Archive for the ‘Bangla 2001-2010’ Category

bhalo

The film I saw yesterday was BHALO THEKO directed by Gautam Halder. BT has several layers – at one layer the film showed the exploitation and sacrifices of women for the family like Ghatak’s MEGHE DHAKA TARA. In another layer, the film depicted the torment the family undergoes when one of its member get involved in a revolutionary movement, similar to Mrinal Sen’s MAHAPRITHIBI. The impressive debut of the director is laced with a poetical treatment and emphasises the need for us to care for and live in harmony with nature. Vidya Balan plays the pivotal role and the supporting cast includes Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Joy Sengupta, Debisankar Halder, Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Anusya Mazumdar and others.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Dvd titli.jpg

This morning I watched the Rituparno Ghosh directed film TITLI. This is probably the most romantic and poetic film in the repertoire of late Rituparno Ghosh. A rudimentary analysis of RG reveals his contribution to Bangla cinema in the following – adeptly using actors like Prasenjit and Dipankar Dey (Titli, Unishe April, Abhoman, Utsav) regularly, bringing big Bollywood stars to feature in his works, focusing his lens on women and the art world (Unishe April, Asookh, The Last Lear, Abhoman, Bariwali, Titli & others) and the fine exploration of intricate human relationships that permeates every single work of his.

In TITLI, through a chance encounter, a successful actor meets his ex-flame. Her daughter is obsessed with the star-actor. Though certain situations are forced, yet the beauty of the film can’t be denied and manifest in the manner the work deals with suspicion and pain that takes over when your loved ones keep a secret from you all through your life.

In this film, the mother (Aparna Sen) never revealed to her star-struck daughter (Konkana Sen Sharma) that she knew the object of her affection (Mithun). The love of the daughter for the star dissipates gradually – firstly when he discovered that her mother didn’t reveal to her that she actually knew Rohit the star-actor (Mithun) & finally when she hears of his marriage with a German journalist.

In the final sequence, she is shown hugging her mother ending the film which also makes a passing judgement about the need to lead a conjugal life.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

 

Swapner Din Poster.jpg

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

saajh

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.

I discovered that the film was based on a story by eminent poet Joy Goswami which is why the film appears lyrical in several parts…

Rating: 4.1 out of 5

 

Image result for podokkhep bengali movie

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

 

Housefull

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