Movies on father-son relationship bring out facets of life in various hues. Some notable works like Wender’s Paris Texas, Ray’s Apur Sansar or Anjan Dutt’s Dutta vs. Dutta comes to mind that had this relationship at the centrality in the narrative. Atanu Ghosh’s National award-winning film Mayurrakshi (2017) is a welcome addition to the list …

Mayurakshi: A must watch for all gen

In this film the father (Soumitro Chattopadhyay) plays a widower and a retired Professor of History (an erudite person possessing knowledge in music and many subjects) suffering from old age problems and dimentia. A caretaker (Sudipta Chakraborty) looks after him. The son (Prasenjit Chattopadhyay) arrives from Chicago to see his ailing dad … dad has suffered memory loss and longs to meet Mayurrakshi, his student and the girl/woman the son had spurned in marriage when the alliance was suggested by the father … the film explores dimensions of love and loneliness, the plight of the ambitious younger generation living in a separate country having ailing parents back home and the connect/disconnect that exist between them… the sombre mood of the  film incorporates exquisite imagery and fine story-telling to make this film a memorable work.

The acting of the two lead performers is top notch. Indrani Halder does a cameo …the film is directed by Atanu Ghosh (Angsumaner Chobi, Abby Sen). The film was adjudged the Best Bengali film at the National awards this year.

Rating: 4.2 out of 5  

 

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Owing to his birthday being near, I tried reflecting on the films of Ray that have a contemporary ring, two and a half decades after his death. His APU Trilogy and his Tagore and Tarashankar novellas (Charulata, Ghare Baire, Jalsagar) are set in eras immediately preceding or following Independence – almost seven decades.

Among his works, his attack on religious superstitions (Devi, Mahapurush, Ganashatru) still resonate quite strongly. In SHAKHA O PRASAKHA he emphasised how corruption among the educated class was a catalyst in further rotting the system.

These apart, the film that I find has the greatest relevance in contemporary India is HIRAK RAJAR DESHE. I find tremendous similarity of our political leaders with Hirak Raja. Being in the academic profession, I have an affinity for the teacher (Soumitro Chatterjee) in the film who was forced to mouth (Janar kono sesh nai, janar chesta britha tai…Hirak er raja bhagwan … there is no end to knowledge, so its futile to acquire … King Hirak is God). In the film the miraculous powers of Goopy and Bagha helped in ending the tyranical rule of the despot king. Should we be optimistic that Hirak Rajas of our society would meet their nemesis and suffer humiliations for their misdeeds? Time will unfold, but it’s good to be optimistic …

 

 

A neglected genius

Posted: April 19, 2018 in Mrinal Sen

In my School and College days, I was an ardent fan of Amitabh Bachchan. Scarcely would I miss any of his starrers, and not content with a single viewing, usually I ended up watching a Bachchan starrer a number of times. Around that time, quite naturally, I had an apathy towards the “other Cinema.” The “art cinema”, I found, was very slow paced, mostly shot in dark making the characters invisible, based on themes of poverty, hunger and famine and the treatment very confusing.

After College, I went to the University. My love affair with Bachchan continued. One day, quite by chance, I saw the film “CALCUTTA 71.” The experience was a mind-blowing one. This Bengali film, directed by Mrinal Sen, was a highly intense feature based on four short stories by eminent Bengali writers like Manik Bandopadhyay, Samaresh Basu and others, against the backdrop of turbulent times of those days and the Naxalite movement. It was my initiation into the world of Mrinal Sen, Gautam Ghosh, Bhaben Saikia, Arinbam Shyam Sharma and other realistic ‘Indian Filmmakers.’ I developed an interest in their work and whenever I got an opportunity to see more of their works, I availed it.

I found that Mrinal Sen, with a career spanning five decades, had an impressive filmography of highly intense and masterly original works, arguably the finest specimen of Indian films ever made. I felt both disturbed and enlightened by watching his works like ‘Baisey Shravan’,’Bhuvan Shome’, ‘Padatik’, ‘Kharij’, ‘Ek Din Pratidin’, ‘Akaler Sandhane’,’Mrigaya’, ‘Khandahar’ and many more. His films have, quite naturally, been honored at the most prestigious International Film Festivals like Berlin, Cannes, Venice and others. His films have evoked a keen interest in all major film-making Countries.

Unfortunately, in his own country, he is one of the lesser known personalities, and hardly any of his masterpieces have been released on a big scale, or enjoyed a good run at the Theatres. In retrospect, even the Indian Govt. seems to be neglecting this genius who celebrated his ninetieth birthday recently. National Honors like Padma Vibhusan and a Bharat Ratna seem to be eluding, whereas personalities of lesser depths are being honored by the Govt. When will our National Committees honor such gifted people, whose numbers are dwindling with every passing day?

Gautam Ghose

Posted: April 2, 2018 in Gautam Ghose

 

Interview of GG in Hindustan Times, 1st April 2018

TOKYO CANCELLED

Posted: March 31, 2018 in Books, Kaushik Ganguly

I am currently reading the book TOKYO CANCELLED by Rana Dasgupta. This is his debut novel and from the comments on the cover of the book I discovered that the book has been praised widely, while RD have been likened to a Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jonathan Safran Foer, masters who can hold the real and the surreal in satisfying equilibrium. This is quite an extra-ordinary feat achieved by such a young writer…

While reading the book two films that I have viewed over the years came to my mind. The first is the Bengali film KHAAD (D:- Kaushik Ganguly) where a group of stranded passengers recount tales from their lives, something that is also central to the narrative of TOKYO CANCELLED. The second is the Christopher Nolan film INCEPTION where there is interplay of dreams and reality and how mind reading can be put to work and profit, something that also appears in the RD book; especially in the second story THE MEMORY EDITOR…Watch this space for more as I progress with this book J

 

MA BHOOMI

Image  —  Posted: March 24, 2018 in Gautam Ghose, Regional

BADSAHIE ANGTI is a fairly engaging thriller directed by Sandip Ray. A mystery thriller in the Feluda series created by Satyajit Ray, this story is based on a plot involving a ‘royalty ring’ weaving in historical fiction, murder, pilferage and threats against the backdrop of royal Lucknow. It is interesting to observe how several competent actors have donned the mantle of the detective through the years – Soumitro Chattopadhyay, Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Abir Chattopadhyay (who plays Feluda in this film).

This is an early Feluda story and so ‘Jatayu’ aka Lal Mohan Ganguly is yet to arrive on the scene. The rest of the cast contributes to making the film a watchable fare – Dipankar De, Biswajit Chakraborty, Paran Bandopadhyay, Bharat Kaul, Rajatava Dutta and others.

An observation I made from the Feluda films I have watched is that women hardly figures in the scheme of things whereas in the other films of Satyajit Ray they have strong roles.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5