Sushmita Pandit : Arrogance, wealth and power can turn a person so venal that he ultimately ruins the life of his own wife- Shekhar Das’s latest cinematic venture, Jogajog- Relationships, retells such tragic and cautionary tale. Adapted from Rabindranath’s Tagore novel of the same name, the film brings on the issues of marital rape and the subjugation of women told in the backdrop of a Bengali society in transition, when the Bengali nouveau riche class was emerging but was received with much disdain and suspicion by the old gentry.
The underlying rivalry between the Chatterjees and Ghoshals tear apart the life of Kumudini, played by debutant Shuvalagna Mukherjee, belonging to the Chatterjee household. The Chatterjees have imbued Kumudini with traditional values, which over a period of time become questionable for her. For Kumudini it is a troubling conflict between the ideals that have been instilled by her parents and her own feelings and views of life after she has been harshly upset by the obscene exhibition of wealth and power. Her husband, Madhusudan, played by Bratya Basu, constantly demoralizes her by taunting about her brother’s financial instability. Jogajog also focuses on Madhusudan’s relationship with Shyamasundari (Ananya Chatterjee), the widow of his elder brother. Madhusudan not only wrongs Kumudini but also Shyamasundari by exploiting her according to his wishes. The narrative also weaves the character of Madhusudan’s brother, Nabin (Shaheb Chatterjee) and his wife, Rimi (Locket Chatterjee) who support Kumudini in her struggles.
Sekhar Das has always tried to produce serious cinema for the Bengali screen. This time he remains true to the original while attempting to re-narrate Tagore’s novel for the celluloid; however, Jogajog as a period drama lacks visual luster, perhaps because of the limited budget. The editing could have been a little more compact to make the film less languid. However the music meaningfully contributes to the storyline. Debajyoti Bose does a commendable work in the music department. Bratya Basu and Shuvolagna play their parts convincingly and it seems that Shuvalagna Mukherjee not only lends a fresh face but packs in praiseworthy performance, as well. Nevertheless it is Ananya Chatterjee, in the role of Shyamasundari, who steals the show; Ananya as a sensuous widow, who is in love with Madhusudan and jealous of Kumudini is a marvel to watch. The character of Nabin as the cool-headed and firmly grounded man is played convincingly by Shaheb Chattopadhyay. Arjun Chakrabortty, Locket Chatterjee, Barun Chanda, Lily Chakraborty and Biswajit Chakraborty add their adept performance to the narrative. Jogajog should be a fine reminder of how important literary adaptation in cinema can be, especially in this age of raunchy item songs and weekly release of copied potboilers.