Review: ‘Reaching Silence’

"Reaching Silence" is too one-note to sustain interest at feature length. Nor is the character of Sarit, a Bengal country boy who works as a salesman in New Delhi but can't adjust to the city's ear-splitting racket, deep or memorable. What most remains from writer-photographer Jahar Kanungo's first feature is its attention to detail.

An offbeat film about a young man’s noise phobia, “Reaching Silence” is too one-note to sustain interest at feature length. Nor is the character of Sarit (Kaushik Chakravarty), a Bengal country boy who works as a salesman in New Delhi but can’t adjust to the city’s ear-splitting racket, deep or memorable. What most remains from writer-photographer Jahar Kanungo’s first feature is its attention to detail, especially and logically to the superior sound recording by Arijit Paul and mixing by Dominique Viellard. This French coproduction should make its main bang on ancillary.

Though every urban dweller has to sympathize, it’s still hard to identify with the sulky, self-absorbed hero, who ditches his job in auditory disgust. His hypersensitivity to sound leads him to a guru who explains how vibrations give form to life, an idea the film seems to embrace. As Kanungo slyly shows, Sarit’s peaceful native village is actually filled with jarring sounds made by nature and human beings. Not even a spunky, big-eyed village girl interested in marriage can break through the boy’s increasing isolation. Bucolic atmosphere of the Bengali countryside is sensuously captured through photography, music and sounds.

Reaching Silence

India-France

Production

A Kanungo Media/Artcam Intl. co-production. Produced by Abhijit Roy, Subhasendu Chatterjee, Lima Kanungo, Joel Farges, Elise Jalladeau. Directed, written by Jahar Kanungo.

Crew

Camera (color), Dilip Varma; editor, Samira Jain; production designer, Santanu Bose. Reviewed at Dubai Film Festival (Cinema From the Subcontinent), Dec. 15, 2005. Bengali dialogue. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Kaushik Chakravarty, Piyali Dasgupta, Sudeshna Basu, Trina Neelina Banerjee, Robi Shankar, Sandeep Bagchi, Ashok Lal, Raman Chawla.
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