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Portrait is a Bengali independent short film directed by Mayurakshi Sen, who also a wrote the screenplay. The film is an adaptation of the novel Five Little Pigs and was first released on 17 Aug 2018. The film is in Bengali with English subtitles.

Synopsis[]

Comparison with Original Novel[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

  • The number of characters is reduced from the original. The two Blakes are combined into one character. The governess Cecilia Williams is not paralleled. Part of her role is taken by the Blake parallel. The Angela Warren parallel also takes on the role of Carla Lemarchant in that she employs a detective to clear her sister. In effect there are only three pigs in the plot--Shantanu as the Blake(s) parallel, Bipasha as the Angela Warren parallel and Ramyani as Elsa Greer.
  • Preliminaries such as interviews with lawyers and police are omitted. Most of the action takes place in a sitting room with Parcheto, the Poirot parallel interviewing the three "pigs". There are flashbacks depicting events in the past. After the interviews, Pracheto goes into the denouement there and then.
  • In this adaptation, the case is seven years old rather than sixteen.
  • The murder victim is Aveek, and he had invited Ramyani, Bipasha and Shantanu to his house for his birthday. Like in the original, he is also painting a portrait of Ramyani.
  • Like in the original, Ramyani annouces to all that Aveek is going to divorce Manini to marry her. Manini asks Aveek about this and he remains silent. This is similar to the original.
  • There is also a quarrel between Bipasha and Aveek. This is however not about Aveek wanting to send Bipasha to school. Bipasha here is slightly older than Angela Warren. Aveek wants to send her back to her hostel. She is angry with him on her sister's behalf because of his affair. Here she flings an ash-tray at him (equivalent to the paperweight in the original). This event gives Bipasha a plausible motive for Aveek's death.
  • Like in the original, a pivotal moment is the quarrel between Aveek and Manini that is overheard by Ramyani and Shantanu. The content of the quarrel and what is reported by the two witnesses is fairly similar to the original.
  • The events on the day of the murder are also fairly similar but made a bit more explicit. To start with, Shantanu is talking to Aveek and is there when Ramyani offers Aveek a mug of beer. Shantanu hears Aveek say that it tastes foul.
  • Separately Manini catches Bipasha trying to tamper with a beer bottle. Bipasha later explains to the detective that she was angry with Aveek and wanted to play a prank on him by putting laxative in his beer. Manini stops her.
  • Later, Manini comes out of the kitchen with bottles of beer to serve to the various guests in the living room. At this time, Ramyani had left the terrace when Aveek was painting to join the others. Manini asks Ramyani if she wants to take one up to Aveek but Ramyani tells Manini to do it herself. In the book Caroline did bring Amyas a bottle of beer, but this was not instigated by Elsa Greer--she was already there being painted.
  • Shantanu goes up to the terrace and sees Manini emptying out the beer bottle and wiping off the fingerprints. In the original, this scene was witnessed by Cecilia Williams. Like Williams, Shantanu thinks this confirms Manini's guilt, and also like her, he does not bring it up during the trial.
  • In his denouement, Pracheto first concludes that Manini is not guilty on the basis of what Shantanu said. This was because the investigation had proven that there was no poison in the bottle, only in the mug (in this case it is rat poison, not coniine), yet she did not know that and was concerned with wiping fingerprints only from the bottle. He states that Manini was trying to protect Bipasha because she had caught her tampering with the beer and feared that she had put some poison into it. Like in the original Manini later wrote a letter saying that she has fixed everything. Here however there is no mention that everything will be all right and that one had to pay one's debts. Because there is no Carla Lemarchant, this letter also contains elements in the letter to Carla, namely that she is innocent.
  • Bipasha is cleared because there was no poison in the bottle.
  • Shantanu is next to be considered as a suspect. He has a plausible motive because he is also attracted to Ramyani. Under questioning he confesses that he tried to approach Ramyani after Aveek's death, but Ramyani refused him.
  • Finally Pracheto asserts that Aveek's true killer is Ramyani. She had overhead more of the quarrel than she previously revealed. Aveek and Manini's quarrel ended with Aveek saying that he would send Ramyani away. Manini pitied Ramyani because he was using her. This made Ramyani angry and she began planning to kill him by putting rat poison into a mug of beer.
  • Ramyani confesses to this, and Pracheto says he has recorded it on his cellphone. He says he doesn't know whether the authorities will reopen the case but he will do what he can to bring justice for Manini. In the book, Elsa Greer does not confess, Poirot says that he will lay his conclusions before the authorities but also adds that he does not think there is sufficient evidence--he only has inferences not facts.

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