Sarthak Dasgupta’s story talks about the feeling of happy liberation while one is in love
Simple things are the most difficult. Indeed. This one film here asks you to sit back, see, relate, and actually implement what it tries to convey. Music Teacher with its utmost routine writing and characters that you easily find around you draws you into a narrative that is never ambitious. It sticks to the ground, all throughout, yet hits you at the right note. Of course, the film doesn’t fit into the mould of conventional storytelling. Its a parallel cinematic narrative.
Watch the trailer here:
Wanting to make it big in Mumbai, Beni Madhav Singh (Manav Kaul) is an inherently depressed and dejected music teacher in Simla, stuck with responsibilities. What has made him like this is a troubled past with one of his students Jyotsna Ray (Amrita Bagchi), who’s now become a star singer in Hindi films in Mumbai. Jyotsna now is coming for a concert in Simla, making things tougher for Beni.
Sarthak Dasgupta’s story is plain, simple and moves on a single track. Don’t expect any highs or lows, as the drama has been kept to complement reality. And while you are leading your life, you don’t experience dramatic turns and twists.
Its a story of how ambitions overpower one’s feelings, what it means to fall in love, find solace in someone, share your lives, and not wanting to let go of your past. Here, the protagonist comes across as a loser who’s not coming to terms with reality and is stuck in the past, sobbing and weeping. But that’s not all. While the makers show you a man struggling with his own self, what it actually conveys is hope and liberation and a sense of happiness- what actually love should mean.
Its a slow screenplay, but at 110 mins, it doesn’t seem lethargic. Yes, its strictly for the niche audience, wanting peace with simple stories. The film is like reading a book, slow and steady, and while not everyone would want to be invested, the film will have its own takers.
There are loopholes too. The drama becomes predictable where you don’t proceed towards a charming end. Where the writing falls short, other aspects like performances and overall feel make up for it.
Manav Kaul is brilliant. Even without dialogues, he says it all with his supremely expressive face and body language. He suits the part in the best possible manner. Without a doubt, this film should shine high in his filmography. You feel for Beni, disgust him, dislike him, also want him to win. A character graph that’s a journey, and Kaul wins at every step.
Amrita Bagchi, although isn’t a great actress here. But naivety adds colors to the plot. She suits the writing of the film. And with the character, you like her on screen.
Divya Dutta in an important role is very good too. She has her moments where she emotes loneliness with her eyes a lot. Her character also works at a symbolic level and she puts across a mature act. There’s a scene where she leaves the place and its only because of her upright act that you want her to win and not the protagonists.
Neena Gupta in a small but effective role is very good.
Music by Rochak Kohli is impressive. Suits well to the plot. Adds meaning to the story. Makes the story move forward. Papon’s rendition to old Hindi numbers is amazingly soulful.
Cinematography by Kaushik Mondal is soothing. While Simla is captured well, he has made sure it moves in sync with the story. Hills, bridges, roads, waterfalls- all have been incorporated into the frame with a meaning. Some frames are too beautiful to adore, like a painting. Production design by Udai Prakash Singh is very real. The locations are real, the sets take you to tranquility.
Editing by Anupama Chabukswar is decent, given the linear structure of the plot itself. The film oscillates between past and present, which adds element.
Its a film for a specific section of society. The meaning in the film is important. Its a mature take on love and what it means to not be arrested in the feeling itself. The writing could be better in some places, but then there are films that are better with a little imperfections, just like people and life.