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This film explores interesting issues like loyalty in relationships, dedication towards duty vs. family, the differences of outlook in class divide (rich-poor), pangs of loneliness and its consequences, the complexities of choices one has to make in life. One could detect shades of Ajay Kar’s SAAT PAKE BADHA but the originality of the film is certainly unmistakable. I liked the way the film ended when one was expecting that all would be settled towards the end. The main cast includes Sabyasachi Chakraborty as the protagonist doctor, Debasree Roy as an ex-painter cum housewife, Chitra Sen and others.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Supriya Choudhury

Posted: January 26, 2018 in Supriya Choudhury

Saddened by the news of the demise of Supriya Choudhury this morning… She was one of those rare beauties to have ever graced the Bengali screen. Of her performances, probably MEGHE DHAKA TARA was her best. I also liked her in KOMAL GANDHAR as a theatre artiste caught between two men, and the climatic sequence in the film with the chant ‘Dohai Ali, dohai ali..’ in the background where she walks up the stairs towards her ‘chosen one’ remains embedded in memory. Her pairing with Uttam Kumar resulted in several hits but I can’t recall these movies now. Her role of the call girl in CHOWRINGHEE parallels her character Nita in MEGHE DHAKA TARA.

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The last film that I remember of hers – ATHIYASAJAN by Raja Sen, which dealt with the subject of euthanasia, and had the veteran actor Soumitro Chatterjee playing her husband, which captured effectively the plight of the elderly and the older generation, to cope with shifting societal standards… My Ma told me today that in an interview of hers, she mentioned that she outlived her eleven siblings and joked that ‘Jomer dut o amar khetre phire chole jai’ (Yama returns without me every single time). Well, today he didn’t…RIP Benudi..

 

 

 

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It seems Bengali cinema is poised for good times with a number of filmmakers exploring fresh subjects and themes. MACHER JHOL directed by Pratim D Gupta falls in this category.

The film tries an attempt –to- return- to-roots of a successful chef (Ritwik Chakraborty) in France to Kolkata when his mother is seriously ill and hospitalized. The film has sufficient human drama and relationship subtext (father-son differences, left behind wife in Kolkata) to engage the viewer’s interests. Some aspects seem cliché though (the birth of a son kept as a secret)… the protagonist is flawed too. He accuses his father of being selfish, while he himself deserted his wife and went abroad and never bothered to ask about her during his telephonic talk back home with his mother.

I particularly think that the ending was unconventional where the chef returns to his French girlfriend when the viewers were probably developing a sense that the protagonist would stay back with his wife and son …besides Ritwik, the film features Mamata Shankar as the mother, Sumanta Mukherjee as the father, Paoli Dam as the wife in Kolkata and others…

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

 

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It is heartening to find the new breed of promising filmmakers from Bengal breaking out of the Mrinal-Satyajit-Ritwik mould of intense filmmaking and tackle subjects that are fresh and unchartered. Srijit Mukherjee, Anjan Dutt, Aniruddha Rai Choudhuri & Kamleshwar Mukherjee are exploring themes on a broader canvas beyond conventional settings, though admittedly, have to show greater mastery at their craft to reach anywhere near the level of the masters of Bengali cinema.

COCKPIT directed by Kamleshwar Mukherjee featuring Dev as a born pilot encountering turbulent weather on one such occasion which progresses towards a near-death experience for the passengers before a gallant effort by the Captain Pilot saves the day and the aircraft from crashing. Though the film has commercial elements in terms of songs and romantic angles, this work inspired by real life incidents is quite watchable.

The director certainly deserves an applause for making a film (possibly the  first in Indian cinema) on on life-threatening turbulence encounter on the skies by an aircraft with onboard passengers. Don’t expect a SULLY but certainly worth a dekko.

The supporting cast includes Prasenjit, Koel Mullick, Rukmini Moitra, Paran Bandopadhyay and others.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Gallery  —  Posted: January 13, 2018 in Mamata Shankar, Mithun Chakraborty, Mrinal Sen

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Among the top Bengali directors Tapan Sinha is an exception when it came to making films on travel and discovery, adventure and suspense. We have seen TS handling the genre again and again in films like ATITHI, NIRJAN SAIKATE, SAFED HAATHI, BAIDURJER RAHASYA, ANTARDHAAN, ATANKA and this one among others …

SABUJ DEEPER RAJA was a film based on the famous sleuth ‘Kakababu’ penned by Sunil Gangopadhyay. The central role of Kakababu was played by Samit Bhanja quite convincingly. The beauty of the Andaman and Nicobar islands was wonderfully captured by the lens of the Cameraman in this film.

The storyline I felt was a big letdown with fantastical elements of a miraculous optical power source among the tribal, crooks in pursuit of it, disappearing foreigners and a forgotten freedom fighter Talukdar resembling Aurobindo Ghosh. The supporting cast includes Biplab Chaterjee, Ramen Rai Chaudhuri, Kalyan Chaterjee and others.

Rating: 2.8 out of 5

 

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I read a criticism of an eminent film critic about Buddhadeb Dasgupta becoming ‘very personal’ in his later films which lack the social  commitment and depth he showed in his early films (Dooratwa, Grihajuddha, Bagh Bahadur and others). SWAPNER DIN would fall in the second phase of his films and no different from the personal kind of films (LAL DARJA & others) he has been making in recent times …

I was trying to dissect SWAPNER DIN and its inner message. The film is basically about a Govt. employee (Prasenjit) and his driver friend (Rajesh Sharma) who tours the villages to promote Govt. schemes (like educating the rural folks about the use of condoms). In carrying out the mission, the Projector and even the Govt. Car gets stolen. A number of characters make brief appearances to fuse themselves into the abstract storyline of the director…

While trying to unravel the hidden message, I think that BD is telling us that in spite of the fact that all dreams are crumbling (the uneasy relationship the protagonist Prasenjit has with his father and his mother living with another man, the quibbling land-lady where Prasenjit lived as a tenant for seven years, thieves robbers terrorists and exploiters abound everywhere…) we must never stop dreaming …this is validated in the concluding sequence of the film wherein the beautiful actress/village belle (Raima Sen) leads our protagonist towards dreamland…

The supporting cast includes Reema Sen, Haradhan Bannerjee and others …

Rating: 2.8 out of 5