Tag Archives: Konkona Sen Sharma

In Conversation with Alankrita Shrivastava – the very talented writer/director of Lipstick Under My Burkha!

In Conversation with Alankrita Shrivastava – the very talented writer/director of Lipstick Under My Burkha!

Interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Alankrita Shrivastava – a filmmaker drawn to telling women’s stories, inspired by different forms of art, who sometimes uses books and paintings to prepare actors!

alankrita-20Her second film, Lipstick Under My Burkha was selected and well appreciated at this year’s Mumbai Film Festival.

In Conversation with Alankrita Shrivastava as she talks about her journey as a filmmaker!

Hello Alankrita, welcome to Cinema Forensic! Lipstick Under My Burkha got such a positive response at MAMI this year – how do you feel about it?

Thank you. Yes, it is very exciting, very heartening to know that it’s been so well received.

It is a very gratifying feeling for a film maker when people are watching and enjoying their film; also it is very interesting to see the reaction of people, even from other cultures. My film is rooted in a specific Indian cultural context. So it’s exciting for me to see the universality of emotions and characters cutting across cultural barriers!

Yes indeed. Lipstick Under My Burkha – such a unique name and also a very different storyline, so how did you come up with this idea?

I don’t know, I didn’t think about it consciously. There was this thought that just emerged in my head – that I wanted to tell the story of four women who are kind of cloistered, want to do more lipstick - plabita - press release 3with their lives and how they go about doing it.

Even though I am brought up in a very liberal and educated background, I still don’t feel fully free and so wanted to explore that feeling. Sometimes I feel like something is holding me back. I thought that it would be interesting for me to explore that in a way where there are also external things holding you back, not just internal things. The whole idea was that how one can sort of break free even while being cloistered.

That’s very interesting, and when you wrote the script of the film how did you start with it – like you have written the script in one go or like …

No, this script is a very long story in itself, because I thought of the title and the essential concept more or less at one go. I wrote it in 2012 and took it the NFDC Screen Writer’s Lab. That was a very helpful experience. But that time I was also trying to write another film which finally didn’t happen.

So, then at the end of 2013 I decided to work on the script again.

And then I got my friend Suhani Kanwar,  to  help me with additional screenplay, and Gazal Dhaliwal to work on the dialogue. So the script developed over time.

Most good scripts come out like that only huh?

Ya? (smiles). I don’t think any writer intends to be like that but then sometimes it takes long. But I agree because I feel if you let a thought stay for a longer time it just matures in a way, it deepens.

So, after the script is final, then how do you plan the production, like how did you get in touch with the producers, and what about the casting process?

Casting Koko (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Ratna (Ratna Pathak) was relatively easy – I sent the script to them and they liked it.

Mr Jha had come on board as the producer earlier, since I had been working with Prakash Jha Productions for many years. They Lipstick - ratna - press release -2produced my first film as well.

But for the other two girls and for selecting the rest of the cast I will give full credit to my casting directors Shruti Mahajan and Parag Mehta. They worked really hard.  We tested a lot of people and then finalised Plabita (Plabita Borthakur) and Ahana (Aahana Kumra). So I honestly give credit to the casting directors and my assistants for digging out the many gems in my film. They did a fantastic job!

And so after the cast being decided, did the production start write away?

It took a while. We finished shooting in the first half of 2015. I was editing for a while. Then I took the cut to the Work-in-progress Lab at Film Bazar. The lab was very helpful, because we had editors from other parts of the world, and programmers and producers who were part of this panel. They watched the film a few times and gave us feedback and then an editor actually worked with us. My editor Lipstick - aahana - press release 4Charu Shree (Charu Shree Roy)  and I both gained a lot through that process and made some dramatic decisions about the overall edit of the film.

For me what is nice is that I have really grown with the project because it has almost been like film-school like thing. The screen writer’s lab, the edit lab… And even the actor workshops with Atul (Atul Mongia). He is just fantastic. I learned so much as a director working with Atul, about how to work with actors.

It’s really been a process you know and it’s still going on (laughs) – currently we are finalising the distribution deal for the film’s release and again that’s a challenge.

Wish you all the best Alankrita. Now tell me something about yourself – how did you become interested in films, like from the childhood – your journey as a film maker?

No, actually I went to this all-girls boarding school in Deharadun called Welham Girl’s School and there we had this activity class – where the senior girls would make audio-visual films which were alankrita-2screened at the annual day. It was like huge screen and thousands of people watching. I saw that when I was in a junior class and I just wanted to be one of the girls in that AV team. So I joined the Audio Visual class.  I guess that was the beginning for me. I felt the power of telling the story through this medium. Also I always used to read books since I was very young, then my father always told me stories – so this storytelling process was always in my mind. (smiles).

