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Film Review : Not a Dirty Film: Desire, Betrayal and Facebook

Not a Dirty Film: Desire, Betrayal and Facebook
Sushmita Pandit

Not a Dirty Film directed by young debutant filmmaker, Ranadeep Sarker throws light into the dark underbelly of our modern society. Film on urban sex racket, shady porn industry and flesh trade is a delicate subject to deal with and popular Bengali films have often tackled the topic with lighthearted engagement. However, the narrative of Not a Dirty Film brings into focus this uncomfortable yet very relevant subject instead of brushing it under the carpet.

Nil played by Shaheb Bhattacharjee is a college going Casanova, who has a long list of girls in his life irrespective of having a serious romantic involvement with his classmate Apps (Suchandra Vaaniya). While his parents are too busy with their high flying jobs, Nil slowly succumbs in to the vortex of endless parties, casual sex, and social media.  Perhaps the early symptoms of his fall was visible only to his equally lonely grandmother (Madhobi Mukhopadhay).  While he chats with a new, somewhat over eager seductress Mona, played by Mumtaz Sorcar, on Facebook, little does he know that this time it would be his turn to be preyed upon. Although he manages to have his fun between the sheets but three months later a porn video that goes viral not only exposes his deed but also causes severe social and psychological trauma that almost drives him to commit suicide. At this moment of crisis, his parents come into terms with their lack of earnest parenting, and genuine concern for their boy with raging hormones. Nil’s father employs a private detective to track down who is behind this entrapment, and the second half of the film packages a detective subplot with much comic relief. Rajatava Dutta plays, Roy, a private detective and Sumona (Ena Saha), his sultry sidekick embark on a circuitous journey to expose the unholy nexus of sex racket, porn industry and the people with money and power.

Well-played by a familiar cast and creating a sense of anxiety and betrayal in an otherwise posh, urban backdrop of Kolkata , Ranadeep’s Not a Dirty Film may remind us of  Kalyug, with a contemporary overlay and much modern paranoia.

Shaheb, maturing with every film, lends a commendable performance in the film, portraying the transformation of Nil’s character from a flamboyant, outgoing boy to a broken man shattered by the circumstances, life has brought onto him. Veteran actors, Krishna Kishore Mukherjee and Locket Chatterjee convincingly play the role of self-absorbed upper-class parents; but it is Rajatava Dutta in the role of the detective and Kharaj Mukherjee playing a devious astrologer, Chiku-da, who steal the show. Mumtaz and Madhobi in their small but significant role shine as usual.

The screenplay by Jyotirmoy Deb could have been a little bit tighter and, at times, the overuse of sexual innuendos may become somewhat uncomfortable. Cinematography by Kiranmoy Bhunia brings much panache into the film, especially the song sequences have been shot beautifully, under an evidently tight budget. There is no denying that the use of Hindi lyrics in Bengali films are in vogue but an entire song in Hindi seems disjointed and could have been done without. The director may have been a little more attentive towards the details, for instance in the college canteen scene, early in the film, one of Nil’s friends’ dialogues do not lip-sync, at all. However, being a young debutant director, Ranadeep has surely left a mark in Bengali cinema with his Not a Dirty Film, not only for displaying the courage of exposing a disconcerting issue on screen but also for being a socially conscious filmmaker.

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