Antaheen is an excellent film which comes from the Bengali art cinema stable. Meticulously planned screenplay and seamless execution of the script support the foundation of the film which makes it one of the best regional films to watch out for. The film is vivid with elements which dabble in politics, business, philosophy and psychology of human relationships. The character sketches are succinctly elucidated with each and every main character grabbing significant attention from the audience.

Rahul Bose portrays the role of a senior cop who is adept at nabbing criminals and resolving conflicting situations. This is clarified by insertion of a few sub-plots within the storyline. Apparently, he has a secluded lifestyle in which he lives with his aunt and despite being a renowned officer in the DCDD department and a public face, has no girlfriends whatsoever. But over time, he has developed a habit of chatting with an unknown acquaintance of which Sharmila Tagore (his aunt) is slightly aware. He keeps his identity secret to the girl with whom he is chatting and they generally chat quite poetically and philosophically, which is a fun thing to watch.

Rahul bose is also in touch with his brother (Kalyan Roy), who lives separately from his wife (played by the versatile Aparna Sen). Rahul bose , at this stage doesn’t understand the cause of rift between the two and as the plot unfolds, we along with Rahul Bose, begin to unravel the mysteries and complications that arise with the advent of marriage. We become aware of how sometimes things turn ugly, when there is a clash of egos – when your independence is curbed and you have to seek a compromise. Aptly comes the dialogue from Rahul Bose Tomader moddhe abhimaan jome jome pahar hoye geche, Paro Di” (You people have built mountains of egos between yourselves). And to that Aparna Sen also replies Pahar ki oto sohoje dingono jaaye re” (It is not that easy to cross mountains). The structural flow of situations and dialogues is just fantabulous.

The parallel between the two couples, showcased in the movie, can be drawn. One is the couple which is as described in the earlier paragraph; and the second one comprises of a real-estate businessman and his wife. The latter couple, still living together under roof despite having a luxurious lifestyle, is bereft of any happiness or intimacy that should come out of it. On the other hand, Aparna Sen and her husband get in touch over the phone and have company with each other despite living miles apart from each other. And so it gets reflected in the dialogues Sometimes absence is required, to feel a person’s presence more intensely.

Rahul bose regularly chats with our leading lady (Radhika Apte) who is an investigative reporter working for a TV channel for which Aparna Sen also works. They both come to know each other through Aparna sen. In the virtual world, they don’t know about their real identities and in the real world, they just don’t have a clue about their virtual identities. And as they both stand witness to Aparna Sen’s once married life, they develop a liking for each other through the virtual world, of course. Meanwhile, Radhika Apte is on a hot trail regarding a fishy real estate deal involving the above-mentioned businessman. Many people advise her to drop this investigation as it can turn dirtier but she never bothers about it. The title is indicative and suggestive of what the climax turns out to be.

There are powerful performances from the actors. All of them seem to have dug deep within the character; known every bit and piece of that character’s psychology and rehearsed their parts with virtuoso dedication. The direction of Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury is exemplary and needs no critique here. Excellent cinematography and subtle symbolisms present in the movie itself. Ultimately here comes the music which is reverently rewarding to the soul. Composed by Shantanu Moitra (of Parineeta), the music is sweet and melodious comprising of tracks belonging to Indie Rock as well as classical Bengali music genre. If you really want to listen to contemporary Bengali music, then you can start off by buying this music CD, for sure.

The only critique I would be offering to the audience here is that the movie is slow and hence is not made for people who are jerky and are fond of fast-paced storylines. So, if you like high-class emotional dramas mixed with elements of pragmatism, and are a little bit patient, then surely go for it.

So, why this film grabbed a National Award in 2009?