Archive for the ‘Bengali films’ Category

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In some respects PARESH by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay bears a resemblance to his story NISHKRITI. In both these stories, the elder brother a good Samaritan looks after the family business. Enters the second/middle brother — a greedy fellow wanting a division of the family property and cornering the lion’s share of it.

The titular protagonist Paresh (played by Nirmal Kumar) has grown up in the village under the tutelage of his uncle (elder brother of his father played by Pahari Sanyal). It is apparent that Paresh respects his uncle even more than his parents who try their best to steal their son from someone he really adores. The patriarch (Pahari Sanyal) has more faith in his nephew Paresh than on his own son Bimal (played by Premansu Bose). Bimal is greedy and falls into bad company. This has a ruinous effect on the family.

Misunderstanding surfaces in the relation between Paresh with his jhetu (Pahari Sanyal). To know the full story, watch this immensely moving film with brilliant performances by Pahari  Sanyal and Nirmal Kumar and ably supported by Manju Dey, Molina Devi, Sova Sen, Tulsi Chakraborty, Sabitri Chatterjee, Kamal Mitra and others.

The film was directed by Ajay Kar with music by Anupam Ghatak.

Rating: 4 out of 5




VASUNDHARA focuses on the deep level of corruption in our villages. The film unfolds the exploitation in one such village through the protagonist, a conscientious BDO (Block Development Officer played by Soumitro Chattopadhyay) who arrives there to take charge after the transfer notice of his predecessor who couldn’t continue beyond three months.

The entire village is in the grip of two corrupt persons, a Muslim landlord Haji Saheb with political ambition and his accomplice, Mr. Saha (Rajen Tarafdar). They terrorise people, inflict torture upon them and swindle govt. funds ..
The film was directed by Shekhar Chatterjee who acted in films like BHUVAN SHOME. The supporting cast includes Lily Chakraborty, Robi Ghosh, Shekhar Chatterjee, Satinath Mukhopadhyay and others.

The film won the Rajat Kamal National Award for Best Bengali film in 1983.

Rating; 3 out of 5

Recently the versatile actress Geeta Sen passed away. Besides acting in the films of her husband Mrinal Sen, she has also acted in Ghatak’s NAGARIK and Shyam Benegal’s AROHAN. Kolkata DD showed her film CHALCHITRO recently as a mark of respect.


The Mrinal Sen directed CHALCHITRO (Kaleidoscope, 1981) is a film that has not been screened in India previously as far as I know. It is a film that only a Mrinal Sen would have the courage to make. There is hardly any story so to speak, no attractive heroine features in it to make it pleasing to a viewer. But Mrinal Sen being Mrinal Sen, he has the rare ability to make the mundane the stuff of great cinematic material. Like Jean Luc Godard, MS captures life in everyday Kolkata with its vicissitudes, idiosyncrasies, humaneness and pettiness under the pretext of a storyline – the hunt of a print journalist (Anjan Dutt) for a story/scoop that is saleable. The editor of the newspaper (Utpal Dutt) likens modern life to a stock market – every aspect of it involve a kind of buying and selling.

“How many ovens are there in Kolkata?” The director also highlights environmental concern with rapid urbanization and use of unclean energy used for cooking during the late seventies. Gita Sen acts as the mother of the protagonist struggling to make ends meet for the family. The lives of several independent families all living under a common roof quibbling and sharing joys and miseries have been depicted aptly.

The film was screened at London and Venice Film festivals. Watching CHALCHITRO recently one felt sad for the demise of THE ACTRESS who brilliantly brought to life the quotidian characters in the films of Mrinal Sen, be it in CHORUS, EK DIN PRATIDIN or KHANDAHAR.

Rating: 4 out of 5


A successful middle aged businessman is endowed with a special charm that is irresistible to women. Obviously, they’re a dime a dozen in this intriguing tale of detective Shabor Dasgupta (Saswata Chattopadhyay in the role of the private eye) penned by Shirsendu Mukhopadhyay. There’s the wife Shivangi (Maya Ahson), her friend Nandita (Payel Sarkar) who gets murdered, the wife’s sister who lands down from Singapore and her servant Janvi…
There is suspense, consequences of child abuse, conflict of good and evil, of the duality arising from the distinction between the conscious and the sub-conscious …
The unfolding of the narrative is gripping. The actors perform superbly. June Mallya acts as a psychiatrist in a supporting role. The film is directed by Arindam Sil.
Rating: 3.8 out of 5

Force (2014)

Posted: December 19, 2016 in Bangla 2010-2020, Bengali films, Prasenjit


For quite some time I had given up hope on mainstream Bengali films. But films like FORCE reinforces the belief that commercial Bangla films can be meaningful, entertaining and successful in showing societal issues of concern, like it was during the heydays of Uttam Kumar and Soumitro Chattopadhyay.

