Yeah! What she said!
I need to just get over feeling sheepish and stupid when I don't like a serious flim that most people seem to think is wonderful and important and finely crafted.* But I didn't like this movie at all, and I happily admit this is probably because I did not remotely understand it (nothing to do with subtitles - lots of voice-over narration that I couldn't follow). Very pretty to look at, though, with heaps of visual deatails showing the influences and pulls of the various cultures and traditions in nineteenth-century Calcutta. Anyway, Filmi Geek, who was my viewing companion, has nailed the movie's problems very well; she and I had a chat going while we watched the movie and both kept typing "WTF" and "Pause! I need to go back!"**
* There's probably a discussion to be had here about terms like serious and art film and Bollywood, but I tend not to be interested in those discussions, even though I use the terms and thrived in my four years of graduate school. I've noticed that I don't feel at all guilty about disliking a Govinda movie, or something like Hungama that everyone else likes, and can easily come up with reasons why the movie doesn't work for me, but that I don't have that confidence with movies like Chokher Bali. Hmmm.
** There is talk among some of the Deutsch-wallahs about doing a global simultaneous watching of something while having a mega-chat session running so everyone can share comments. Having done this before on a more intimate scale and really enjoyed it, I think this idea is superwow. Watching movies together is so much more fun than not.