BOTTOM LINE A Neatly Made Thriller Cursed by Its Predictability
|Platform: Hoichoi||Genre: Thriller|
What Is the Story About?
Sougata Sinha is a US-based fiction writer of several bestsellers, who returns to Kolkata after a long sabbatical along with his wife Aditi and daughter Raka. His only friend in the city is a doctor Amitabha. Amid the promotional drive for Sougata’s next novel, he’s haunted by a girl Sulagna, his supposed ex-girlfriend who had committed suicide many years ago. She goes onto claim that the writer had gone onto murder his best friend Kanai on the day of Diwali then, in a case of a love triangle gone sour.
Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s only recently, Sougata has no memory of her girlfriend, his best friend nor the incident. To get over the uneasiness caused by the lady’s revelations and subsequent blackmailing, Sougata, his family and Amitabha head onto a trip to the hills in the North of Bengal. However, the atmosphere turns murkier around the forest-bound resort they live in. A series of scandalous truths are set to be unveiled.
Rajat Kapoor is a name that single-handedly brings authenticity to a show and it’s difficult to imagine any other actor who’ve fit the part as aptly as him. The writer-ly demeanour, the conviction in his portrayal and his ability to leave the viewer thinking than spoon-feed his ideas – is what works in his favour. Subrata Dutta is in superb form as a doctor with several darker layers to his personality. The mix of the creepiness and the niceness in his performance haunts the viewer long after the show ends.
Mumtaz Sorcar’s role is one among the more interesting ones in the show – there’s a seductive quality to her besides the element of danger she presents with her entry. The appeal of her role lies in the enigma and its abstraction. Payal Sarkar’s scope to perform remains limited, but there’s no denying that the actor brings sincerity to her act. The actress playing Rajat Kapoor’s daughter could have toned down her aggression. That’s to a certain extent because of the barely convincing attempt of the makers to project her as a girl of today.
Shobdo Jobdo is a homegrown thriller where most of its characters are not what they appear to be. The entire plot is driven by a mystery girl who compounds the confusions that the protagonist has about his past. If the narrative is only evaluated as a whodunit thriller, there’s no great surprise element in the story. With the limited number of characters and the hints that they throw about their true motives, the unveiling of the antagonist’s identity in the show isn’t exactly jaw-dropping or unexpected.
But the eerie atmosphere that the storytellers build is worthy of your attention. The narrative is more or less sharp – the director Sourav Chakraborty doesn’t waste much time on mindless subplots. The protagonist’s profession as a writer specialising in the thriller-genre is an interesting idea for a plot that’s largely about a series of deaths in the character’s past. The setup is unhurried and neat. The director gradually draws you into the story and it’s probably this space that gets the viewer thinking about the many possibilities within the narrative.
There are a few scandalous relationships in the series and, interestingly, the storyteller doesn’t sensationalise them – he just makes the viewer understand that relationships can exist in many forms and need not have rules. Surreal landscapes are often great backdrops to stories with an element of crime – the director explores the contrast between the beauty in the surroundings and the dark side to its inhabitants to impressive effect. Despite the predictability in the story, the makers are successful in making the viewer feel the tension in the air.
The detailing about the life of an author – his inspirations, how he finds his plots, markets his books and moves onto his newer works – seems very basic but the limited context works within this thriller. The subplot about a fading superstar desperate to resurrect his career could’ve been utilised to further the story more effectively. The use of darkness in the final episode of the show is very effective and metaphorical at the same time. The polyamorous identity of the college-going girl doesn’t make much sense beyond creating a certain ‘shock effect’.
Shobdo Jobdo offers an impression that it has something perplexing and complex to share, but the simplistic revelation disappoints.
Music and Other Departments?
The tense, mysterious texture of the music is a good value addition to the show, including the only (despite its odd placement) song and the background score. The cinematography is impressive – it is obvious that the makers have worked towards presenting the story visually more than the dialogue. The writing is slightly uni-layered and simplistic. Thankfully, the technical standards of the show, including the sound design, make it a compelling viewing experience beyond its follies.
Rajat Kapoor’s performance
Promising technical standards
Predictability in the screenplay
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
No to thriller-enthusiasts (because it wouldn’t take long for them to find answers), and yes to others.
Shobdo Jobdo Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur
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