Archive for the ‘Bengali films’ Category

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 …

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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

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It seems Bengali cinema is poised for good times with a number of filmmakers exploring fresh subjects and themes. MACHER JHOL directed by Pratim D Gupta falls in this category.

The film tries an attempt –to- return- to-roots of a successful chef (Ritwik Chakraborty) in France to Kolkata when his mother is seriously ill and hospitalized. The film has sufficient human drama and relationship subtext (father-son differences, left behind wife in Kolkata) to engage the viewer’s interests. Some aspects seem cliché though (the birth of a son kept as a secret)… the protagonist is flawed too. He accuses his father of being selfish, while he himself deserted his wife and went abroad and never bothered to ask about her during his telephonic talk back home with his mother.

I particularly think that the ending was unconventional where the chef returns to his French girlfriend when the viewers were probably developing a sense that the protagonist would stay back with his wife and son …besides Ritwik, the film features Mamata Shankar as the mother, Sumanta Mukherjee as the father, Paoli Dam as the wife in Kolkata and others…

Rating: 3.5 out of 5



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It is heartening to find the new breed of promising filmmakers from Bengal breaking out of the Mrinal-Satyajit-Ritwik mould of intense filmmaking and tackle subjects that are fresh and unchartered. Srijit Mukherjee, Anjan Dutt, Aniruddha Rai Choudhuri & Kamleshwar Mukherjee are exploring themes on a broader canvas beyond conventional settings, though admittedly, have to show greater mastery at their craft to reach anywhere near the level of the masters of Bengali cinema.

COCKPIT directed by Kamleshwar Mukherjee featuring Dev as a born pilot encountering turbulent weather on one such occasion which progresses towards a near-death experience for the passengers before a gallant effort by the Captain Pilot saves the day and the aircraft from crashing. Though the film has commercial elements in terms of songs and romantic angles, this work inspired by real life incidents is quite watchable.

The director certainly deserves an applause for making a film (possibly the  first in Indian cinema) on on life-threatening turbulence encounter on the skies by an aircraft with onboard passengers. Don’t expect a SULLY but certainly worth a dekko.

The supporting cast includes Prasenjit, Koel Mullick, Rukmini Moitra, Paran Bandopadhyay and others.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Among the top Bengali directors Tapan Sinha is an exception when it came to making films on travel and discovery, adventure and suspense. We have seen TS handling the genre again and again in films like ATITHI, NIRJAN SAIKATE, SAFED HAATHI, BAIDURJER RAHASYA, ANTARDHAAN, ATANKA and this one among others …

SABUJ DEEPER RAJA was a film based on the famous sleuth ‘Kakababu’ penned by Sunil Gangopadhyay. The central role of Kakababu was played by Samit Bhanja quite convincingly. The beauty of the Andaman and Nicobar islands was wonderfully captured by the lens of the Cameraman in this film.

The storyline I felt was a big letdown with fantastical elements of a miraculous optical power source among the tribal, crooks in pursuit of it, disappearing foreigners and a forgotten freedom fighter Talukdar resembling Aurobindo Ghosh. The supporting cast includes Biplab Chaterjee, Ramen Rai Chaudhuri, Kalyan Chaterjee and others.

Rating: 2.8 out of 5


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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