Archive for the ‘Gautam Ghose’ Category

Ain Rasheed Khan

Posted: May 6, 2017 in Gautam Ghose, Tidbits


Having made his foray into the world of documentary film in 1979, Ain Rasheed Khan a close friend of Gautam Ghose was also the scriptwriter, commentator and interviewer for Ghosh’s film on Ustad Bismillah Khan. Next came his dialogues and script for a documentary on Cancer – SHAM HI TO HAI- and Ghosh then engaged him as the script and dialogue writer for PATANG, which won the National award for Best film in 1994. November 1995 also saw him in London as an additional expert commentary writer for an Indo-British called BEYOND THE HIMALAYAS.

(Src: STATESMAN 22/6/96)




“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

It is heartening to find that powerful films can come from small film industries like Assam in a dialect (Mising) spoken by a minority section of the population of the state. KO-YAD is such a haunting film, it kept me reminding of Jahnu Barua’s HKGOROLOI BOHU DOOR (It is a Long Way to the Sea).

Basically it is a tale of arduous struggle of a boatman Paukum who faced tremendous personal tragedies but bravely faced his circumstances and continued in the profession to eke out a livelihood for his family by catching firewood from the river. He subsisted on “Apong” – a kind of local brew of the people of the area.
Some of the dialogues linger: ” I have two rivers and a boat” (The boat was a gift to the protagonist from his father and was constructed of good timber)
“I had a belief that even if the entire world betrays me the river and the boat would never betray me.”
The film also touches upon issues of the under privileged and their difficulties faced trying to provide professional education like Medicine to their offspring. The filming qualities are remarkable – IMHO at par with the best of International cinema. The excellent cinematography echoed the films of Gautam Ghose and his brilliance in capturing the vagaries of nature. One early scene where the mother of the protagonist commits suicide in the river is beautifully and creatively shot.
The screenplay and direction is by Manju Borah.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5

One looks forward to a new Gautam Ghose offering with great expectation. The Indo-Bangladesh production SHANKHACHIL , the newest from the veteran director, has his signature style written all over – the marvelous photography, great music and terrific performances from the lead cast. Prasenjit is wonderful in the role of a teacher in a village in Bangladesh bordering India. It is a performance worthy of a National award and overlooking the tremendous work by this maturing actor over the past several years at the National awards is highly unjust.
Like Ghatak (to whom the film is dedicated) GG rues the plight of Bengalis segregated into two Nations. Through his Muslim protagonist Badal (Prasenjit) we get a glimpse of the deep reverence for Tagore that exist in that country. In an early sequence, the farcical division that was created between the two Nations is highlighted. The protagonist Badal lives a happy life in Bangladesh with his wife and daughter Roopsa. Roopsa is a bright girl, inquisitive by nature and always seen with a magnifying glass in her hand. She falls seriously ill and need to be immediately hospitalized. The nearest hospital is in the town of Taki in West Bengal in India..’
Can’t helpless people living in the border areas be allowed medical facilities in the neighbouring country on humane ground? Why do we have to conceal our identities and illegally avail of medical expertise in that country? How has partition improved the lives of citizens of the country, especially those living in border areas? The narrative unfolds at a sedate pace. The story is simplistic but heart-rending and the film progresses through some great cinematography. No one can match GG in technical finesse which has been the hallmark of several of his award winning works.
The film succeed in making some forceful statement. In an initial sequence Badal says “Our biggest identity is not our religion, but our language. We’re Bengalis, not only Muslims. When India was partitioned in 1947, Bangladesh became a part of Pakistan. The following year Jinnah promulgated that Urdu would be made the National language of Pakistan, and other languages relegated to a subordinate level. This formed the seed of the war of liberation in 1971 over the issue of language and the formation of Bangladesh.”
The film is a bit patchy in parts but overall it is engaging. I would have liked it more had it ended on a positive note. btw, when Roopsa was undergoing treatment in hospital, what did that out of place nightly bike sequence implied?
The concluding sequence showing birds freely moving across the fence at the border is a directorial assertion that chaining humans and segregating on basis of nationality in modern times reek of dominance by the regressive forces of such Nations. The film won the Best Bengali film at the National awards this year. Dipankar Dey and Mukul Vaid act in supporting roles.
Rating: 4 out of 5


