Archive for the ‘Madhabi Mukherjee’ Category

Image result for mahanagar movie

MAHANAGAR was based on a story by Narendranath Mitra. The core theme of the disquiet caused when a Bengali homely lady Arati Mazumdar (Madhabi Mukherjee) steps out of her secluded domestic existence into the working world have been deftly portrayed by the director. I think Mrinal Sen’s PUNASCHO in the Sixties also dealt with the same theme but as per latest reports available that film is completely lost to filmgoers as no print of that film exists today.
Some of the sequences in the film are truly memorable:
The scene where Madhabi presses her first earning against herself and proceeds to watch her in an adjacent mirror
• The Anglo woman gifts Madhabi a lipstick and shows her how to apply it
• “Was he your boyfriend”? asks her Anglo colleague Madhabi points to Vermillion on her forehead
“Okay. Your husband.”
“Do you know this ring?” her Anglo friend queried “This means that I am married.” ( A beautiful scene on manifestation of marital status in two cultures)
The effect of the lady walking out of the orthodox household into the professional world on the husband (Anil Chatterjee) and the family can be summarized in the following dialogues/scenes that transpired in the film
“Kaaje amay chinte parbe na” (Madhabi) “Barite Chinte parbo to” (Anil Chatterjee)
• “Bouma, Sales girl?” (Anil Chatterjee’s father)
• “Taka thaklai Sansar a shanti thake na Baba aaj 3/2 maas amar sathe katha bole na.” (Anil Chaterjee talks of his equation with his father)
• The first day Madhabi goes to work, her child runs away from her as a protest

The weakness of the film: The forced situations where husband loses his job and is dependent on Madhabi’s job. The ending also appeared filmic to me. I, for one, can’t throw away job because of injustice being meted out to a colleague. You would agree that Arati’s of the world wouldn’t be able to keep any job in present day corruption ridden India.
The most interesting character to me was the patriarch – the father of Anil Chatterjee who represented the plight of retired teachers in the country
“jemon gorbo bodh kori, temon hingse hoi” (talking about his students)
• “Bhagwan er bidhan e kothai jeno gondogol royeche” (complaining about God’s injustice towards his ilk)
• “Amar bhoro obhab” (The old man cries and tells his eye specialist student ) “Chasma ta hobe amar Gurudakhina” (The student replies thusly)
• “sei jug aar ei jug ek noye” (Anil Chatterjee to his father)

There’re other sequences that characterize social milieu of that era
• Madhabi goes to sell knitting machines and start a conversation with prospective customers discussing personal problems – the ability of Bongs to start conversation with complete strangers
“Ei sob parar thakar anondo je nijeder radio kinte hoy na” (Anil Chaterjee tells his wife)
The supporting cast included Jaya Bhaduri, Haradhan Bannerjee and others.
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Streer Patra (1973)

 

Streer Patro would translate as The Wife’s Letter. The story was written by Rabindranath Tagore, and the film was directed by Purnendu Pattrea (PP).

The epistle that the title refers to is the letter the wife (Madhabi Mukherjee) sends to her husband from Puri where she went on a visit with one of the relatives. In it, the injustices meted out to a female protagonist, a young girl Bindu who stayed with her and forcibly married off to an older mad man (Nimu Bhowmick) was mentioned, and she revealed that she would never return to family life as a protest.

The film was set sometime around 1910 and the sub-text has the Indian freedom struggle in the background. Madhabi delivers a stunning performance. PP uses stills and innovate camera techniques and fantasy elements reminiscent of the films of Mrinal Sen.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

THANA THEKE AASCHI was directed by Hiren Nag. The film featured Uttam Kumar, Madhabi Mukherjee, Kamal Mitra, Chaya Devi, Anjana Bhowmick, Dilip Mukherjee and others.

The film employed an innovate technique of extracting confession from several characters of a family who move around in society as respectable citizens but have skeletons in their closet. In fact, the patriarch was shown contesting the elections…

The confessions tumble out when a sub-inspector Tinkori Halder (Uttam Kumar) visits the house of Kamal Mitra to interrogate suspects over a suicide committed by a lady (Madhabi Mukherjee) who was known to the family…

At its core, the film is similar to Ritwik Ghatak’s MEGHE DHAKA TARA. In both these films the female protagonist is central to the narrative and is depicted to having been exploited in their lives at a scale that is beyond the level of endurance.

The film has prompted a remake with the same name a few years back. In that film made competently Sabyasachi Chakraborty played the role of Uttam Kumar. Others in the cast in the remake included Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Paoli Dam and others.

Rating: 3 out of 5

 

 

charulata

(This review is written by my brother Smarajit Ghosh)     

Did Amol really fall in love with Charulata, his brother’s wife?

I do not think so, though I wouldn’t debate on that, especially without having read the story (“NoshtoNir” – by Rabindranath Tagore, written originally in Bengali) on which the film is based. And a film, as a medium of expression, just like literature, can be subjected to varied interpretations. That is never its source of greatness; and I’m definitely not the first one to realise that ‘Charulata’, as a film, is one such creation.

So what is it that makes it stand apart?

A film is like art in motion, a dynamic canvas trying to create impressions in your mind through the images and sounds that it presents frame-by-frame. And this film accomplishes that task to a superlative degree; right from the start where, over a few scenes, lucid camerawork and adroit focus capture Charu’s boredom and solitude with alacrity. Near-flawless compositions with occasional sprinkling of eloquent imagery, dominate the whole film.

Some of the most moving images are:

1) A singing Charulata going up and down on a swing, her feet intermittently touching the ground while a contemplative Amol lies at some distance on the ground. The camera covers this shot both from the front when we see only Charulata and also from the side when Amol dominates the frame with Charulata swinging in the background. It produces a dreamlike effect. This is the strongest metaphor of Charulata’s yearning for Amol.

2) Charulata’s recollection of her childhood which inspires her to write – a brilliant montage of diverse scenes, such as a river, dancing men, a village fair and fire crackers, juxtaposed over a big close up of her face.

3) The final freeze shot, symbolising the indelible fracture in Bhupati and Charulata’s marriage.

Music plays a significant role and qualifies most of the scenes.

Acting perhaps ceases to be of supreme importance in such a masterful work but the very fact of the film’s quality is testimony to good acting, though Amol (Soumitra Chatterjee) appears slightly theatrical in a few scenes and Bhupati’s mannerisms a little arcane in the context of contemporary Bengali civility (which is perhaps irrelevant).

Ray himself has talked of ‘Charulata’ as his most consummate work, and we can understand why. Here he successfully blends picture and music, with his usual fluent style of narration, to create a deft composition, which is both adroit and expressive – adroit in its adaptation of technique and expressive as a work of art.