Bengali cinema is unlucky to have lost some of its most prodigious talent before they could reach anywhere near the end of their career – Ritwik Ghatak, Rituparna Ghosh, Bappaditya Bandopadhyay, Nabyendu Chaterjee and … Anjan Das. The last named is the director of SANJHBATIR ROOPKATHARA.

This film starts on a predictable note. One was beginning to feel that it was just another ‘exploitation of women’ kind of film about the protagonist daughter Saajhbati (Indrani Halder) of a well-known painter (Soumitro Chattopadhyay). Midway through the movie, the film unfolds an unexpected development and thereafter the film becomes a powerful exploration of the perils of fame, the father-daughter relationship, love and betrayal, lust and insanity, hope and longings, setbacks and comebacks.

The performances are praiseworthy. Indrani Halder in the titular role is convincing. After Pramathesh Barua’s MUKTI in the 1930s, we have the painter as a major character in Bengali films like SWET PATHARER THALA & this one. The supporting cast includes Paran Bandopadhyay, Ketaki Dutta, Firdaus and others.

Rating: 4.1 out of 5

 

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The film SANABI (The Pony) draws us into the lives of ordinary people in a remote village in Manipur. The village is at some distance from the capital city of Imphal. The main characters are a petty cattle thief (Mangi), a divorcee woman Sakhi who works in the State Dance academy whom Mangi loves, and the family of Sakhi including her father who owns ‘Sanabi’, a pure-bred Meitei pony – a rarity nowadays in Manipur which has a rich tradition of playing polo since time immemorial, and in one sequence, Sakhi’s father claims that ‘Polo’ is Manipur’s gift to the world …

Sanabi gets stolen and this makes Sakhi’s father heart-broken – he used to love and care for the pony like his own child. Will Sanabi return to her master? Watch this beautiful film from North-East India to find out. Love, Jealously, Loyalty, Kindness, Misunderstandings intermingle in the storyline and succeed in etching the characters in grey especially of Mangi, rather than in black and white. The camerawork and editing is of International class. The film was directed by Aribam Syam Sharma, and based on a story by Binodini Devi.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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There are certain films that you enjoy watching because of its rootedness, fine performances, social commentary, lovely songs and a light-hearted treatment while addressing issues of national concern. Inter-community marriages, the urgency of providing medical care in the villages, the need to adapt to changing social values have been woven into the storyline of ANAND ASHRAM.

The brilliance of Ashok Kumar as the patriarch, the chemistry of Uttam Kumar and

Sharmila Tagore, the able support by the supporting cast like Utpal Dutt, Moushumi Chatterjee, Rakesh Roshan and a memorable role for Asit Sen as a caretaker instrumental in raising the children of the orthodox family of Ashok Kumar are the highlights of this watchable film. The film was directed by Shakti Samanta.

Rating: 3.7 out of 5

Gallery  —  Posted: November 7, 2017 in Guru Dutt, Hindi films

ABBAJAN is credited to be written and directed by Anjan Choudhury (Shatru). The story seems influenced in portions by Tagore’s KABULIWALLAH. In this film, like in the Tagore novel, the lady of the house (Sabitri Chaterjee) harbors suspicion about her daughter’s closeness with a stranger, the difference being that in this film the girl is much older compared to Minnie of KABULIWALLAH.

While Kabuliwallahs from Afghanistan were viewed with suspicion in the Tagore piece, Muslim neighbors replace Kabuliwallahs as victims of suspicion in the eyes of the lady of the house, an orthodox Hindu resenting Muslims. The titular character of ABBAJAN (Ranjit Mullick), a wealthy Muslim neighbor (with a tragic past) of a Hindu family (Dilip Roy, Sabitri Chaterjee and their son & daughter) resembles in some respects to that of KABULIWALLAH, the situation of a close bond developing with the girl with the affectionate and understanding father seem so similar. In both these works, the titular protagonists were missing their daughter and the void accounted for the bond that develops.

Overall, a significant film that emphasizes on the need to build trust between Hindus and Muslims. The supporting cast includes Subhendu Chatterjee, Sumitra Mukherjee, Abhishek Chaterjee, Pallavi Chaterjee, Chumki Choudhury and others.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

In recent years the film A WEDNESDAY has been much talked about. The subject is contemporary, and overall the director manages to weave an engaging fare. While watching the film I found it quite riveting embellished by great performances by Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah.

However, when the film ended and I pondered over it, some thoughts/question came to my mind for which I didn’t find a convincing answer. If the character of Naseeruddin Shah is representative of the common man, how come he got hold of so much explosives – RDX – which he kept inside a ‘J & K’ marked bag in a police station (as shown in the initial portion of the film). The greyness of the character of Naseeruddin ought to have been hinted at – this I felt a weakness of the film – the lack of character development of its main character. Moreover, the hacker engaged to trace the calls of the mastermind concedes towards the end that Naseer is the best (and so by implication he is unable to trace his whereabouts), then how come Anupam Kher lands up in the same building which Naseer used for his operations as shown in the end?…

Rating: 3.8 out of 5

 

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Image  —  Posted: October 24, 2017 in Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Tidbits