Archive for the ‘Bangla 1990-2000’ Category

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UTTARON (Broken Journey) is a film based on a story and screenplay by Satyajit Ray, and directed by his son Sandip Ray. The film follows a Calcutta based doctor (Soumitro Chattopadhyay) who is successful treating the well-heeled of society. His teenage daughter is shown leading a reckless life giving rise to suspicion of being a drug addict.

The doc embarks on a journey to Jamshedpur to deliver a talk on ADVANCES OF MEDICAL SCIENCES IN LAST TWO DECADES in a Conference. En route his car breaks down in a remote area & he sees a man lying unconsciously in the field. The doc tries to lend a helping hand. What follows is a discovery of reality about lack of health-care facilities (dependence on witch doctor) and abysmal condition (lack of electricity) in the village. This leads to an awakening in the doctor & the realization of the futility & elitism of conferences when basic health care facilities elude the majority of the population.

The supporting cast includes Subalakshmi Munshi, Sadhu Meher, Subhendu Chatterjee, Lily Chakraborty and others.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5

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Interestingly, late Rituparno Ghosh’s first film HIRER ANGTI (1992) bears a strikingresemblance to Satyajit Ray’s last film AGUNTUK (1991). HIRER ANGTI was based on a story by Shirsendu Mukhopadhyay, while AGUNTUK was based on a story by the director himself.

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In both the films a stranger arrives in the midst of a family causing disquiet turning their lives upside down. There is a booty to be recovered by the stranger who is a widely travelled soul endowed with a flair for the language. While the Ray film expounded on world issues and tribal heritage, RG’s film is intrigue driven complete with dacoits and fake actors.

The question begging to be asked: “Was HIRER ANGTI a tribute to Ray?”… I didn’t catch the segment when the credits rolled and am not sure about HIRER ANGTI actually being an ode to Ray & his AGUNTUK..If it isn’t, as it could be because the writers are different, the similarities are not all that easy to ignore…

The cast included Vasant Choudhury, Jnanesh Mukherjee, Moonmoon Sen, Pradip Mukherjee, Sumanta Mukherjee and others.

Rating: 3.7 out of 5

UNISHE APRIL marked the arrival of Rituparno Ghosh as a major filmmaker. Though it was his second film, it catapulted him into prominence winning quite a few National Awards in its wake. The strong point of UA is its performances – Aparna Sen and Debasree Roy act superbly in this mother-daughter tale of a missing bond between them. The film is inspired by Bergman’s AUTUMN SONATA.

The weakness of the film lies in part on the script – it is a bit strange to hear that when Aditi (Debasree Roy) is in deep love with a Delhi based boy (Prasenjit) and their relationship was on for quite some time yet the fact that Aditi’s mother is a Nationally renowned dancer is unknown to her paramour. The harping on suicide as a release from inner turmoil and the outside storm sequence during the night symbolising the inner turmoil of Aditi appear rather cliched (even Satyajit Ray did this in CHARULATA towards the climax) . The supporting cast includes Dipankar Dey, Boddiswata Mazumdar and others.

The story and screenplay of the film is credited to Rituparno Ghosh.

Rating: 3.9 out of 5

The 1991 Mrinal Sen film MAHA PRITHIBI bears resemblance to some of the later films of Ray like GANASHATRU, SHAKHA PROSAKHA & AGUNTUK. In these films the two master filmmakers are seen reflecting on the winds of change sweeping contemporary society. These have been shot mostly indoors and verbosity dominates unlike their other works.
MAHA PRITHIBI shows the maturation and brilliance of a filmmaker in telling an incidental story weaving in the external forces (World Outside) into the drawing room of a middle class Bengali family (World Within).The usual Mrinalian signature style is all there – oscillatory/flashback mode, the probing of human relationships, use of newsreel and such devices, politics and violence.
Some of the sequences also seem a continuation of scenes that we have seen in the past. The scene where Soumitro gives money to his naxalite son in this film before he begins his journey as a fugitive is reminscent of the last sequence of PADATIK where the ‘differing’ father extends solidarity to his son (Dhritiman Chatterjee).
Sen conveys a lot visually in this film in comparison to his other works. Whether it is the sequence of the foreign returned son (Victor Bannerjee) inspecting the room of his dead mother, the fan in which his mother ended her life, or the unfilling of liquor on a potted plant the scenes are quite poignant in its communication of feelings.

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In assessing the tumult of the times where violence is an integral part of our lives, nowhere Sen seems to be judgemental but in the sequence of the boy Tinni playing with his gun cutting into a preceding newsreel report on violence Sen seems to be hinting that seed of violence and gun culture are imbibed in children since an early age. And there is no escape from it.
Rating: 4.2 out of 5

MAHAPRITHIBI opens with a suicide committed by an elderly lady of a family (Gita Sen). Gradually, the unfolding of the reasons as to why she has committed suicide is divulged to us.