I did my BA honors in journalism from Lady Shriram College and did lots of media internships during that time.

And then I did my masters in Mass Communications from Jamia Milia Islamia. After that I was very clear that I wanted to do films. I started working with Mr.Prakash Jha as a trainee assistant, then one thing led to another. I assisted on Gangaajal and then I was chief assistant on Apaharan, I was associate director on Rajneeti and in between I was executive producer on Sudhir’s film Khoya Khoya Chand and also another film called Dil Dosti Etc. In-between I made my short film (Open Doors with Tisca Chopra), and after Raajneeti I directed my first feature Turning 30!!!

And finally some films that influenced you, made an impact on you as a filmmaker?

I’m not that influence by films in terms of my thought process but I Lipstick - konkona- press release 1am much more influenced by books, especially female feminist writers like Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison and most recently by Elena Ferrante.

I am not sure I love watching films as much as I love reading books. I love making films though!

Thats really interesting because most of the filmmakers say that films have been their major inspiration but for you it has been books!

Because you know, what I feel is that, honestly if you are expressing yourself in a certain medium, that doesn’t mean that all your influences have to come from that same medium. I think film is after all a coming together of different art forms!

So while directing Turning 30!!! the references I gave to my actors were paintings, and excerpts from novels which I felt represented their characters in the film!

Most Influential Films Banned in India (10+1list)

Most Influential Films Banned in India.

written by Souranath Banerjee

In India it is not always enough to make good Cinema; the more challenging part for the directors and producers is to make sure that their movie gets released on big screen!

This year only, the producers of Udta Punjab (a film based on drug udta-punjab-posterabuse in Punjab) had the most highlighted and controversial court fight with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) headed by Pahlaj Nihalani. Finally Anurag Kashyap (representing the Phantom productions) did win the legal battle and the film was cleared with only a single cut. 

But movies being banned is nothing new in India. Due to reasons that may be political or social, it can be for abusive language, use of narcotics or due to explicit sexual content, numerous films have been delayed and some unfortunately have never seen the light of a movie theatre yet!

Here is a list of some of the most influential films Banned in India. Do watch them to know the importance of these films and the real reasons for them being out of reach of their audience.

10. Sikkim (1971)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmSeVvA61xU

Sikkim-PosterDirected by legendary Satyajit Ray, this is a documentary on Sikkim commissioned by the then King of Sikkim Chogyal.

The brilliantly made film is about the sovereignty of Sikkim. But in 1975 when Sikkim became a part of India the documentary was banned by the Indian Government. 

Recently, in 2010 the ban was lifted and the classic is now available for all you film lovers!

9. Fire (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnshN0wqiCo

fire-poster1Directed by Deepa Mehta, this is one powerful Indian film that tells the story of two wives from a middle class family who being frustrated by their loneliness and dissatisfied sex-life ignites a lesbian relationship among themselves.

Bold and thought provoking – though globally appreciated and well received but was predictably banned in India right after its release!

8. Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqztmYen6co

kama-sutra-poster1With numerous candid sexual scenes throughout the film, although artistic and sensual in a very royal-Indian way, this film of course couldn’t manage to pass the morality test of the Indian Censor board.

Directed by Mira Nair, a brilliant piece of storytelling which was too offensive for the audience of a country from where the whole concept of ‘Kama Sutra’ was actually originated. What an Irony! 

7. Parzania (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHWPWsOmoWA

parzania-posterA brilliant film that dares to portray the horrific and painful genocide that took place in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002, commonly known as the Gujarat riots!

It was banned in Gujarat because of it’s sensitive subject even though director Rahul Dholakia and lead-actress Sarika won the National award for the film!

Great performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Corin Nemec as well.

Another film on the same subject that was banned too was Nandita Das‘s Firaaq (2008)

6. Black Friday (2004)

Film scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR1mkPQI9z0

black-friday-posterThe 1993 serial Bombay bomb blasts that shook the entire nation and then, it’s aftermath – a film that managed to portray it all and that too in a brilliant graphic manner.

This Anurag Kashyap film was too dark and realistic to release at the time specially since the trail decisions of the many arrested were pending.

5. Bandit Queen (1994)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66uIVFb6ATA

bandit-queen-posterAbusive language, nudity, sexually offensive content – the biopic on the media-hyped woman-bandit Phoolan Devi was banned by the Indian Censor board due to all those reasons!

