|Released On||17 Jul, 2015|
Currently streaming on ZEE5, Saari Raat is Aparna Sen’s first Hindi directorial and has her daughter and regular collaborator Konkona Sen Sharma, Rittwik Chakraborty and Anjan Dutt in the lead roles. The movie is based on a play by noted Bengali playwright Badal Sircar. The plot revolves around a couple who take refuge in a dilapidated house during a stormy night, where they meet an old man. Over the course of a night, this man gradually beings pulling out their secrets and shares his distinct view on life.
With a short runtime of 1Hr 20 Min, the movie is a heart touching tale that shares some precious life lessons we could benefit from. The movie has a fresh story that has benefitted incredibly from the nuanced direction of Aparna Sen and the incredible performances of its lead cast.
While I started watching the movie, I felt it was a love story but as the story proceeded, I was completely surprised. Set in a single room, the movie never looks monotonous nor does the narrative show any signs of drab. Through a chain of conversations, Aparna Sen weaves a tightly knitted narrative that addresses dense themes like love, relevance and individualism with a lyrical quality, quite literally. The film uses poetry from the original play at crucial points. Translated by noted screenwriter Javed Akhtar, the poems pack just as much punch today.
Saari Raat tackles some universal themes that have a timeless quality to them. That’s the major reason why the movie still feels fresh despite being adapted from a play written in 1960. Hence, Aparna Sen deserves serious applause for developing a film adaptation that is both fresh and faithful to the source material.
About the dialogues, I found them to be crisp and flow naturally throughout the film. But at the same time, there are many instances when these dialogues pack such a punch that I was left analysing what was said. One particular example that relates to this point, is how Konkona’s character tells the interfering Anjan Dutt to back off and the intense crackling chemistry of that moment.
Another highlight of the movie is the cinematography. As mentioned before, the movie is set in a single room. Normally, this can be a recipe for repetitive shots and eventual boredom. But here, that is not the case. In Saari Raat, we see some excellent use of lights and shadows to further enhance the intense atmosphere that only enriches the final output.
Finally, coming to the performances. All the actors give their best in the movie. Considering the movie goes through such a range of emotions, the actors had a challenge in hand that they took on fantastically.
Overall, Saari Raat is a film that anyone who likes some food for thought should check out. I just hope that streaming platforms like ZEE5 keep churning out such gems in future.