Made by German film maker, Schatten Der Zeit [Shadows of Time] is a "German-Bengali film" shot in India ! Phew... confusing no?! Wondering why it hasn't released in India till now, besides screening in Goa International Film Festival.
The film is about Ravi [Sikandar Agarwal] a child laborer in carpet factory. Who saves Masha [Thumpa Das]- a co worker from being sold to a rich man and sends her to city of Calcutta. While Masha promises to wait for him at every full moon night in Shiva temple. Years passes, and adult Ravi [Prashant Narayanan] leaves his job to go to the city and find Masha [Tanishtha Chatterjee]. Somehow, after few visits to the temple, Masha stops going to temple because of a reason. Enter new woman in Ravi's life, Deepa [Tillotama Shome]. Twists and Turns, enter Yani Mishra [Irfan Khan]. The story takes further interesting turns.
Calcutta and Mumbai, has always been favorite for the film makers from other countries. I assume they love to picturise the slums, poverty and what not. I will leave this discussion asides [not willing to discuss in comments too]. But in this movie also, the child laborers life is so much in your face. It breaks your heart to see little kids doing all the hard work. At the same time, some charming moments are there between young Ravi and Masha. Which instantly reminds me of Slumdog Millionaire's cute kids. And oh, this movie is older than Slumdog & the Book ! must be some inspirations those guys have taken.
But thankfully, the movie turns to Calcutta and better things are there. Era of 1940s is recreated for the movie and it looks lovely. Music composed by Gert Wilden Jr. adds feel to the scenes. Though it is directed by a non-Indian, it doesn't seem like that. Visually, everything is perfectly recreated.
Somehow, in second half, movie has some serious flaws. A typical extra marital affair and pretty common cliches made me cringe at some scenes. At a few point, me, and everyone at the audience where like 'ugh..stretched'. But thankfully, soon it ends with some nice emotional moments. Performances by leads are good. Especially Tannishtha Chaterjee impressed me with her silent acts. Also, Tillotama Shome as Deepa, does nice job as jealous wife. Irrfan Khan is as always, good. But its the kids, who leaves impression in mind.
Overall, the movie is good but for the patient art-house cinema viewers. Its the charming moments of kids, and acts by Prashant and Tannishtha who makes it worth watching.
[oh, some Trivia : Vivek Oberoi, Aishwarya & Ben Kingsley were once considered for this movie !!]