But then again the film directed by Shekhar Kapur, is one of the most courageous and dramatic Indian biopic that I have seen till date!

Seema Biswas won the National Award for her stellar performance as Phoolan Devi while Shekhar Kapur won the Filmfare Best director award!

4. Garm Hava (1974)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJqPQjADWGE

garm-hawa-posterScorching Winds, the film that depicts a Muslim family struggling to find their identity as our country was reeling through the repercussions of the partition.

Directed by M.S. Sathyu, and brilliant performance by Balraj Sahni, but the film was banned since the subject matter was considered to be too sensitive for the time. Finally, after 8 months it got released, and yes – the film was also nominated for the Palme d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film festival!

3. Aandhi (1975)

Film song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-HnmVg0-O8

aandhi-posterDirected by Gulzar, this one was banned during the time of it’s release due to the fact that the lead character played by Suchitra Sen seemed to have similarities with the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Later in 1977 the movie finally got it’s theatrical release; the film won the best critic award and Sanjeev Kumar won the best actor at the Filmfare Awards!

2. Amu (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqGGM8xl3Qw

amu-posterA film based on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, a brilliant story woven around the genocide that once shook our country.

Directed by Shonali Bose and superb performance by Konkona Sen Sharma, the film got banned of course because of it’s sensitive subject matter but it did get a release with an adult rating  and some specific audio-cuts. The film won a National Award that year!

  1.  Water (2005)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7uM-CbzIAI

water-posterAnother one from the highly acclaimed director Deepa Mehta, a stunning portrayal of the widows in India who are forced into a life of extreme sacrifice and poverty. 

The film was not only restricted from the release by protesters who felt it was too controversial a topic for the Indian audience, even the sets of the film were attacked by fanatics while the film was being shot!

and (The ‘+1 film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Gulabi Aaina (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEWPwrAjgpY

gulabi-aaina-posterThe Pink Mirror – a 40min short directed by Sridhar Rangayan which explores homosexuality in India. Through this unique film the concept of trans-sexuality was addressed probably for the first time in our country.

Needless to say a bold film on gender issues has to be banned by the Censor Board even when it was screened in more than 70 film festivals and been appreciated by the critics all across the globe!

Poster courtesy: sikkimnow.blogspot.inwww.imdb.com.

Best Indian Films to watch at the 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016 (10+1list)

Best Indian Films to watch at the 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016

written by Souranath Banerjee

And finally that moment is here, that very event for which we all Cinema-Lovers have been impatiently waiting for – the 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2016 starts from 20th Oct!

And so, it’s time to check out some of the best Indian films (Fiction) that demands your attention while you get busy with the festival!

  1. A Death in the Gunj

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XliKkuxa_nA

a-death-in-the-gunj-posterA unique coming of age film based on a young boy who has some conflicted ideas of masculinity.

Featured in the Section: Opening Film, the film cast includes Gulshan DevaiahKalki KoechlinVikrant MasseyOm PuriTillotama ShomeRanvir ShoreyTanuja among others.

The opening film at the festival and also actor Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut.

2. Lipstick Under My Burkha

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpHqeHF8NM0

lipstick-under-my-burkha-posterDirected by Alankrita Shrivastava, the film featured in the Section: India Gold chronicles the secret lives of four small-town women who wants to break-free from their regular lives, and rebel in search of freedom.

The film features a very interesting starcast – Konkona Sen SharmaRatna PathakVaibbhav TatwawdiSushant SinghShashank Arora among others. 

3. Idiot (TV Mini-Series)

Ahamaq (original title)

Featured in the Section: The New Medium this film was originally a idiot-postertelevision series based on Dostoevsky’s famous novel by the same name.

Featuring Shah Rukh KhanMita VasishtAyub Khan-Din among others and directed by the acclaimed Mani Kaul in the year 1991, this earlier unreleased movie is definitely one of the prime attraction in the festival.

4. Tu Hai Mera Sunday

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJxbALLv6ug

tu-hai-mera-sunday-posterDirected by Milind Dhaimade, this is the story of five friends who struggle to find a place to play football in Mumbai.

Featured in the Section: India Gold, this movie is not only about missing the every-Sunday football game ritual at the Juhu Beach, but it’s also about growing up, about friendship and about finding one’s own space, and then of course happiness!

 5. Bioscope

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nlw58ZW-ViI

Mitraa directed by Ravi Jadhav, Bail by Girish Mohite, Ek Hota Kau by bioscope-posterViju Mane and Dili e Nadaan by Gajendra Ahire – four talented directors and their four short films!

