An intriguing psychological drama that keeps you hooked till the last, Bicharak presents Uttam Kumar in a role that shows his talent off yet again. Directed by Prabhat Mukherjee, this 1959 film presents Bengal's biggest matinee idol as a judge who has to decide the fate of the convicted presented before him. But through the legal intricacies and the interrogations, he is forced to face the truth about his questionable actions in the past. What I absolutely found fascinating was how the director, with the use of imagery and the clever use of time shifts, relate his past actions to his present. Judge Gyanendra might declare that his justice is divine and that it is even more powerful than the dictum of God, but is he really the man who can make such a lofty declaration? When he passes the judgement that Balai Das has indeed murdered his wife, he does so believing that the mother cannot be wrong. His wife questions his judgement, but Gyanendra is determined that his 'justice is divine'. But is there proof enough that Gyanendra's justice is indeed divine and there is no scope for betterment. Is Gyanendra fit enough to judge people? What is it that taints him?
A flurry of questions surface that shake Gyanendra's existence. His fear of fire, his being visually perturbed at seeing his first wife's picture, the silence that eats into Suroma and Gyanendra's conjugal life...
Perhaps Gyanendra never realises that the repercussions of his actions would cost him so much. Or for that matter even Sumati may not have thought about her actions. While Sumati is silenced, Gyanendra has to constantly battle the storm raging in his heart.
Three questions are raised towards the end. Is it possible to live with such a partner who is ailing from a suspicious mind? Is it possible to constantly pass her test of faith? Why should one true soul constantly be tested whether he is being unfaithful to his wife? The second question is whether Gyanendra really had a liking for Suroma? Did he merely enjoy her company as a friend, or did he see in her the woman he wanted as his partner? Then, given this, was Sumati right? That means, did he really want to get rid of her so that he could settle down with Suroma? And thirdly, was it really impossible to save Suroma? Did Gyanendra fulfil his conjugal promise of taking care of his wife, no matter what? Didn't the wave of relief sweep over him, as he saw Suroma engulfed by flames? Questions galore surface towards the end, which make this drama so much more rivetting.
The cast is fantastic here--everyone contributes in making this offbeat film a superb watch. Arundhati Devi is is marvellous as the chirpy young girl before marriage and the reserved wife later. It's obvious that she has several questions to ask Gyanendra and is looking for the opportune moment. Dipti Ray is spectacular as the suspicious and rude wife who does not leave any opportunity to heckle her husband.