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?

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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

 

On a repeat viewing of MAHANAGAR, I felt that the strong message that Ray wanted to convey through the character of the protagonist Arati Mazumdar (  Madhabi Mukherjee) – her resignation from the job (as a protest against injustice towards a colleague) that was the sole bread winner for the large family is completely lost in our society. All of us who are salaried and work for a living are witness to gross injustices in our workplaces. Do we ever think about the need to leave the present employment and search for the ‘job where things are fair’? We all know that such jobs doesn’t exist in our country and we tend to compromise to adapt to prevailing norms and trends…even Ray was aware of the changing times as his last works – GANASHATRU & SHAKHA PROSAKHA spoke a great deal about decay and vice …

Image result for je jon thake majhkhane

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