Archive for the ‘Bangla 2001-2010’ Category

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PODDOKKEP highlights the loneliness faced by the elderly in our so-called modern society under transition from conservative values to newer liberal ones. The story is credited to the director Suman Ghosh (Nobel Chor, Kadambari) himself.
The film comprises of three acts: Act 1 is named SHASANKHA & MEGHA, Act 2 is TRISHA & Act 3 is titled THE FINALE.
Shasankha (Soumitro Chatterjee) is an elderly man living with his daughter Megha (Nandita Das) who works in a corporate office and an elderly spinster woman (Sabitri Chaterjee) – a relative of theirs. Soumitro has lost his wife around three years back in an accident. The lives of the protagonist delineates the conflict that exist between the new (daughter Nandita) and the old(dad Soumitro) through incidents about the kind of calendar hangings fit for walls of the living room (a rather cutesy scene this) or the Tagore fixation of Bengalis
Nandita: “Why’re Bengalis obsessed with Rabindranath Tagore? When you elevate a human being to the level of God, doesn’t it imply stagnancy of intellectualism?”
Soumitro: “He is timeless, just like Shakespeare”
Through course of interaction between the daughter and the father, we are given hints about the leftist leanings of Soumitro. When the daughter mentions of having watched a good film GOODBYE LENIN on collapse of Communism, the father questioned as to whether his daughter was mocking him.
A couple (Tota Roy Choudhury & June Malliya) has returned from America and is a neighbor of the father-daughter duo. The US returned couple has a 7 year old daughter Trisha. A strong bond develops between Soumitro and Trisha. Megha is in love with a Muslim colleague of hers, looks for opportunity and goes on a two-day visit with her paramour to Bangalore. When Soumitro makes a call to her when she was in bed with the guy, a male voice response informs the father of the relationship.
The film explores a gamut of issues – flight of professionals from the City of Joy to places like America and the Silicon Valley of India, the pangs of separation for the elderly and the challenge to adapt to liberal values in vogue, apprehension of forging alliances across religious divide. The sequence where Soumitro is shown playing with Trisha during a picnic and collapsing is reminiscent of the sequence of Marlon Brando as Don Corleone, succumbing while playing with his grandchild in THE GODFATHER.
The film has quite a few poetic shots capturing the locales of Kolkata and its neighborhood with great finesse.
Rating: 4 out of 5


DOSAR (The Companion) directed by Rituparno Ghosh was based on a story by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay. The film was shot in b & w, and the frames are hauntingly beautiful. Like his ABOHOMAN this film too dwells on the premise of illegitimate relationships – this time around of an executive (Prasenjit) who has a dalliance with his secretary Mita (Chandreye Ghosh) during weekend in some hill station. In one of their return trip, they meet with an accident in which Mita dies. The film traces the trauma and inner turmoil of the wife (Konkana Sen Sharma) to come to terms with the fact of a philandering husband who is hospitalised and need to be nursed back to good health.

The film is marred by too many illegitimate relationships making us wonder whether fidelity has become passe nowadays. Others in the cast include Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Pallavi Chaterjee and Sankar Chakraborty.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5



HOUSEFUL has autobiographical elements and depict an arty filmmaker’s difficulties to cope with changing times. The director Bappaditya Bandopadhyay peppers his film with allusion to Kieslowski (Camera Buff), Ritwik Ghatak and Raj Kapoor and has thematic similarities with Guru Dutt’s KAAGAZ KE PHOOL. While the filmmaker’s previous work have all been rejected for critical acclaim and by the box-office as well leading to bankruptcy and his wife and son moving out, the present film would be financed mortgaging his ancestral house until strangers with terms and conditions crop up to provide the moolah. The last ditch effort of the director Nikhil (Prasenjit Chattopadhyay in a splendid performance) not to compromise with his artistic temperament also lead to a failure & the concluding sequence show his willingness to remake commercial potboilers from the south for his future project to cater to the demand of the masses..a pessimistic ending in lines with Godard’s “Cinema is dead”?

The supporting cast includes Sreelekha Mitra, Rita Dutta Chakraborty, Rimjhim Gupta and others.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5


I recently saw two films, the first an English film titled 7.39 and the second the above named Bangla film FALTU. The English film was centered around an extra-marital theme where a middle aged family man (with a wife, son and daughter) falls with a younger woman while commuting to work in London in a train scheduled at 7.39 in the morning. The younger woman is soon to marry her live-in fiance. Passion runs high between the middle aged man and the younger woman gets pregnant. Who is the father of this baby? The middle aged man or the fiance? At some point in the narrative this becomes a pertinent point….


