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It Happened in Calcutta review: All is fair in love and war

ALTBalaji’s new web series, It Happened In Calcutta is a period love drama set in the 1960s and 70s. It is produced by Shobha Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor. It is also streaming on ZEE5.

Story

The plot dates back to 1962 in Calcutta Medical College where Kusum Ganguly (Naghma Rizwan) joins the MBBS course as the first female student. She unexpectedly bumps into the flamboyant and arrogant playboy Ronobir Chatterjee (Karan Kundra) who is her senior and despises him. 

However, Ronobir develops a liking for Kusum and she, being innocent and kind, eventually falls for him too. Soon after, Ronobir, true to his nature distances himself from her and leaves Kusum heartbroken.

After 9 years in 1971, they meet again under chaotic circumstances bringing back hidden memories into play. Both of them now have to deal with this rekindling of love amidst an outbreak of Cholera and the disquieting Indo-Pak war with an upsurge of the Naxal movement in the North-East of India.

Performances

Karan Kundra as the playboy Ronobir comes up with a remarkable performance with good variations. He is equally likeable and hate worthy with his character. This proves that he did his job brilliantly.

Debutante Naghma Rizwan shines as Kusum. She showcases a unique charm as this multi-layered character and drives this web-series to victory.

Rizwan shows that her selection by Ekta Kapoor was not wrong by etching out a performance that is par excellence.

Simran Kaur as Sujata and Harmanjeet Singha as Ratan Bagchi lend their support admirably by adding the required vivacity to the story.

Positives

It Happened in Calcutta is a love story in a medical college with a backdrop of Cholera, Indo Pak war and the Naxal movement. It sounds quite interesting and looks even more promising on screen. 

The story and screenplay by Joyeeta Chatterjee and additional screenplay by Surabhi Saral Sachdev deserve the appreciation for turning this concept into an absorbing saga. 

The way Ken Ghosh, the director translates the plot onto screen as a gripping visual spectacle interspersing love, war, epidemic and separation is extraordinary. 

The track Sukoon which is written, composed and sung by Akhil Sachdeva along with Jankee Parekh is quite melodious and uplifts the whole mood of the narrative. Dua Ban Ja is another soulful duet by Akhil Sachdeva and Harshdeep Kaur which is mesmerising.

Negatives

The Calcutta of the 1960s feels like what people would want it to be but certainly not what it was back then. The open flirting, unabashed discussions about sex and kissing in front of an audience is not very authentic of those times.

The medical college environment feels more like another Karan Johar film with fancy clothes, cars and bling. Furthermore, the war is a great setting for the web series but is not used to its full potential.

Worth it?

It Happened In Calcutta is a different kind of love story which is worth a watch. A great depiction of how true love cannot be separated by war, epidemic or anything as long as it remains true to heart.


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