Directed by Shailik Bhaumik | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
‘Dasein’ is a term used to describe the concept of existence, much like this film which questions the existence of human beings by and large on various levels of their life. It looks at life from a critical lens where we witness the protagonist question his behaviors, thoughts and emotions from time to time. On the part of the audience, it requires a deeper level of understanding and an open mind to interpret the complex storyline of this film. There are multiple short stories within the main script which include different characters, concepts and emotions shown parallelly for a better experience and a greater understanding of the realization of one’s own existence. The movie unfolds each layer with the passing of time which is for viewers to watch and make sense of.
The film has incorporated different techniques of story telling by using voice over, stock videos, interviewing and then moving on to the mainstream direction style. It is interesting to note the shifts in the screenplay which is done very well to connect each segment of the story in a proper sequence. Although the film is non-linear in its approach every scene has its own significance and a message which the filmmaker is trying to put across. If anybody asks you an absurd question like, why do you think you are alive? Or are you actually living? It might seem like an unnecessary investigation yet the truth is that most people if asked to give it a thought are unable to explain the reason of their existence. The famous term ‘existential crisis’ also come from this very idea. The film being centered around this main theme makes it a bit emotionally loaded for the audience, however it is left open to interpretation by the protagonist as he uses a rather flexible approach while stating facts on existentialism.
‘Dasein’ is a Bengali film that explores the landscapes of Kolkata through out adding to its authenticity. The film is shot on field and includes everyday life characters that are relatable to the general audience. This is acts as a plus point as the viewers can almost naturally connect with ‘Aniket’ the male protagonist of the film who goes through obstacles that put him in an emotionally unstable position. Subjects such as existentialism, murder, unacceptable romantic relationships like that of a mother and a son are some of the major subjects of this film. They are themes which are comparatively less talked about in mainstream cinema. Therefore, to take up taboo worthy subjects and give it a mainstream approach is also commendable on the filmmaker’s part. A sense of spirituality is also something that the film induces in you as a viewer. The audience is somewhere pushed in a sphere of higher order thinking about ideas of God, life, our relationships with fellow beings and so on.
The role of the supporting actors also becomes essential in a film with such a huge cast. As a matter of fact, all the supporting actors and the protagonist as well have performed exceptionally well. Their performances have been crucial in bringing out the actual message of the film. The background score sets the tone and appropriate lighting in certain crucial shots also make the film appealing visually and auditorily. Moreover, the camera work is also done fairly well in terms of capturing the right emotions and correctly explaining perspectives in critical scenes.
A major twist which might leave you all shocked is the ending of the film. It brings in the thrill and pushes you on the edge of your seat as you process the reality of what mostly happens in a neurologically divergent individual’s life. The nail-biting finish is the highlight of the movie and you should definitely watch the film to know more about the same. All in all, the movie feels like a roller coaster of emotions which would take time to process but once it seeps in would make you realize some of your most complex thought. So, grab your popcorn, sit back and enjoy this incredible journey of ‘Dasein’.