Programme Name: 7.39 – TX: n/a – Episode: n/a (No. n/a) – Picture Shows: Carl (David Morrissey), Sally (SHERIDAN SMITH) – (C) Carnival Films – Photographer: Giles Keyte

This question finds resonance in the Bengali film FALTU. The film dates back to the 1950s and centers around a group of refugees who comes and settles in a Govt. owned land near Murshidabad in West Bengal. An insane woman(Indrani Halder) comes to the village Ranighat. Needless to say the lecherous man of the village exploit and rape her on several occasions. The mad woman gives birth to a child named FALTU and dies when FALTU is just three years old. The villagers love FALTU and brings him up showering their affection on him. FALTU becomes a bus driver.

When a Govt. survey was being conducted in the viallage and the data collector asked details about the father of FALTU, no one in the village comes up with an admission of being the old man of FALTU. When investigation starts on this skeletons keep tumbling out of the closet.

FALTU is also in love with a village girl. When a Govt. order is passed to construct a bridge for which the settlers of Ranighat would have to vacate their land and go off elsewhere the village elders convene a meeting and decides to arrange a marriage for FALTU  before they leave the village forever.

All these developments lead to a tragic ending with an incestuous relationship to boot.  FALTU gets to know his ‘real father’ but don’t think a happy ending awaits you. The cast comprises Soumitro Chaterjee, Nirmal Chakraborty, Biplop Chatterjee, Debesh Debroy and others.

The film is directed by Anjan Das(Shanjbatir Rupkatara) and based on a story by Syed Mustafa Siraj.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5


Antaheen is based on a story of the director Aniruddha Roy Choudhury. It shows urban life in a metro like Kolkata where relationships develop online, love and bonding exist even though couples live separately, and where longing, greed, journalistic scoop, parties and tragedies coalesce into an integrated whole. The film has a lyrical quality about it, and veterans like Aparna Sen and Sharmila Tagore are at their ravishing best.

In the film Aparna and Kalyan Ray play a couple who live separately. Aparna is an editor in a publishing house, while Kalyan is immersed in his own cushy life in Mumbai devouring books and downing fine wine. Radhika Apte plays a TV journalist on the lookout for sensational stories. She meets the cop (Rahul Bose) in a party and a relationship develops between them. There is an online angle to their relationship as well. The character of the cop (Rahul Bose) appears a bit too poetic for a cop.

The title of the film can be attributed to the ‘endless wait’ of some of the principal characters for their desires and longings to come to fruition. Like the character of Pishima (Sharmila Tagore) of the cop who waits for the unknown phone caller with whom she started a conversational relationship with an inkling of it having the potential of becoming a full blown one. Even the relationship of Aparna and Kalyan, quite affectionate at times, doesn’t head towards reconciliation. As Rahul Bose’s character says in the film “Possibly his brother Kalyan & sister-in-law Aparna aren’t too sure of what they want from the relationship.” Moreover, towards the end with the tragedy that transpired, would Rahul now wait endlessly  for a reunion in after-life with his paramour?

The supporting cast includes Mita Vashisht, Arindam Sil and others.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5



Shilpantar is directed  by Bappaditya Bandopadhyay (‘Kaantataar’, ‘Housefull’). It follows the life of a small town village artist (Subhashis Mukhopadhyay) & his relationship with a circus artist (Debasree Roy). The film is based on a story by Shirsendu Mukhopadhyay.

The Bengali directors have been fascinated with performing artists and several films from Sandip Ray’s PHATIKCHAND to Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s BAGH BAHADUR have realistically depicted their lives. This one too is quite a commendable effort and weaves in village life in its variegated color into the narrative. The supporting cast includes Mrinal Mukherjee, Nemai Ghosh and others.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


Buddhadeb Dasgupta becomes quite pessimistic in some of his films (Tahader Katha, Bagh Bahadur, Phera, and now Janala). He seems to suggest that do-gooders have no place in our society and they have to pay a heavy price as does the protagonist (Indranil Sengupta) in the film. The situations and the developments appear a bit removed from reality. Although the wife of the protagonist (Swastika Mukherjee) works in a call centre, a modern profession she is constantly subjected to abuse and mental torture in her work.

Those who have seen Dasgupta’s earlier films this too has his signature written all over – a rural backdrop, dream sequences, performing artists and exploitation etc. The director paints a bleak picture of society where unscrupulous people have a field day. The school of the protagonist where he tries to donate a Janala (Window) is run by members who are only concerned about reaping financial dividends as does the owner of the circus which compels a couple who are trapeze artists and on the verge of becoming parents to flee from the circus. The director seems to be paying homage to the showman of Indian Cinema Raj Kapoor when his song from Mera Naam Joker played in the background during the performances of the trapeze artists.

The supporting cast includes Sankar Chakravorty, Tapas Pal, Manoj Mitra and others. This is a let down from the director who raised the bar of filmmaking with Dooratwa, Grihajuddha & Charachar.

Rating: 3 out of 5