TOKYO CANCELLED

Posted: March 31, 2018 in Books, Kaushik Ganguly

I am currently reading the book TOKYO CANCELLED by Rana Dasgupta. This is his debut novel and from the comments on the cover of the book I discovered that the book has been praised widely, while RD have been likened to a Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jonathan Safran Foer, masters who can hold the real and the surreal in satisfying equilibrium. This is quite an extra-ordinary feat achieved by such a young writer…

While reading the book two films that I have viewed over the years came to my mind. The first is the Bengali film KHAAD (D:- Kaushik Ganguly) where a group of stranded passengers recount tales from their lives, something that is also central to the narrative of TOKYO CANCELLED. The second is the Christopher Nolan film INCEPTION where there is interplay of dreams and reality and how mind reading can be put to work and profit, something that also appears in the RD book; especially in the second story THE MEMORY EDITOR…Watch this space for more as I progress with this book J

 

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MA BHOOMI

Image  —  Posted: March 24, 2018 in Gautam Ghose, Regional

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

 

On a repeat viewing of MAHANAGAR, I felt that the strong message that Ray wanted to convey through the character of the protagonist Arati Mazumdar (  Madhabi Mukherjee) – her resignation from the job (as a protest against injustice towards a colleague) that was the sole bread winner for the large family is completely lost in our society. All of us who are salaried and work for a living are witness to gross injustices in our workplaces. Do we ever think about the need to leave the present employment and search for the ‘job where things are fair’? We all know that such jobs doesn’t exist in our country and we tend to compromise to adapt to prevailing norms and trends…even Ray was aware of the changing times as his last works – GANASHATRU & SHAKHA PROSAKHA spoke a great deal about decay and vice …

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This film explores interesting issues like loyalty in relationships, dedication towards duty vs. family, the differences of outlook in class divide (rich-poor), pangs of loneliness and its consequences, the complexities of choices one has to make in life. One could detect shades of Ajay Kar’s SAAT PAKE BADHA but the originality of the film is certainly unmistakable. I liked the way the film ended when one was expecting that all would be settled towards the end. The main cast includes Sabyasachi Chakraborty as the protagonist doctor, Debasree Roy as an ex-painter cum housewife, Chitra Sen and others.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Supriya Choudhury

Posted: January 26, 2018 in Supriya Choudhury

Saddened by the news of the demise of Supriya Choudhury this morning… She was one of those rare beauties to have ever graced the Bengali screen. Of her performances, probably MEGHE DHAKA TARA was her best. I also liked her in KOMAL GANDHAR as a theatre artiste caught between two men, and the climatic sequence in the film with the chant ‘Dohai Ali, dohai ali..’ in the background where she walks up the stairs towards her ‘chosen one’ remains embedded in memory. Her pairing with Uttam Kumar resulted in several hits but I can’t recall these movies now. Her role of the call girl in CHOWRINGHEE parallels her character Nita in MEGHE DHAKA TARA.

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The last film that I remember of hers – ATHIYASAJAN by Raja Sen, which dealt with the subject of euthanasia, and had the veteran actor Soumitro Chatterjee playing her husband, which captured effectively the plight of the elderly and the older generation, to cope with shifting societal standards… My Ma told me today that in an interview of hers, she mentioned that she outlived her eleven siblings and joked that ‘Jomer dut o amar khetre phire chole jai’ (Yama returns without me every single time). Well, today he didn’t…RIP Benudi..

 

 

 

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It seems Bengali cinema is poised for good times with a number of filmmakers exploring fresh subjects and themes. MACHER JHOL directed by Pratim D Gupta falls in this category.

The film tries an attempt –to- return- to-roots of a successful chef (Ritwik Chakraborty) in France to Kolkata when his mother is seriously ill and hospitalized. The film has sufficient human drama and relationship subtext (father-son differences, left behind wife in Kolkata) to engage the viewer’s interests. Some aspects seem cliché though (the birth of a son kept as a secret)… the protagonist is flawed too. He accuses his father of being selfish, while he himself deserted his wife and went abroad and never bothered to ask about her during his telephonic talk back home with his mother.

I particularly think that the ending was unconventional where the chef returns to his French girlfriend when the viewers were probably developing a sense that the protagonist would stay back with his wife and son …besides Ritwik, the film features Mamata Shankar as the mother, Sumanta Mukherjee as the father, Paoli Dam as the wife in Kolkata and others…

Rating: 3.5 out of 5