The Parcel Review (3.5/5): A Uniquely Different Psychological Thriller With Open Ending

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Indrasis Acharya and his films dare to be different right from the days of his first outing ‘Bilu Rakkhosh’ to his second venture ‘Pupa’ and finally now in ‘The Parcel.’ The director once again leaves his signature style with his unconventional realistic approach towards filmmaking. ‘The Parcel’ is just a medium only to showcase what’s actually happening around us. There’s a brilliant Line in the film where Ambarish Bhattacharya’s character says to Nandini aka Rituparna Sengupta,”Look around yourself. We all are living inside a purgatory.” The Parcel deep dives into the human psyche where guilt, suspicion, infidelity, revenge, dark secrets from the past take over to haunt the present. At the same time it gives you a glimpse of our current medical system all across the country. Acharya’s film is like a slow burn that one can’t judge it by its cover only. With times it expands its multi-layered features all over it. And the climax keeps the mystery alive with open ending.

Rituparna Sengupta and Saswata Chatterjee in a still from the film.

STORY:- Nandini a doctor turned housewife (Rituparna Sengupta) and her husband Souvik’s (Saswata Chatterjee) world turned upside down when Nandini starts receiving surprise gifts in anonymous parcels on a regular basis. Parcels contain albums, her old photographs with flowers at times. Tension starts brewing between the couple and slowly their happily married life gets affected for such gesture of the unknown sender. The question is why would someone spend so much time, interest and money for nothing? Nandini revisits her past relationships, near ones, dark secrets in order to make sure who’s trying to create a mess in her happily married life! And with this process there’s more shocking revelation comes to the front about her personal and professional life. The narrative asks pertinent questions to the entire system and every individual of the society.
Why treating a VIP patient is getting riskier day by day for the doctors?
Why does a common man have to face a lot of hurdles in order to get the basic treatment & care in the hospitals?
Why does a doctor feel that civic volunteers would practice medicine going forward?
Why every time the hospital/nursing home authority decide when to declare a patient dead?
How long they continue to do this business while keeping the doctors at the gunpoint?
When’ll the doctors break their silence?

A candid still from the film.

PLUSES:- First things first, the unconventional storyline which is poles apart from the usual formulaic mystery thriller. Film’s novel concept and multi-layered plot break the stereotypes. If someone comes to a conclusion after seeing the trailer that it’s going to be a roller-coaster fast paced thriller then he or she’ll be totally surprised as the film is exactly opposite to that. As I mentioned before, it’s like a slow burn. Acharya although leaves his signature style yet another time but he doesn’t repeat himself. His direction is uniquely different from the other edgy psychological thrillers. And quite intelligently he leaves the room for improvisation which may bring back ‘The Parcel 2’ in future. Special mention for very well written powerful and effective dialogues.

An intense moment from the film.

Performances are topnotch. Right from the main lead characters to its supporting cast. Both the lead characters are flawed here with grey shades. Rituparna Sengupta as ‘Nandini’ delivers a spontaneous performance in her layered role whereas Saswata Chatterjee is in terrific form. He amazingly displays various emotions with effortless ease. Ambarish Bhattacharya’s character comes at a crucial point in the film and he leaves a maximum impact with some of the best lines from the film. Daminee Benny Basu is damn good in her character. Anindya Chatterjee impresses a lot in his brief role. Sreela Majumdar is decent in her supporting act. Rest of the actors lend a good support to the film. Joy Sarkar’s music and background score is heart melting. In fact the BGM elevates the scale of the film in many sequences. DOP Santanu Dey shot the film brilliantly, right from the word go. Some of the takes will stay in your mind.

A poster from the film featuring the lead actors.

MINUSES:- Although concept, story and direction wise Acharya shine but the screenplay could have been more engaging and interesting. The film lacks the typical cinematic entertainment factors as the director paid sincere attention towards realistic filmmaking. So for the obvious reasons Some of the scenes are quite long which may make one feel bored at times. The editing could have been more tighter. The Parcel is not meant for all and it’s strictly restricted to intelligentsia.

FINAL WORDS:- All said and done, ‘The Parcel’ is uniquely different and differently unique. If you have a good appetite for unconventional slow burn mystery thrillers, then this is surely made for you. GO FOR IT.


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