Ray Review: Latest Release on Netflix, manage to get more than 200K likes on Youtube Trailer block. Lets see how Manoj Bajpayee, Kay Kay Menon, Ali Fazal and Radhika Madan stand out this weekend.
Ray Review: Synopsis
Satyajit Ray, who has catapulted Indian cinema to the world platform and has inspired millions including Martin Scorcese, is given a fitting tribute by Netflix anthology titled Ray. Being an ardent devotee of Ray’s movies, this had to be on my watch list. Featuring Ali Fazal, Gajraj Rao, Manoj Bajpai, Kay Kay Menon, and Harshvardhan Kapoor, this anthology is all set to explore four short stories by the maestro himself.
The anthology opens with Srijit Mukherjee’s ‘ Forget Me Not’ starring Ali Fazal. He plays the role of a corporate who’s life starts dwindling downhill when a former relationship makes way to his present life. Ipsit, played by Ali Fazal, is at the top of his corporate game, with the emotional poverty of a computer. Things take a turn when he realises that he has kept no note of people who came into his life. This story is largely based on Ray’s Bipin Chaudhry’r Sritibhrom.
Srijit helms in Ray’s Bahurupiya are wonderfully played out by Kay Kay Menon. He essays the role of Indrashish, who is a make-up artist. Indrashish loses himself in the plethora of looks that he creates for himself and is almost a wafer-thin presence in the series. His character is flimsy. Bahurupiya has the essence of a psychological thriller with a macabre plot. Indrashish’s character is so engrossed in prosthetics that he has scanty flesh that he can call his own.
In comes, Abhishek Chaubey’s Hungama Kyun Hain Barpa. This story features Manoj Bajpai and Gajraj Rao who, definitely, shine through. It is adapted from Ray’s Barin Bhowmick’s Ailment and opens up with a train conversation. This scene is dominated by Bajpai’s Musafir Ali and Rao’s Aslam Baig. The two discover shared history together and some familiarity. The director attempts to portray both as mirror images, highlighting their kleptomaniac tendencies.
The last story, directed by Vikram Bala, termed Spotlight features Harshvardhan Kapoor. As the name suggests, this story sheds light on the indispensable connect between Bollywood and politics. The story further progresses to pose questions on the personality cult of the Bollywood actor played by Kapoor.
Ray Review: What lacks and what works
Mukherjee’s Forget Me Not is beautifully designed. Ali Fazal delivers a solid performance. However, the story turns out to be a little lukewarm towards the end and does not justify its grand premise. Devoid of any female characters, this story is a few steps short of becoming a nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat thriller.
Forget Me Not is shot skillfully through Swapnil Sonawane’s camera that speaks volumes about the nightlife of the City of Dreams, Mumbai. Srijit’s next Bahurupiya, starring Menon finds its worthy performer in him. He plays the role of an outcast with utmost believability. A great script falls prey to incompetent execution and lets down this story.
Chaubey’s Hungama Hain Kyun Barpa finds Manoj Bajpai and Gajraj Rao in their finest roles who get hold of the nerve of humor in this story and deliver it with unbelievable polish. Niren Bhatt’s screenplay breathes life into this story to make it the best out of the four stories. Bajpai, who is a Ghazal Exponent is exceptional as Musafir Ali. The two, deal with a stolen pocket watch that is supposed to be a lucky charm.
However; the audience is sure to have found their lucky charm in this one story that oozes the cinematic brilliance that Ray portrayed. Lastly, Vasan Bala’s spotlight is a social satire that uses the world of Bollywood as its mouthpiece. Did I, or the God Woman played by Radhika Madan, steals the show with her 30-minute presence. Harshvardhan is like a breath of fresh air, playing the character of Vik. However, the shoddy performances by the rest of the cast make this story a difficult watch.
Ray Review: Concluding thoughts
Satyajit Ray, a stalwart of world cinema is a difficult model to try and emulate. The series, desperately tries to do so, both failing and making through. It’s a must watch for Ray fans and people who have an eye for the nuances of theatre and film making.
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