Archive for the ‘Soumitro Chattopadhyay’ Category

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  

 

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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.

 

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UTTARON (Broken Journey) is a film based on a story and screenplay by Satyajit Ray, and directed by his son Sandip Ray. The film follows a Calcutta based doctor (Soumitro Chattopadhyay) who is successful treating the well-heeled of society. His teenage daughter is shown leading a reckless life giving rise to suspicion of being a drug addict.

The doc embarks on a journey to Jamshedpur to deliver a talk on ADVANCES OF MEDICAL SCIENCES IN LAST TWO DECADES in a Conference. En route his car breaks down in a remote area & he sees a man lying unconsciously in the field. The doc tries to lend a helping hand. What follows is a discovery of reality about lack of health-care facilities (dependence on witch doctor) and abysmal condition (lack of electricity) in the village. This leads to an awakening in the doctor & the realization of the futility & elitism of conferences when basic health care facilities elude the majority of the population.

The supporting cast includes Subalakshmi Munshi, Sadhu Meher, Subhendu Chatterjee, Lily Chakraborty and others.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5

On Ray’s b’day, a brief note on JOYBABA FELUNATH ……

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I read some Feluda stories in my childhood. Since then I haven’t ventured towards the book of the ace sleuth written by Ray that have endeared him to millions across the globe. I have seen several films of the detective though, two directed by Satyajit Ray himself, and quite a few directed by his son Sandip Ray.

Among the multiplicity of themes that Ray explored in his films and in his writings, one often finds a thematic recurrence interspersed among his works. The core theme in JOYBABA FELUNATH – about a thriving business involving smuggling of heritage art objects from India to the West was also seen in his book KAILASHE KELENKARI, which has been made into a film by Sandip Ray. The penchant of Ray to showcase rare skills such as jugglery (Phatikchand) is again seen in this film in the spine-chilling act of a skilled marksman aiming at humans – it was filmed on ‘Jatayu.’

JOYBABA ..  is an engaging, suspenseful film from the master filmmaker. The film has the Hindu holy city of Benaras as the backdrop. Apart from a fine performance by Soumitro Chatterjee in the role of Feluda, the film was elevated several notches by the terrific performance of Utpal Dutta as Maganlal Meghraj – rarely has Utpal Dutta looked so menacing as a villain, his act in Bollywood films playing the evil man was mostly comical. The pivotal child character in the film, endearing called Captain Spark, brought out the child that used to reside in Ray who was enchanted by magic, mysterious occurrences & other aspects of the supernatural, besides his love of adventure.

Rating; 4 out of 5

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KAGAZER NOUKA is a topical film that portrays the contemporary reality of a corruption ridden society. Through the character of a freedom fighter (Victor Bannerjee), a Gandhian with strong idealistic values the film mirrors the decadence and frustration facing the elderly who had sacrificed everything to liberate the Nation. In that respect, the film echoes Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s TAHADER KATHA. Otherwise, it is a very different film from TK and revolves around the nefarious chit-fund business that rocked West Bengal and brought about its disrepute.

The versatile Soumitro Chattopadhyay in the role of an evil businessman controlling the chit-fund empire & a childhood buddy of the protagonist freedom fighter is competent as usual. The others in the cast includes Bidita Bag, Anusya Mazumdar, Rajesh Sharma and others. Victor B reprises the role of an Angry old man again after LATHI and act with aplomb. The film is directed by Partha Pratim Joardar.

The film was severely criticized by some critics, but somehow I liked the subject matter and the unfolding of events and don’t attest the critics viewpoint who gave it a rating of 1, or 1.5 out of 5 to this film.

Rating; 3.5 out of 5