Directed by Sujoy Ghosh
One of the first things Vidya Bagchi learns when she arrives to town is that in Kolkata, everyone has two names. What starts off as a joke – the locals can’t pronounce her name – comes to stand for a city of many faces and denizens of indeterminable identities. Vidya has arrived to Kolkata from London, where she and her husband Arnab are computer engineers. One day, Arnab headed to India only to eventually disappear without a trace. And so an extremely pregnant Vidya packs her bags and heads to Kolkata.
On the surface, the town is bubbling with charming folks – a boy at the guesthouse who brings “running water,” stumbling cops eager to help – but soon Vidya steps into a labyrinthine mess of overlapping worlds populated by shady characters like Bob Biswas, a Peter Lorre-looking assassin with an unforgettable comb-over, and the elusive Milan Damji, who Vidya is told looks exactly like her husband. Kolkata is also the scene of a mysterious gas attack that may or may not have to do with Vidya and her husband.
Following the cleverly-planted twists and guessing the outcome is half the fun. The other half is watching the soaring Vidya Balan, who follows up her award-winning performance in The Dirty Picture with a show-stopping role as a desperate woman who holds her cards, and her emotions, close to the heart. It’s a physical performance, with baby in front and a bookbag on the back, as she runs about town. Balan pairs that physicality with an immensely likeable courage to make her pursuit more than just a Charade-like game, but rather a passionate quest to set things right. –Brian Hu
Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Indraneil Sengupta