The Lost Idea – A film by Amartya Bhattacharyya

Language: Odia and English. Duration.90 Minutes.

Amartya Bhattacharyya being a film maker knows that film making is collaboratively divided into many areas. But when he is making the film he thinks that he can don as many roles as one possibly can. He has directed, written, cinematographed, edited, choreographed, sound designed and what else that you should find out for yourself when the credits start rolling at the end of his second feature film Khyanikaa (The Lost Idea). But one should be fair in the judgment that while he is juggling so many parts he has performed well equally in all. He has kept his story-line thin and with a minimal cast he manages to capture the effects he has in mind in this experimental film.

The film takes place in an unspecified countryside with lush greenery and serene rivulets but the men are barren. They are desperately in search of an idea to evolve as artists. There is a poet who thinks his lover in London sends money for his poems published there. A lazy man in his fifties dreams while he is awake and also when in sleep. Later on in his attempt to give manifestation to the Idea, personified in the film as a woman who doesn’t give in easily to her suitors, he paints. When the dispute arises between the two as to who should possess Idea, the character personified as fate is unable to arbitrate and that leads to a comic interlude. There is a crazy old man who wants to capture the sun with a net and thereby retrieve his son from the dead. The Idea is caught in his net momentarily because of his idealism. Other than that he spends his time wheeling a teacher to his school now reduced to a dilapidated structure with only walls and no roof over it. The teacher arrives at his school every day and perorates, no matter there are no students.  He is denied that routine recourse when his crazy attendant is killed for supposedly realizing his dream of capturing the sun and enveloping the village with darkness.

There are others who help the dreamers without partaking in their dreams possibly due to the reason that they are unable or too realistic to do that. The postman pays the poet every now and then for his poems so that the poet continues in his delusion of receiving the money from magazines overseas that print them. The fisherman allows the crazy old man to rent the fishing net to capture the sun.  It is the innocent boy who paints the water and the plants and produces a paper flower, finally wins the Idea. Once the Idea finds its company, it stops wandering in search of seekers. Creativity is elusive, jealous but simple. It is not enough if one has only perseverance or even dedication for dreaming. To attain it one should go after it without demands and preconceptions. Despite its abstractions the film is funny throughout and readily comprehensible.

The film mostly shot in long takes from static position works well to create the leisurely languor. The actors Choudhury Bikash Das, Anu Choudhury, Bhaswati Basu, Swastik Choudhury and Susant Misra  give adequate support in bringing out the well-knit strands of the fantasy. Music by Kisaloy Roy  flows unobtrusively and gently throughout the film accentuating its every mood. Amartya Bhattacharyya with his mode of cyclical narration weaves a tale of an extended metaphor that is meaningful and convincing. He is a National Award winner and well known in film festival circuits as an indie film maker.

The film participated in several film festivals of the world including the Indian Panorama of International Film Festival, Goa, in 2017.

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