Featured in the Section: Marathi Talkies, this is a highly anticipated anthology film in the festival that is definitely worth your time!

6. Kalpana (1948) 

kalpana-posterThe genius dancer Uday Shankar directed and acted in this classic film which is currently featured under the Section: The New Medium at the festival. 

A unique form of story telling, a real “dance film” – rare and brilliant, such accurate compositions and use of various dance forms makes this film visually breathtaking and highly unconventional as well.

7. Autohead

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOLzzdTWBKs

autohead-posterSection: India Gold, directed by Rohit Mittal, this one is a feature length mockumentary in which a documentary crew follows a notorious auto rickshaw driver called Narayan in the suburbs of Mumbai. 

The movie overall has a voyeuristic quality since the film-crew directly becomes the part of this weird, sexually frustrated and often mentally deranged life of the auto driver. Dangerous and realistic at the same time!

8. Maroon

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9g81zbVHA0

maroon-posterThe story is of an insomniac university professor in Dehradun, who betrayed by his loving wife has been marooned into loneliness; where he suffers psychologically and becomes delusional.

A thriller that is being featured under the Section: The India Story, directed by Pulkit – and casting  Manav KaulDevyaniSaurabh SachdevaSumeet Vyas among others.

9. Pinky Beauty Parlour

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KTFUg3YwBs

Directed by Akshay Singh, this film makes a statement on the Indian obsession of fair skin!pinky-beauty-parlour-poster The story revolves around a certain beauty parlour in Banaras run by two sisters Pinky and Bulbul.

But the film takes a different turn when a body is being found and soon two police men come to investigate. Featuring under Section: The India Story, this film is surely something to look out for in this festival.

10. Donkey in a Brahmin Village (1977)

Agraharathil Kazhuthai (original title)

Featured in the Section: The New Medium, this brilliant piece of cinema is a satire told in an uniquely innovative and surreal agraharathil-kazhuthai-posternarrative style!

Directed by the renowned filmmaker John Abraham, the movie is basically on brahminical bigotry and superstitions.

On the brink of being banned and the film was highly ignored for a long time inspite of receiving a national award!

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most interesting one. A must watch)

+1. Anatomy of Violence (2016)

anatomy-of-violence-posterThough categorised as a Canadian entry, this film is based on an Indian issue, the language is Hindi and it’s also made by an acclaimed director from Indian origin, none other than Deepa Mehta!

The film revolves around the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl by six men inside a moving bus in New Delhi, December 2012. A fictionalised take on the incident and the consequences of such a gruesome crime on our society.

A few docu-fictions that also looks enticing and entertaining India in a DayThe Cinema TravellersBurqa Boxers and An Insignificant Man

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com and mumbaifilmfestival.com.

Best Bollywood Thrillers 2015 (10+1list)

Best Bollywood Thrillers 2015.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Bollywood Thrillers 2015 – People in general are instinctively curious by nature, which obviously makes them so very fond of thrillers.

And 2015 has been indeed a thrilling year for Bollywood!

Enough murder mysteries, conspiracies and suspense dramas, be it fictional or based on real events, most of these films have managed to keep us guessing till the end.

So without any more introduction, let the list begin Bollywood Thrillers 2015.

10. Charlie Kay Chakkar Mein

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHzVCdpXBDc

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Multiple homicides caught on camera and now it is the job of the Commissioner of Police (Naseeruddin Shah) and his rookie assistant (Auroshikha Dey) to connect the clues and decipher the mysterious case. 

Directed by Manish Srivastav, a classic suspense drama based on the many definitions of truth, or may be the multiple perceptions of it.

9. Main Aur Charles

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOF9MlEOfuE

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015A biographical film on the charismatic con man and a deadly serial killer Charles Sobhraj. 

Directed by Prawaal Raman, the film focuses on his jail break, and also his master plan where every other person is a pawn in the game.

Randeep Hooda brilliantly played the lead, supported by Richa ChaddaTisca Chopra and Adil Hussain

8. Baby

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yu_2nyOP5o

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015As part of a Counter Intelligence Unit, an elite team is desperate to prevent a terrorist attack on India.  

Directed by Neeraj Pandey, this one is a thrilling espionage drama full of tense heart racing moments and well choreographed action.

Akshay Kumar taking the lead, the film also has Danny DenzongpaRana DaggubatiKay Kay MenonAnupam Kher and Rasheed Naz among others.

7. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG–GOpi_0g

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Saradindu Bandopadhyay’s renowned Bengali detective is back in action; he is young, ambitious and ready to learn from his mistakes.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Dibakar Banerjee, and Sushant Singh Rajput in the lead; set in the 1940’s Calcutta, a mysterious case needs the attention of Mr.Byomkesh.

6.  Badlapur

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KEoZanqlOE

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Directed by Sriram Raghavan, a unique thrilling tale of injustice and revenge.

The film is unusually realistic with strong and well motivated characters.

(Click for the review)

Brilliant performances by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Varun Dhawan, accompanied by Radhika ApteVinay Pathak and Divya Dutta.

5. Nh10

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9icNqWlylw

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015A perfect romantic trip turns into a nightmare.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Navdeep Singh, this is one hard hitting thriller where a urban woman experiences the brutal face of rural India, as she unintentionally becomes involved in a case of honor killing.

Anushka Sharma‘s best performance till date.

4. Rahasya

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvm-KpdRrbk

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Directed by Manish Gupta, a film that is loosely inspired by the Arushi murder case.

A doctor accused of killing his own daughter, but the evidences somehow doesn’t add up. Kay Kay Menon as the CBI investigating officer finally brings justice to this mysterious case.

A perfect thriller with solid performances by Ashish Vidyarthi and Tisca Chopra

3. Drishyam

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuuX2j14NBg

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015A thrilling tale of a common man who by his intellect and imagination tricked everyone in order to save his family.

Directed by Nishikant Kamat, a south remake starring Ajay DevgnShriya Saran and Tabu.

A thriller that keeps you on the edges of your seat and doesn’t reveal the suspense till the last shot of the film.

2. Talvar

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQNMsw8Ljjc

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Directed by Meghna Gulzar, this one is a well researched version of the Noida Double Murder Case of 2008, also known as the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case.

(Click for the review)

Very natural performances by Irrfan KhanKonkona Sen SharmaNeeraj Kabi and Sohum Shah among others.

One of the best realistic thrillers of this year. 

  1.  Titli

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOqiQiMkXDA

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015A family whose family-business is car-jacking, often violently abusing the passengers and looting their valuables.

The youngest member of this family is named Titli (Shashank Arora), and this is his story of freedom.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Kanu Behl, the film is nominated in the Cannes Film Festival, a gritty thriller that shouldn’t be missed.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. Kajarya

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_1jBPqL9K8

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Directed by Madhureeta Anand, this one is not the ideal Bollywood thriller you expect but nevertheless, a very significant film of this year.

(Click for the review)

It focuses on the issue of female infanticide and tells a dangerous tale of murder, betrayal and injustice. Brilliant performance by Meenu Hooda

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of 2016

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of recent times

Poster courtesy: filmywave.commovies80.com

Talvar (2015)

Talwar review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

A superbly well researched fictional representation.

My Ratings: 4.1/5.

The Noida double murder case (Noida, Uttar Pradesh) also known as the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case was all over the papers in 2008 (exact date of the tragedy 15-16 May).

14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was found dead (her throat slit) and the maid servant Hemraj was the prime suspect (since he was missing).

One day later, Hemraj’s partially decomposed body (throat slit) was discovered on the terrace of the Talwar’s residence. 

Talvar-Poster2The case attracted extreme level of press attention and public curiosity since it was like a live whodunit film with numerous plot-twists, and steadily being revealed through the daily ruthless media updates.

Soon the police accused Aarushi’s parents Dr. Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar for both the murders openly in the media and termed the murders as a case of honour killings

But then, without much satisfactory results the case got transferred to the CBI.

Finally in 2015, the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case is actually been made into a whodunit film but fortunately it seems that Vishal Bhardwaj (writer) and Meghna Gulzar (director) have done their research very well and the film Talwar reflects a more or less unbiased overview of the tragic case.

A tight script that makes you involved right from the start.

With terrific performances by actors like Irrfan Khan (as CBI investigating officer), Konkona Sen Sharma (as Nupur Talwar), Neeraj Kabi (as Rajesh Talwar) and Gajraj Rao (police officer), Talvar-Posterthe film Talwar narrates such a gripping tale that it’s often difficult for the audience to remember that after all it’s a fictional representation of the dismal crime and its aftermath.

Talwar also reminds us of the uncomfortable reality about the ignorance and inefficiency of the Indian police force (specially in the small towns); probably the same reason why we unconsciously enjoy our Singhams and Dabanggs so much. 

