Director: Manoj Michigan
The Bengali entry in the ‘Indian Cinema Now’, 89, is a psychological thriller, directed by Manoj Michigan, shot largely in and around West Bengal.
The theme revolves around a lot of psychiatry and even hypnosis in psychiatry, delving into field-based theories, deductions and jargons, although beyond understanding.
Purba Banerjee (Raima Sen) plays the central protagonist of a psychiatrist with psychic problems. When diagnosed, interesting facts even those about her past gets revealed While most characters in movies today track down their past, Purba, amusingly, searches down her ‘past’ life to track down her problems. Upon the realization that her problems are interlinked with that of a serial killer, Sabyasachi Pal (Saswata Chatterjee), she decides to visit him. An anti-terrorist officer, Anup Bhargava (Shataf Figar), also the man in love with her, helps her through it.
We have an interesting sociopath who had murdered 89 people and was caught in his 89th act. His aspiration is to get to 90. Saswata Chatterjee makes for a good orator, while he is narrating his exploits.
Raima Sen, while confident, appears a tad too serious all the time. For that matter, everybody except the serial killer, appears dead serious (hint of pun, intended!) in this non-linear narrative with the story moving back and forth, taking us in and out of Purba’s troubles. While it is an interesting premise, one of the setback is how it all appears too staged for one’s liking.
Another ambiguity is Raima Sen’s intent here. Granted that she is tackling her nightmare, but with notions of ‘Karma’ and other such philosophy coupled with psychiatry, her intent seems a little puzzling.
The narrative offers a crash course in bad parenting, which was touted to be the root cause of the temperament of the serial killer (All problems begin at home, don’t they!). The frames are filled with deliberate intensity and even though there is enough material to accomplish a neat drama, the movie, it falters towards the end, where the climax descends quickly from the logical tree, and appears unripe and slightly under developed.
While 89 is a good movie to watch, with or without its setbacks, the characterization could have been a bit more intriguing, for the brilliance in a murder is rarely exhibited although Pal is regarded as a genius. 89 is a slightly bumpy ride. The ride is good, but we cannot say the same about its destination.