Gita Sen had three sons and a daughter, her eldest son got involved in the Naxalite movement and was gunned down by the Police. The death of her son greatly affected Gita Sen. Her daughter-in-law (Aparna Sen), from the marriage of her eldest son , becomes a widow. Before her marriage,Aparna Sen was in a relationship with her husband’s younger brother (Victor Bannerji). Soon after the death of his elder brother, Victor Bannerji leaves for Germany and finds a job for himself in that country.

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Victor Bannerji went abroad because his past flame Aparna Sen now lived in their house. This might have hurt Gita Sen, who possibly longed to be close to her other two sons, after her eldest son was killed brutally.The third child of Gita Sen was Anjan Dutta,and Anusya Mazumdar enacted the role of her daughter,with shades of insanity.The third son,Anjan Dutta,was also jobless and this further affected Gita Sen,who was concerned that her youngest son was unable to support himself. Soumitra Chaterji enacts the role of the husband and the patriarch with finesse.

Victor Bannerji encounters difficult times in Germany,with racial attacks,joblessness on the rise in Germany after the fall of the Berlin wall. As in PADATIK, Mrinal Sen uses a lot of newspaper clippings to drive home the point to the viewers that unrest is sweeping Germany.But in his correspondences with his mother,Victor Bannerji gave no inkling of the fact that he is facing hard times in a foreign land. After getting the news that his mother had committed suicide,Victor Bannerji returns home. It is a homecoming for this son with the mother who pined for him now gone forever.

Victor Bannerji is welcomed by his family members,and together they try to wipe out their sorrow and finding solace in each other’s company.

Sen’s  MAHAPRITHIBI was on global changing social order.Based on the script by Anjan Dutta,it probed changing social values in those troubled times. Soumitro Chaterji,Gita De,Anjan Dutta,Aparna Sen,Anusya Mazumdar & Victor Banerji comprised the cast.Through this tale of a mother who commits suicide, Mrinal Sen in this film reveals his penchant for exploring fissures in human relationship(as in EK DIN ACHANAK) between individuals bonded by a close tie.The fall of the Berlin wall was knitted into the story. With the fall of communism across the world, Sen in one of his interviews said that he once took pride to call himself a private Marxist, but now he doesn’t have the same courage to call himself the same.

Rating: 3.7 out of 5

Atmiyo Swajan (1998) - Bengali Movie Watch Online

ATMIYOSWAJAN marks a high in the career of director Raja Sen. The film deals with the inability of idealistic parents (Soumitro Chattopadhyay & Supriya Choudhury) to cope with shifting values of the next generation seen through the unfolding of events in the lives of their children. Except for the idealistic eldest son (Dipankar Dey) the other two sons (youngest played by Sabyasachi Chakraborty) & two daughters (Rituparna Sengupta and Shakuntala Barua) with their spouses (Chaiti Ghoshal, Tapas Pal) have been the elderly duo’s (parents) reason to worry about.
The various chain of events build up the angst to such a level that they contemplate undergoing ‘Euthanesia’ (Soumitro tells his friend that in 1983 the well-known writer Arthur Koestler underwent Euthanesia ) and thereafter suicide by consuming an overdose of sleeping pills.
The director (or is it the writer?) opines that women are better at handling stress in the face of crisis, and barring a tragedy the film ends on a positive note ….
Like Ray’s SHAKHA PROSAKHA the film focuses on corruption and an all round decay. The strong cast delivers terrific performances. Especially Sabyasachi Chakraborty as the hard-drinking son (Ami kono din bhabi ni je ei bhabe tomar ghar e dukhbo – he tells his father upon entering his room in an inebriated state) is brilliant.
Rating: 3.9 out of 5

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SWET PATHARER THALA (SPT) is based on a story by Bani Basu and directed by Prabhat Ray. The film centers around a widow (Aparna Sen) and the hardship she faces in an orthodox Hindu family. She becomes an object of derision when she wears non-white saree (to please her small child used to seeing his Mother in colorful saris) both at home and when she goes out to work. In some sequences when the family members of her deceased husband (Sabyasachi Chakraborty) exploit the widow, one is reminded of Ghatak’s MEGHE DHAKA TARA. The supporting cast includes Indrani Halder, Dilip Roy, Deepenkar Dey, Bhaskar Bannerjee, Haradhan Bannerjee, Shakuntala Barua, Lily Chakraborty and others. This is the debut film of Rituparno Sengupta.

The painter as a protagonist has found favour in several Bengali films, from Pramathesh Barua’s MUKTI in the 1930s, to Anjan Das’s SHAJBATIR ROOPKATHARA to Prabhat Roy’s SPT.

Rating: 3.3 out of 5