Archive for the ‘Soumitro Chattopadhyay’ Category

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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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There is a striking similarity in Ray’s KAPURUSH (a 1965 film) with the debut film APOROOPA (1982) directed by the renowned Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua. The Ray film featured Soumitro Chattopadhyay and Madhabi Mukherjee, while the Barua film had Biju Phukan and Suhasini Mulay in the lead roles. In both the films the lead player plays ex-lovers where the female lead is married to a tea estate manager.
The ex-lovers meet after a long hiatus via the tea estate manager who initially befriends the male lead. The similarity ends here. While the Barua film had a courageous lover, the one in the Ray film was a Kapurush (weakling). The Ray film was based on a story by Premendra Mitra.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Bengali cinema continues to spring a surprise now and then. It is heartening to find a brilliant film from the relatively new actor-turned-director Parambrata Chattopadhyay (PC). The film SONAR PAHAR (Mountain of Gold) features the return of veteran Bollywood actress Tanuja (Teen Bhubaner Parey, Adalat O Ekti Mey) to the Bengali screen and portrays her as a lonely widower who values her independent existence living by herself in an ancestral house. She has differences with her son (Jishu Sengupta) and especially her daughter-in-law (Arunima Ghosh). Enters a young boy from orphanage self-proclaimed to be afflicted with AIDS into her life through the iniatiative of her son’s friend (PC)…

The film traces the growing bond between the duo and how the lady tries to fill the vaccum in her life caused by the actual absence of her son in her life through the orphan boy. This is a touching film that deals with the loneliness of the elderly and the complexities that arise in human relationships and advocates the need to walk the extra mile to fill the void caused by the rift with one’s immediate family members.

Kudos to PC for a brilliant direction… The filming qualities are top-notch effectively capturing the sombre mood of the film with the much-needed lighter sequences in a neat package. The veteran actor Soumitro Chattopadhyay features in a cameo.

Rating; 3.8 out of 5

 

Movies on father-son relationship bring out facets of life in various hues. Some notable works like Wender’s Paris Texas, Ray’s Apur Sansar or Anjan Dutt’s Dutta vs. Dutta comes to mind that had this relationship at the centrality in the narrative. Atanu Ghosh’s National award-winning film Mayurrakshi (2017) is a welcome addition to the list …

Mayurakshi: A must watch for all gen

In this film the father (Soumitro Chattopadhyay) plays a widower and a retired Professor of History (an erudite person possessing knowledge in music and many subjects) suffering from old age problems and dimentia. A caretaker (Sudipta Chakraborty) looks after him. The son (Prasenjit Chattopadhyay) arrives from Chicago to see his ailing dad … dad has suffered memory loss and longs to meet Mayurrakshi, his student and the girl/woman the son had spurned in marriage when the alliance was suggested by the father … the film explores dimensions of love and loneliness, the plight of the ambitious younger generation living in a separate country having ailing parents back home and the connect/disconnect that exist between them… the sombre mood of the  film incorporates exquisite imagery and fine story-telling to make this film a memorable work.

The acting of the two lead performers is top notch. Indrani Halder does a cameo …the film is directed by Atanu Ghosh (Angsumaner Chobi, Abby Sen). The film was adjudged the Best Bengali film at the National awards this year.

Rating: 4.2 out of 5  

 

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

 

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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

 

Veteran actor Soumitro Chattopadhyay was recently conferred with France’s highest honor, Légion d’Honneur…

I remember an incident which occurred a few years back (maybe six/seven). I was travelling to Kolkata from New Delhi in a Jet Airways flight. Soumitro C (SC) aka Apu aka Feluda was in the same flight. I had sighted him at Delhi airport itself. It seemed like he was returning from a shooting schedule because I saw fellow actors of Bengali cinema, of whom I could recognize Biswajit Chakraborty, with him. I was amazed at the non-starry way SC carried himself. Very few people in fact recognized him, or showed an interest to click a picture with him. In comparison, see how recognizable mediocre Bollywood actors are in our society. I didn’t possess a smart phone in those days, hence there was no point requesting SC for a snap …

Out of his numerous memorable performances, I pick five of my favourites:

  1. GANASHATRU

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I really loved his work in this film by Satyajit Ray based on an Ibsen play ‘Enemy of the people.’  As a conscientious doctor in a small town who discovers contamination in a water source coming out of a crowd flocking temple and his discovery creating a furor leading to attack on him and his family by unscrupulous members of the temple trust and the town municipality which included his sibling brother, the seasoned actor was simply a delight to watch.

 

  1. DEKHA

 

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Directed by Gautam Ghose, it featured SC in the role of a Milton like blind poet. The subtlety of the performance matching gait akin a blind man, the nuances that brought out the essence of the complexity of the character of the amorous poet living in changing times showcased his brilliance at his craft.

 

  1. AKASH KUSUM

 

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SC has done comedy in several films but this Mrinal Sen directed film is one of his best. Longing can drive a man to desperation – SC epitomized his portrayal of such a character to perfection. Some of the conversations with his love interest Aparna Sen were simply hilarious …This role was enacted by Amitabh Bachchan in the Hindi version MANZIL directed by Basu Chatterjee.

  1. WHEEL CHAIR

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The central protagonist is an America returned wheel-chair ridden doctor (SC) who runs a medical care facility for destitute and poor of the society, and tries to help a rape victim.

 

  1. PARINEETA

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I really find this a heart-warming romantic film. The coy-and-quiet romance between Shekar (Soumitro Chaterjee) and Lolita (Moushumi Chaterjee) in the film reaches a level rarely reached in the Bengali and Indian cinemas.

The Ajay Kar directed film was based on a story by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.