Shyam Singha Roy: Watch It For The Performances And Aesthetics

There is a lot to admire about Rahul Sankrityan’s Shyam Singha Roy. The theme of reincarnation isn’t something new in films but what makes the difference here is the narration. That is not to say that the film is flawless. The second half could have been trimmed down; also the climax is a letdown. However for most part the director makes you invested.

The story begins off with the struggles of a debut director Vasu (Nani plays both Vasu and Shyam Singha Roy). Vasu has ambitions of becoming a film director; in order to achieve that goal he starts off with a short film. The story is set but the issue is that Vasu is not able to find the heroine for his short film. At this point he comes across a postgraduate student played by Krithi Shetty of Uppena fame. Kriti’s character Keerty has no interest in films whatsoever let alone acting, but Vasu is convinced that she is the one. After some effort he is able to convince her. From here you have some romance between the two. The romance isn’t particularly something new but the staging of these scenes have a certain freshness to it. In between Vasu has flashes of Shyam Singa Roy. During those times he goes into a trance. Once he goes into a trance while getting intimate with Keerty and calls her Rose. This leads to a split between the two.

THE HEART OF SHYAM SINGHA ROY LIES IN THE FLASHBACK EPISODE OF THE SECOND HALF. THE DIRECTOR DEALS WITH MULTIPLE ISSUES STARTING FROM UNTOUCHABILITY.

Coming back to the short film it becomes a success. A producer asks him to come with up a bound script with the assurance that he would provide all the resources that Vasu needs. The film becomes a massive success and Vasu is asked to make the same film in Hindi.
Things are going very well but it is here that the life of Vasu turns upside down. He is accused of a plagiarism by a leading publication house. Their accusation is that Vasu has directly copied the stories of Bengali activist and writer Shyam Singha Roy. Vasu denies that he has copied these stories and this leads to an intriguing court case where history and religion are linked.

The heart of Shyam Singha Roy lies in the flashback episode of the second half. The director deals with multiple issues starting from untouchability. Later it goes to the Devadasi system and how the Devadasi’s are abused. The director makes a powerful statement on how they shouldn’t be slaves to anyone not even god. Yes the role of Shyam does fall under the upper caste savior but it still works.

SAI PALLAVI IS TERRIFIC IN BOTH THE DANCES AND ALSO OTHERWISE. SHE CONVEYS SENSUOUSNESS AND VULNERABILITY AT THE SAME TIME THROUGH HER DANCES.

The romance between the Devadasi woman ( Sai Pallavi) and Nani gives plenty of heartwarming moments. Sai Pallavi is terrific in both the dances and also otherwise. She conveys sensuousness and vulnerability at the same time through her dances. Their romance is built up well and the director makes sure that you root for them.

Another key character here is of Rahul Ravindran who plays one of Shyam Singa Roy’s brothers Manoj Singa Roy. Nani and Rahul Ravindran don’t have many scenes but their scenes are filled with warmth. Rahul Ravindran gives a strong performance but he is particularly impressive in his old man avatar in the pre climax. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Jishu Sengupta who plays the elder brother. It is a character which could have been played by anyone. It would have been best if Jishu had not played this role.

The contemporary bits in the first half are also hugely enjoyable. The comic scenes featuring Abhishek Gomatam and Nani raise lot of chuckles. The struggles of Vasu are something that many aspiring filmmakers would connect with. Kriti Shetty as Keerti has a very different role from Uppena and the actress makes her presence amply felt. What also makes the first half work is the role of Madonna Sebastain as lawyer Padmavati.

NOT SURPRISINGLY NANI IS SUPER EFFICIENT IN BOTH HIS ROLES. HE SHIFTS SEAMLESSLY BETWEEN THE BEWILDERED VASU AND THE DASHING SHYAM SINGA ROY.

Micky J Myer’s music is another strong pillar of Shyam Singa Roy. His compositions add a lot to the film. Malayalam cinematographer Sanu Varghese makes his Tollywood debut with this film. His cinematography deserves distinction marks. The way he captures the atmospherics in the second half is particularly commendable. Avinash Kolla’s art direction is also first rate.

Not surprisingly Nani is super efficient in both his roles. He shifts seamlessly between the bewildered Vasu and the dashing Shyam Singa Roy. His performance is a major reason why we buy into this recarnation drama.

Coming to the dampeners the big downer is the climax. It doesn’t make any sense to keep Sai Pallavi’s character alive. The director could have easily avoided that. It is not just melodramatic but plain unnecessary. It also doesn’t help that the prosthetic used are in no way convincing. Rahul Ravindran’s old man get up is far better than Sai Pallavi’s one.

Another problematic thing is how the director depicts the violent actions of Nani and Jishu Sengupta at different points in the film. There are two gory murders in the film but at no point we are told that they are punished leave alone a police case. Another problem is that we don’t see Shyam Singa Roy doing any activism post marriage. He does write books and also gives speeches but you don’t see much of on ground activism.

Irrespective of these flaws the film the movie is watchable and the director is promising.

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