As lovers at each other’s throats, Jaya and Prosenjit deliver convincing performances
Lovers meet on a Sunday after more than a decade of estrangement and quiet deliberation. The passing years have erected a wall, slashing their world into two. What storm has brought them down and sent ripples of bitterness through their lives, we wonder? Yet, for the longest time, we are afforded no flashbacks or revelations.
We lay our eyes on the lovers, Sayani (Jaya Ahsan) and Asimabha (Prosenjit Chatterjee), for the first time as they too hold each other’s gaze in a new light, on a fateful Sunday morning.
Asimabha is a career fraudster, running from the law. His days of freedom are numbered. When one’s life nearly slips through one's fingers, and time reveals its dreadfully elusive and fleeting nature, it appears reasonable to pursue what has been once so recklessly thrown away and forgotten. Thus, Asimabha, now a desperate middle-aged man, by fate or choice – one never knows, runs into a series of encounters with Sayani, the woman he terrorized and loved, from his youth.
Sayani, a corporate law officer penning a book on a fraudster’s psychology, is both repelled and intrigued by Asimabha’s dramatic reappearance in her life. Her Sunday, initially tinged with an air of familiar melancholy, languidly flows into territories she neither anticipated nor previously explored.
Sayani and Asimabha crash into each other as predictably as waves, stroll through luscious green landscapes and dwell on matters now entirely out of hand – all within a day.
In love, one aspires to build a genuine human understanding with another, a tie that serves them both well, an attempt that also feels everlasting for many. Yet, so much is sifted out of lovers’ conversations, never to be returned to and looked upon again. This age-old gap, in particular, which seems unbridgeable between Sayani and Asimabha as well, regardless of the years spent in separation or the endless bickering, is meditatively and effectively examined in Robibar.
As lovers at each other’s throats, Jaya and Prosenjit deliver convincing lead performances, breathing life into a withered romance as the haunting background score lulls the audience deeper into the story - a story that, once unfolded, feels woefully inadequate.
Film-maker Atanu Ghosh’s unconventional choices, namely to introduce characters who serve no purpose whatsoever to the story, who emerge out of oblivion and fade into irrelevance, holds back the film. The randomness of the plot, which is supposedly indicative of life’s unpredictability, feels too contrived to be random. Rather than jolting us back to reality, the ending leaves a foul aftertaste, as if the magic of the day had been buried under all the gimmickry.
Robibaar falls short despite showing promise. We, as audience, wait patiently in anticipation for a few brief, coherent glimpses of emotional depth beneath the surface, yet are turned away time after time. Atanu’s stylistic lamentation for a romance gone sour, unfortunate as it is, lacks substance.