Padma Nodir Majhi (1993)

Posted: December 18, 2015 in Bengali films, Gautam Ghose







This film was released in 1993, an Indo-Bangladesh production. Padma Nadir Majhi (Boatman of the river Padma) is based on a classic novel by Manik Bandopadhyay. The work is based on the life of fishermen, who eke out a living from the catches they make from the unpredictable river Padma. The hopes and aspirations, despair and grief and longings for a better life of this downtrodden community has been well brought out by the Director. The abject poverty which stares in the face of these beleaguered people almost every day has been skillfully woven into the narrative of this film.

In the past, there has been two significant films made on the life of fisher folks in Bengali films. They include Ritwik Ghatak’s Titas Ekti Nadir Naam and Rajen Tarafdar’s Ganga. So, this work by Gautam Ghosh can be considered in a series of trilogy on fishermen.

The film has been shot both in India and Bangladesh. The central character is Kubir played by Asaad who is a tall, strapping fisherman. Initial sequences depict the exploitation of these hapless people, where their catches made after a lot of struggle hardly earns them the money in the market. Even residents from neighborhood take away fishes from them without paying on several occasions. It is indeed a hard life for them.






Enters Hossian Miya (Utpal Dutt), a trader who offers to take this community to Moynadeep and offer them a better life there. It is apparent that Hossian Miya has a flourishing business there, because he has recently purchased a huge boat because of expanding business.

However, people who return from Moynadeep after working there has a different tale to narrate. Rasu (Sunil Mukherjee) and Aminuddin (Robi Ghosh) say that Moynadeep is infested with lions and tigers, and there is forest all around. Rasu has fled from Moynadeep deserting his wife and children there. Aminuddin, too, refuses to go back to Moynadeep again.

Kubir has a wife and daughter and also recently blessed with a child. His wife is beset with a leg deformity, and his daughter is grown up and engaged to a local man. Kubir goes to pay a visit to his relatives from his wife’s side. On return, he brings along his sister-in-law Kapila (Roopa Ganguly) along with a ton of small kids. Kapila was married, but is now estranged from her husband.

A sneaky amorous relationship develops between Kubir and Kapila. Staying with a deformed wife and coupled with amorous gestures from his alluring sister-in-law Kubir succumbs to her wishes of passion play. However, Kapila’s husband re-appears and takes her away with him.

Suddenly one day a storm rises in the Padma. And leaves behind a trail of destruction. Kubir tells his wife “Padda amago joto daay abar totoi loy ” (It is true Padda gives us a lot, but in return it also takes a lot from us). Gautam Ghosh deserves kudos for beautifully capturing the stormy sequences on celluloid. Indeed, these disaster sequences are hauntingly filmed and lingers in one’s mind.

Storm wreaks havoc in the village. Hussian Miya offers to lend a helping hand to the villagers. He does so, but in return he takes their thumb impression as proof of his help so that he can use it later to exploit them.

Meanwhile Kubir’s daughter’s marriage breaks down. Rasu proposes to marry her. Even though Rasu was close to Kubir, he refuses to accept the match because of the age difference between them. Rasu becomes furious and threatens to ruin Kubir.

He succeeds in his endeavor. Kubir is fabricated in a theft case, and police is now trying to nab him. He flees, and go to Hussain Miya for help. Hossain Miya tells he can absolve him of the theft charge, but in return Kubir must go to Moynadeep. Kubir agrees to the offer.

Kubir goes to Moynadeep. A new life unfolds for him there. These concluding sequences from the film adds up to a compelling climax.

The music was scored by Gautam Ghosh and Alauddin Khan. The film was made in Bengali.