DANGAL (Hindi, 2016)

Posted: August 17, 2017 in Cinema techniques, Hindi films

On Independence day I saw the money-spinner and much feted blockbuster film of recent years – DANGAL. Based on a true story, it is basically a tale of triumph of the human spirit against all prevalent societal norms seen through the story of a stern once-upon-a-time wrestler father (Amir Khan)  who toils hard after his two daughters since their childhood to make them top-notch wrestlers – something unthinkable of in a patriarchal Hariyanvi society. Quite an inspirational tale – every countryman should know and get influenced positively…

Did I like the film? I would have to reply in the negative at this self posed query. Why? … I felt that this three hour long biographical sports film could have been far more effective as a 30-40 minutes documentary. Sustaining interest in a film for three hours can be a challenge for the viewers and unless you have made a SHOLAY (to give an Indian example) it is bound to disappoint. Even Martin Scorcese’s brilliant biographical sports film RAGING BULL with a superlative performance by Robert De Niro had a running time of two hours. In that film there were sub-texts of personal problems of the protagonist boxer with his wife and his brother woven into the narrative to make it cinematic. DANGAL goes on and on about training sessions and the brooding father’s often uncompromising persona acts as a killjoy, making the film a far from pleasurable experience.

Rating: 2.8 out of 5

 

Ray-Sen friendship

Posted: August 7, 2017 in Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray

 

Asi Te Asio Na

A neglected octogenarian (Bhanu Bandopadhyay) stumbles upon a miraculous discovery…Fed up with the ill-treatment meted out to him and his wife (Ruma Guha Thakurta) by his children, he longs for an escape from his dreary existence. Accidentally, he even finds a solution to all of his woes. He discovers a pond where on taking a dip one regains his youth. When he transforms into a handsome young man, many were forced to accept the miracle as real. Quite predictably, all hell breaks loose …

From a chemist keen to investigate the composition of the water in the pond, senior officers in the Govt. keen to cash on its benefits, the change in the behavior of the children and their wives towards the man, sundry characters trying to make the most of the situation – everything adds up to make this an absolutely laugh riot.

Bhanu Bandopadhyay and Robi Ghosh deliver sterling performances. The supporting cast which includes Ruma Guha Thakurta, Kamal Mitra, Renuka, Asit Baran, Tarun Kumar, Shyam Laha and others perform creditably.

Does Bhanu forever remain young? Could such a miracle really have taken place? Watch the film to know the answers …one of the most hilarious Bengali films ever IMHO.

DSCN0751

Image  —  Posted: August 4, 2017 in Hindi films, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Humour

indian_cinema_1977-78

Veteran actor Soumitro Chattopadhyay was recently conferred with France’s highest honor, Légion d’Honneur…

I remember an incident which occurred a few years back (maybe six/seven). I was travelling to Kolkata from New Delhi in a Jet Airways flight. Soumitro C (SC) aka Apu aka Feluda was in the same flight. I had sighted him at Delhi airport itself. It seemed like he was returning from a shooting schedule because I saw fellow actors of Bengali cinema, of whom I could recognize Biswajit Chakraborty, with him. I was amazed at the non-starry way SC carried himself. Very few people in fact recognized him, or showed an interest to click a picture with him. In comparison, see how recognizable mediocre Bollywood actors are in our society. I didn’t possess a smart phone in those days, hence there was no point requesting SC for a snap …

Out of his numerous memorable performances, I pick five of my favourites:

  1. GANASHATRU

image002

 

I really loved his work in this film by Satyajit Ray based on an Ibsen play ‘Enemy of the people.’  As a conscientious doctor in a small town who discovers contamination in a water source coming out of a crowd flocking temple and his discovery creating a furor leading to attack on him and his family by unscrupulous members of the temple trust and the town municipality which included his sibling brother, the seasoned actor was simply a delight to watch.

 

  1. DEKHA

 

image004

 

 

Directed by Gautam Ghose, it featured SC in the role of a Milton like blind poet. The subtlety of the performance matching gait akin a blind man, the nuances that brought out the essence of the complexity of the character of the amorous poet living in changing times showcased his brilliance at his craft.

 

  1. AKASH KUSUM

 

image005

SC has done comedy in several films but this Mrinal Sen directed film is one of his best. Longing can drive a man to desperation – SC epitomized his portrayal of such a character to perfection. Some of the conversations with his love interest Aparna Sen were simply hilarious …This role was enacted by Amitabh Bachchan in the Hindi version MANZIL directed by Basu Chatterjee.

  1. WHEEL CHAIR

image006

 

The central protagonist is an America returned wheel-chair ridden doctor (SC) who runs a medical care facility for destitute and poor of the society, and tries to help a rape victim.

 

  1. PARINEETA

 image007

I really find this a heart-warming romantic film. The coy-and-quiet romance between Shekar (Soumitro Chaterjee) and Lolita (Moushumi Chaterjee) in the film reaches a level rarely reached in the Bengali and Indian cinemas.

The Ajay Kar directed film was based on a story by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.

 

Image result for shahar theke dure

There is a distinguishing feature in Tarun Mazumdar  films. Most  of his films revolve around village life. However, his films eschew the harshness depicted in the films of Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray, Gautam Ghose and Ritwik Ghatak when they make films that has the village as the setting.

The TM film SHAHER THEKE DUREY bears resemblance to his film PHULESHWARI. In PHULESHWARI a young man (Samit Bhanja) joins the Railway and gets a posting in the village. SHAHER THEKE DURE has a young doctor (Samit Bhanja) who comes to work in a village. In both the films, the young man falls in love with a village belle (Sandhya Roy in both films). There are many supporting characters in these films, high voltage drama interspersed with melodious songs. Actors like Bhanu Bandopadhyay, Anup Kumar & Robi Ghosh lend able support to make the film entertaining.

Rating: 3.6 out of 5