Sniffer (Buddhadeb Dasgupta) India

Buddhadeb Dasgupta
India.  137 min.  2013

Anwar is a private detective working for a seedy agency specializing in hunting down cheating spouses and vetting potential mates for middle and upper class families. It’s his job to keep an eye on the prospective fiance(e)s and let the parents know if this is a suitably virginal match (most often it isn’t, this is 2014 after all). However, Anwar has a problem, it is the big beating heart in his chest that can’t quite seem to disconnect from his job when he’s undercover. He instinctively wants to protect true love from the harassment of arranged marriage, and it’s not good for business. As he finds himself falling deeper and deeper into cases, he ends up finding out that (surprise!) the intentions of his clients are less than noble and winds up on a journey to hunt down his own past and discover just how good a man he can be.

Director Buddhadeb Dasgupta is a multiple National Award winning Begali director with a CV going back nearly four decades, but this is the first of his films that I’ve seen. If this is the sort of work I’ve been missing, it’s definitely time to catch up. The combination of a filmmaker with such deep emotional bonds with his characters and India’s greatest character actor turned leading man in Nawazuddin Siddiqui is impossible to ignore, and the results are staggeringly heartfelt. Dasgupta treats his world with care, weaving himself in and out of his characters lives, delicately laying strands between them that will tie themselves into seemingly impossible knots that can only be undone with kindness, it is inspiring stuff.