, so to speak, by death. In fact, there are few moments of silence as the couples grapple with their individual dilemmas in misty Darjeeling.
There’s Deep, the slightly stiff school teacher (Shashwata Banerjee) and his Bollywood actress wife Nandana (Rupa Ganguly) trying to bury a decades-old bitterness (helped along by Nandana’s long-haired lover Jojo). Sunny (Naved Aslam) and Rita (Aparajita) have just eloped; he is bindaas, she is tearful. There is Victor Banerjee, a tea planter, trying to come to terms with the loss of his beloved wife. Added to the soup is Kenny, a terrorist fighting for Gorkhaland. And as their four paths criss-cross each other, they work out the solutions to their dilemmas.
It’s an interesting plot, acted out with sincerity and competence for the most part. And director Anjan Dutt, with the able help of Indraneel Mukherjee’s cinematography, makes Darjeeling come alive — not in a sugary romanticised manner, but with much affection, dwelling on its crowded streets as much as its picturesque lanes and sweeping vistas.
But the movie fails to grip or even make its impact gently as the four stories become little more than vignettes while the script meanders much like Darjeeling’s pathways. And yes, its verbosity certainly doesn’t help.