Archive for the ‘Vasant Choudhury’ Category


PIPASA was based on a story by Banophool. The film was directed by Tarun Mazumdar, music by Hemant Kumarand featured Sandhya Roy, Basant Choudhury, Anup Kumar, Pahari Sanyal, Anuva Gupta , Bhanu Bandopadhyay and others.

It is a tale of struggle at reformation for a courtesan (Sandhya Roy), Roshan Bai, when she gets enchanted with a scholarly Brahmin man (Basant Choudhury). The film outlines a new dimension of the courtesan with a golden heart (in contrast to Chandramukhi in Sarat Chaterji’s Devdas). While ‘All is fair in Love and Air’ may have been the guiding proinciple for cupid to bloom, that an inevitable fued would result when skeletons tumble out of closet, is a foregone conclusion. The two main actors, Sandhya Roy and Basant Choudhury, perform wonderfully in their roles. Anup Kumar is chilling in a negative character. The rest of the supporting cast, Pahari Sanyal and Bhanau Bandopadhyay perform remarkably well, especially Bhanu for some of the lighter moments of the film. The songs have a classical strain and a Rabindrasangeet ‘alok er jhorna dharey duliye dao…’ have been featured in the film.

Watching the film four decades later, one feels that the grip of prevalent orthodoxy in those times in society hindred the chances of a fallen woman to gain acceptance in a so called respectable league. While directors like V. Shantaram were making films on reforming criminals (Do Ankhen Barah Haath) , such exercises on disreputable woman was being ignored.

Rating: 3 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


Based on a Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel, the film depicts the lives of Bengalis who went to Rangoon to work in that country. The author had lived in Burma for several years and this has largely reflected itself in the insights one can draw from the characters and stories in his novel which were based on Burma and Burmese life.

In this film Srikanto (Vasant Choudhury) is shown heading towards Rangoon in search of a job. On the ship in which he is travelling, he meets Abhaya (Mala Sinha) who is going to Rangoon to find her long missing husband Purno (Bikash Roy). The narrative unfolds several characters and highlights several facets of exploitation – Bengalis living in Burma are shown being exploitative and deceiving indigenous simple Burmese women.

Vasant Choudhury and Mala Sinha are brilliant. The supporting cast of Jahar Roy, Tarun Kumar, Satya Bannerjee, Gita Dey, Dilip Roy & others lend good support.

Rating: 3.8 out of 5

Raja Rammohan Roy

Posted: April 29, 2015 in Bengali films, Vasant Choudhury

Recently I was watching the film ‘Raja Rammohan’ directed by Bijoya Bose. Made in the sixties, the film had the actor Vasant Choudhury essaying the titular character with such elan. The supporting cast of Kamal Mitra and Chaya Devi as parents of the Raja does well too. While the life of the remarkable man who lived 150-175 years ago was unfolding on the screen, the man credited with bringing about the most significant reform in Hindu society and coinage of the term Hinduism, I felt that in these charged atmosphere of religious animosity, Raja Rammohan has greater relevance than any icon on both sides of the secular divide. And we have reduced him to just a footnote in the pages of our history books…surely History teaches us that we do not learn anything from History.

Some of the dialogues in the film were truly memorable. When his liberal views came to the fore through his writings many considered him anti-Hindu. A clergyman tried enticing him to convert to Christianity. The Raja replied “Amar barite agun legeche bole ami onner barite asroy nebo eta bhablen ki kore?” (What makes you think I will seek refuge in the house of a stranger just because my house is on fire?). Such profound words…

Rating: 3.8 out of 5


This is quite a stunning work from Gautam Ghose. ‘Antarjali Yatra’ was based on a story by Kamal Kumar Mazumdar. Revolving around certain age old Brahmanical beliefs, the story unfolds to reveal an alliance set up between a pretty, young woman (Shampa Ghosh) with a dying nonagenarian Brahman (Pramode Ganguly) , and the attempts of an untouchable ‘Chandal’ (Shatrughan Sinha in a never seen before performance as the untouchable entrusted with the last cremation rites) to save the young woman. When the father (Vasant Choudhury) of Shampa declares that his daughter may suffer in this life and forced to a ‘Sati’ but she will attain eternal bliss in Heaven, it is a flashback for us to the deep rooted beliefs of the era which was just about a century and a few years back ..

The film is rife with long shots, and the cinematography is mesmerizing. The others in the cast include Robi Ghosh, Vasant Choudhury, Mohan Agashe and Kalyan Chaterjee.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5