एक दिन अचानक
Ek din achanak ("Suddenly one day"), by acclaimed art-house director Mrinal Sen is a contemplative psychological study that spends a troubled year with a family unmoored by the mysterious disappearance of its patriarch.
One evening, in the midst of torrential rains, a professor (Shreeram Lagoo) goes out for a walk and fails to return. As the evening stretches into days and the days into weeks with no sign of him, the member of his family struggle both to regain their footing and to understand what might have caused him to leave. Slowly they return to their quotidian activities. The professor's son Amit (Arjun Chakraborty) establishes his fledgling business; his younger daughter Sima (Roopa Ganguly) resumes her studies at college; and his elder daughter, Neeta (Shabana Azmi), the backbone of the family, returns to her office job.
Behind the facade of normalcy, though, the family is deeply wounded. Amit enjoys success in his business but is bitter and dour. Neeta has a very patient and supportive boyfriend (Anjan Dutt) but the relationship is stuck in a holding pattern. And their mother (Uttara Baokar) suffers debilitating depression. Their hesitant attempts to piece together the Professor's state of mind before his disappearance raise more questions than they answer: Was he having an affair with a former student (Aparna Sen)? Was his academic career crumbling? Was he a plagiarist?
Ek din achanak is quiet and slowly paced, yet compelling. In flashbacks to episodes prior to the professor's disappearance we are shown that the family's interactions used to have a passion - whether laughing, quarreling, scolding - that seems snuffed by the mystery. After the professor vanishes they are most likely to be found sitting together quietly and morosely.
The film’s conclusion may be unsatisfying to those accustomed to having all lose ends tied up neatly, but each member of the family does undergo an evolution of sorts, as slowly they encounter the doubts they have been harboring in their hearts, doubts about the Professor and about the nature of their relationships with him and with one another.