The lanes become narrower and narrower as he tries to run from everyone and from his own existence. But when there is no place left to hide, is he going to accept his defeat, or will he take up the challenge and destroy everything, that comes in his way?
Debaloy Bhattacharya’s Dracula Sir is the story of a school teacher, Raktim, whose strange canines earned him the name “Dracula Sir”. Because of his forbidding appearance, he finds it almost impossible to lead a normal life. The more he gets cornered by everyone the more he finds refuge in the memories of his past life as a naxalite (Amol). In all his misery, he only finds solace in the remembrance of his beloved, Manjari, whose presence is the only truth that matters, to him. Tortured and worn down by society Raktim finally decides to quit this hide and seek game and avenge Amol and Manjari. Will he be able to settle the scores with his tormentors, or his whole existence will be challenged with reality?
The non linear format of “Dracula Sir” makes it quite a difficult watch, as the story keeps on losing its track and looks forced at times, when trying hard to connect two time frames. The use of almost same colour palette for both the stories, sometimes makes it tough to distinguish between Amol and Raktim. Throughout the movie there is a consistent depressive, dark shade, an ancient eerie undertone, which keep striking hard. The gruesome torture scenes look quite unnecessary too. The repetitive mention of the vandalising of Vidyasagar’s statue seems somewhat out of place at times. But the depiction of the atrocities of police during the Naxalbari movement and the internal struggle of a young naxalite is profoundly crafted by the director. The brilliant background score and camera work help to strengthen the intricate storytelling.
The soul of the movie lies in the sublime performance of Anirban Bhattacharya as Raktim/Amol. His impeccable portrayal of a weak, perplexed naxalite and a hideous looking school teacher, make the almost mundane narrative somewhat intriguing. The slur in his speech due to his long canines was so subtle and yet so prominent. The desperation of a man torn between love and his political ideology (Amol) and a man fighting everyday to accept his cursed existence (Raktim), Anirban effortlessly breathes life into both. On the other hand the leading lady (Manjari), played by Mimi Chakraborty looks laboured and unnatural. From her dialogue delivery to her facial expressions, everything is wooden. The supporting actors like Bidipta Chakraborty and Rudranil Ghosh have done absolute justice to the script and shine bright in their narrow scope.
Despite having a great story arc, “Dracula Sir” looks unnecessarily complicated and comes across to be hugely inspired by Todd Phillips’ ‘Joker.’ The costume and makeup of the lead actor and the “smiling at the mirror” scenes never stop to remind us of the great DC character. The movie has the potency to become something groundbreaking in the contemporary scenario of Bengali cinema, but it fails to address the intricacies, which are needed to explore the psychologically troubled mind of Raktim. Though the revelations in the climax and an ambiguous ending, help to lift up the spirit of the complex bizarreness of the film to a certain extent. But still “Dracula Sir” remains just a great piece of technical expertise with not much soul to care for.