And then the official politics in the CBI like any other bureaucracy; the contamination of evidence, the sudden change in the statements of the witness and the utter lack of motivation to seek the truth.

There is no end of controversies involving this particular case and till date people are fighting for justice or may be against injustice.

As the latest Bollywood trend continues and more films are made on real events/tragedies, we the audience can’t help but convince ourselves time and again that indeed reality can be stranger than fiction!
A film that is definitely worth your time.

Poster curtsey: en.wikipedia.orgwww.livemint.comhttp://indiatoday.intoday.in 

Rituparno Ghosh – the most courageous director of our time

Rituparno Ghosh – the most courageous director of our time.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

12 National awards and many international ones tagged to his name; Rituparno Ghosh is one of India’s most proclaimed director of all times.

unishe-april-posterHe was also a writer, actor, lyricist and a brilliant television talk-show host!

His second film Unishe April won the National Award in the year 1995 and announced the arrival of a Bengali director who has bestowed himself with the responsibility of continuing the tradition of making classy Bengali films which are both intellectual and entertaining at the same time.

Not an easy task since his predecessors were globally influential stalwarts; the likes of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak.   

last-lear-posterNow, if one cares to analyze the time when Rituparno Ghosh started his career (in the early 90s), evidently it was the time when Bengali Cinema was going through a tough phase.

Throughout the 80s there was this trend of commercializing Bengali films which apparently meant a desperate attempt to ape the popular Bollywood culture of elaborate songs and action sequences. And thus happened this major shift in the trend of Bengali Cinema – from the earlier artistic films to the so-called ‘commercially entertaining’ ones.

In the year 1991 Satyajit Ray won the National award for his last feature film Agantuk. By that time, apart from a handful of film-makers like Goutam GhoseAparna Sen and Buddhadev Dasgupta, the Bengali film industry was flooded with mediocre directors and their mass-pleasing movies.

badiwali-posterBengali industry was in need for someone to create a balance between the traditional arty films and the commercial ones and Rituparno Ghosh was THE director who had the courage and the capability to fill-up this vacuum!

The success of Unishe April was followed by superb films like DahanBariwaliUtsabChokher BaliRaincoatDosarAbohomaanShob Charitro KalponikNoukadubiChitrangada and many more.

More than two decades of Rituparno’s magical cinemas.

Dosar-posterIn the early phase of Rituparno’s film-making career his films mostly portrayed the middle-class Bengali families, their desires and despairs. This was probably his most successful phase as he skillfully intersected the typical average Bengali household and delicately revealed it’s secrets to us.

He worked with many talented Tollywood actors like Prasenjit ChatterjeeDebashree RoyRaima SenTota Roy ChowdhuryKonkona Sen SharmaAparna SenIndrani HaldarDipankar DeyMithun ChakrabortyChiranjitRupa GangulyMamata ShankarJishu Sengupta and others.

Raincoat-PosterThen came the phase when he would make films not only in Bengali but also in English and Hindi and his star-cast would be mostly actors and actress from Bollywood. He has worked with Aishwarya Rai BachchanSharmila TagoreNandita DasJackie ShroffAbhishek BachchanSoha Ali KhanAmitabh BachchanAjay DevgnAnnu KapoorKiron KherPreity ZintaArjun RampalDivya DuttaManisha KoiralaBipasha Basu and others.

And in the last phase of his career he mostly made films on stories that dealt with sexuality. These bold films were probably more personal to him since Rituparno himself was openly homosexual and in the last years of his life he also explored a transgender lifestyle. 

chitrangada-posterHe once said “It is for me to decide whether I will stand in the queue for men or for women or neither of the two.”

Towards the end of his career Rituparno Ghosh also acted in a few films like Aarekti Premer GolpoMemories in March and Chitrangada.

A great admirer of Rabindranath Tagore, a researcher of the epic book Mahabharata and an ardent fan of Satyajit Ray – Rituparno Ghosh, a person who loved cinema and was loved by all.

One of those rare directors whose films received the peak of both critical and commercial acclaim.

As film-maker Goutam Ghose remembered him after Rituparno’s death on 30 May 2013 – 

dahan-poster“His films, with their sensitive portrayal of human relationships, anguish, trauma and love in a fast-changing, post-liberalization India charmed audiences. His brilliant story-telling reflected contemporary society like never before. While his death creates a tremendous void that can never be filled, Rituparno’s work blazed a trail that has paved the way for an entire generation of filmmakers who have dared to be different. It was Rituparno who gave them the courage.”

A salute to the most courageous film-maker of our time.