As whodunits come, this one is quite the same ... and yet different. This is something about the movie which makes it different from the rest. Dont ask me what it is. Is it the way the story is told, or is it the acting? No idea ... but different it is, which is why i have seen this movie again and again ... last night was the firth time ... usually you cant see whodunit kinds more than a couple of times, if they are really good. But, in Shubho Mahurat, Rituparno Ghosh has come up with an incomparable way of telling this Agatha Christie story.
For starters, the direction is right up there with the best ... those details match. Usually, in a scene where one of the actors is smoking, you would find that suddenly, in mid-sentence, the cigarette has gone from just-lit to almost-through. This is something which doesnt happen here. Even apart from this, the little things, like the street noises of Kolkata have been captured in the background. The shouts of the vendors, the sounds of vehicles driving past ... they are all there.
Direction apart, the acting in the movie is in a league of its own. To begin with, Sharmila Tagore ... she is, today, acting in a way she never even came close to, in her heyday. She has come up with a truly superlative performance. And, this must be said ... Sharmila Tagore gets more and more beautiful with age. The elegance and grace with which she carries off the role is simply superb.
And as far as the acting, goes, Rakhee (trivia ... she is the true Independance child ... born on 15th August, 1947) has shown what it means to act. With her acting in this movie, she has, to my mind, given a totally new dimension to the idea of acting. Her performance in the movie is simply the best i have ever seen (if you dont consider Sanjeev Kumar in Nayaa Din Nayee Raat, has to be the best performance of all times). The way she has taken care of the the slightest nuances of the role really takes this performance to a different league altogether.
And then, there is Nandita Das and Anindya (i am not attaching a link to Anindya, because couldnt find one ... except for Chandrabindu). Nandita has given far better performances, and then, a mediocre performance when put next to the superlative ones by Rakhee and Sharmila Tagore seems totally lacklustre. Anindya, on the other hand, is a wonderful singer, and he should stick to it.
Overall, a movie which i would recommend to all my readers ... the CD even has English sub-titles.