Prasenjit has matured to become one of the finest actors of contemporary Indian cinema. Just watch some of his recent films like MONER MANUSH, JAATISWAR, DOSAR or this one to marvel at his histrionic range. As a tough cop saddled with a special child, Prasenjit is brilliant. He works hard as a single parent to provide his child the normal upbringing necessary to grow up in life. Through love, training and dedication the child overcomes his disabilities and does well in athletic. He eventually takes up the profession of his father. Arpita Chatterjee in the role of a teacher of the special child does a commendable job. The child also deserves kudos for a great performance.

Among the songs, a particular number by Usha Uthup was quite lively…

Rating: 3.8 out of 5  


“Kobe hobe sojol borsha
Mone rekhe chi se bhorosa ” – Lalan Fakir
(When’re we getting a wet monsoon,
One’s being optimistic about it …)

An executive (Priyanshu Chaterjee) is assigned a crucial bauxite mining project in the tribal Maoist infested area in Buxar. The adivasis (tribals) of the area resist the takeover of the land for the compensation promised in lieu of the developmental project.
Raka Biswas (Konkana Sen Sharma as a cigarette puffing journo after PAGE 3 ) is reporting on the simmering events in its wake. The ex-Air Hostess wife of Priyanshu is a modern lady capable of controlling tough situations on her own (like taking an accident victim to the hospital and handling cops on her own on behalf of her husband). She also watches English comedy films, gets inebriated and tries to enact life-threatening scenes from Fellini films …
The director does sprinkle hint of an extra martial affair between Priyanshu and Konkana. Priyanshu and Konkana bond over the common project on which they’re working.
Dreamland have become killing fields. The violence and militancy that have gripped the life of Adivasis is woven into the multi-layered narrative which advocates preservation of ecology and tribal heritage and cautions us about calamitous changes should be disregard them. State violence has to stop to quell militant violence. A good Samaritan doctor (Dhiritiman Chatterjee modelled on a Binayak Sen like character) spends his life among tribal sacrificing a lucrative career in urban India doing medical camps as well as teaching kids and adults, gets arrested for treating Maoists (his defense that a doctor’s duty is only to save lives doesn’t find takers).
Priyanshu takes a break from work and goes off on a vacation with his wife to Manali. Gautam Ghose beautifully captures the snowy charm of the tourist town. Priyanshu and his wife stay as a paying guest in the house of an elderly Muslim couple (Soumitro Chatterjee and — ) . Soumitro leads a retired life working on his pet project WAW (War against Weapon) to prevent cyber terrorism. This is the weak link in the film and have possibly been included to present the integrative vision of historical figures (Dara Shikoh, Lalan Fakir and Rabindranath Tagore who have influenced the director considerably) in nation building.
The elderly couple have had a tragedy in their lives. The couple had a son (a BBC correspondent) believed to be killed by security forces in Kashmir. That’s why the lady harbors a concealed hatred towards Hindus (which explodes on occasions – She labels Hindus as ‘kafirs’ and the Hindu gods propagating unhealthy habits like smoking, while Islam teaches her to be disciplined, pray five times and keep ‘Roja.’) However, towards the denouement, she invites the Hindu couple again to visit her.
After Mrinal Sen, Goutam Ghose has emerged to be the most socially conscious among the parallel filmmakers from Bengal. Rabindrasangeet have been used in tune with the breathtaking scenery of Manali – “Hriday amaar naache re, mayur er moto naache re.”
The film ends on an ambiguous note. Overall, the film suffers from inclusion of too many weighty issues into the narrative. Priyanshu Chatterjee acts brilliantly. Konkana is competent. The film is directed by Goutam Ghose.
Rating: 3.8 out of 5

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.


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