After the Third Bell is a mystery in the most unconventional manner. Yes, there is a murder investigation. But finding the actual killer is of little relevance, as director Ajay Govind tries to show the stereotypes held by a police officer which cloud the fairness of his findings.
While performing the play A Perfect Relationship, one of the actors dies on stage. All the characters involved in the making of the play inevitably become suspects. The investigation that follows is led by Inspector BC Banerjee, who has been forced to cut short his vacation to work on the case. His animosity towards theatre actors, confident women and homosexuals doesn’t help the case. Udayan Banerjee gives an impressive performance as BC Banerjee.
Inspector BC Banerjee, is prejudiced, ill-mannered and judgemental. And yet, he is very realistic and believable. He lets his attitude show in the way he treats each and every one of the suspects. He makes Randy (a drug addict), Ivana (a modern independent woman) and Amol (a homosexual man) come to the police station to interrogate them. Yet he goes out of his way to make life easier for the rest of the suspects who, according to him, are in more socially acceptable positions. His junior, Balbir Chowdhury is the voice of reason that guides the viewer through film. Banerjee is, as Balbir points out, in search of a temporary truth. He is quick to suspect the people he doesn’t approve of, and is relatively lenient towards the rest. The repercussions of his extreme bias could dictate a person’s conviction for murder, and that is the worrisome part. It is hard to come across a person with no pre-conceived notions. But Inspector Banerjee uses these against the suspects in a case that could impact their entire lives.
Amol Kaushik, the gay man is perhaps the most mistreated among all the suspects. Banerjee insists on being called ‘BC’ by him and even threatens to put him behind bars for being ‘a gay’. “BC obviously has the power to do that, and this happens in the real world too. This is why it is scary that there are laws justifying his actions,” says Ajay Govind. Whether or not Amol committed the crime, Banerjee has already labelled him as the criminal.
The 92-minute independent film is engaging and makes some shrewd observations about just how unfair an investigation can be. It is highly recommended(Read: Three Reasons Why You Should Watch ‘After The Third Bell’) if you are tired of predictable mysteries and need a break from Bollywood thrillers.
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