Tag Archives: Satyajit Ray

In Conversation with Sanjeev Gupta – director of the award winning film Q

In Conversation with Sanjeev Gupta – director of the award winning film Q

interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Hello Sanjeev, welcome to Cinema Forensic.

Thank you!

Your debut film ‘Q’ have already taken rounds in some of the most prestigious national and international festivals, and now it’s being released on Netflix! How do you feel about it?

Ya, it feels great!

sanjeev gupta photo 1Q has been selected in many festivals around the world and the response has always been positive.

Earlier I did plan for a theatrical release for my film but while waiting for the CBFC’s response I got the opportunity to show it to Netflix. And I instantly went for it and it got selected as well. I feel so lucky that they have picked up Q. Netflix, as a platform, has a huge audience across 180 countries. That’s the best part. With a deal like this, you know your film will be internationally watched.

Congratulations on the film’s release! Now tell me something about your film Q, what is it about and how did you come up with this concept?

Q is a film about a little girl and her relations with people surrounding her, and then those who come in contact with her, and their combined destiny as the characters go through an incredible journey that comes to an unpredictable end.

Actually I keep watching many documentaries and take much interest in the news and other world affairs. So this concept of Q is Q landscape posterinspired through many such real events that I happened to notice over the time. Though not based on one particular incident, my film is a fictional version of many such realities of life.

And since it’s a very realistic story it needed a realistic treatment as well. No background music used in the film, only Foley sounds and on location recorded natural ambience sounds. I wanted to make sure the audience feel the realism and be a part of it.

That’s  brilliant! Tell me something about you, how did you get inclined in making films, when did you decide to be a filmmaker?

I grew up in Agra and was always into films but never thought it will be my profession of course (smiles).

But then I watched one particular film Shatranj Ke Khilari by none other than Satyajit Ray and it did change something in me. I started gollapudi-srinivas-national-award-2014-111looking at films in a different way! Then, after my degree in Media Studies from Pune, I came to Mumbai and tried to assist people to learn the craft of making movies. But since I had no connection in the film industry I didn’t get any exposure. I did various odd jobs and side by side went on exploring filmmaking.

Finally I wrote my own script and started to narrate it to individual producers and production houses. Then after facing numerous rejections I finally met my producer who believed in me.

And that is how my first film ‘Q’ got made (smile).

Don’t you think that with films like Q you Independent filmmakers are the reason why the indie-film scenario is improving in India?

Yes may be it does. But honestly I have a problem when some filmmakers are called independent filmmakers and some not.

IMG-20140929-WA0006Today I choose to make “Q” and tomorrow I may choose to direct a fantasy film or a VFX film, may be even supported by some production house. But ultimately it’s my films, my story and my way of telling them. I even don’t like such categories like, festival film, theatrical film or an online film – films are films, stories are stories and filmmakers are filmmakers!

All the images are exclusively provided only for the use of this article.

  • Share on Tumblr

BEST BENGALI FILMS 2015 – 2016 (10+1list)

Best Bengali Films 2015 – 2016

written by Souranath Banerjee

Hello to all you Bengali ‘nak uchu’ snobs who consider Bengali Cinema/Literature/Music as the epitome of art and creativity – well, glad to announce that I am exactly like you!

And when ever we Bengalis talk about Cinema, we time travel to the memorable glorious past of Bengali Cinema – the days of Satyajit RayMrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak and then coming back to the present we proudly allude to the likes of Rituparno GhoshBuddhadev DasguptaGautam GhoseAparna Sen.

Such legendary directors and their invaluable contribution to World Cinema make us feel honoured and content, and why not?

Similar Interest: Best Bengali Films 2012 – 2014

Similar Interest: Best Bengali Classic Comedies of all times

However this current list is of more recent times, the last two years to be exact (2015 – 2016), a list of the best Bengali films from exceptionally talented directors who are very much the present and the future of Bengali Film Industry!

Best Bengali Films 2015 – 2016 – let the countdown begin!

10. Double Feluda (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1V7VWYKbeI

Double-Feluda-posterSandip Ray have made his latest film on none other than two back to back mystery stories originally written by Satyajit Ray, based on the famous detective character Feluda!

And guess what, Sabyasachi Chakraborty is back in and as Feluda and still rocking! And then of course we have Saheb Bhattacharjee as Topshe and Paran Banerjee as Sidhu Jetha. I only wish that somebody could replace Mr.Lalmohan Ganguly aka Jatayu aka Santosh Dutta as well. I guess some people are just irreplaceable!

9. Belaseshe (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0zUrtioA2g

belaseshe-posterDirected by Shibprasad Mukhopadhyay and Nandita Roy, probably the best film that explores the intricate emotional values of various human relationships, be it married or unmarried, short time or a life-long companionship!

Brilliant chemistry between Soumitra Chatterjee and Swatilekha Sengupta straight after they shared the screen in Satyajit Ray‘s Ghare-Baire in the year 1984.

8. Byomkesh O Chiriakhana (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjc4ogHSOo0

Byomkesh-O-Chiriakhana-posterIt seems that the Bengali-audience can never have enough of their favourite detective Mr.Byomkesh Bakshi.

Directed by Anjan Dutt, this thriller revolves around the murder of a judge and this time Jishu Sengupta plays the role of the typical ‘bhodrolok’ sleuth to perfection. And Saswata Chatterjee as Byomkesh’s friend/assistant Ajit and Usashi Chakraborty as Byomkesh’s wife Satyabati.

7. Shankhachil (2016)

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

shankhachil-posterAcclaimed director Goutam Ghose‘s latest film won the National Award for Best Bengali film of 2016!  

It’s a India-Bangladesh joint venture and the story is also based on consequences of partition and how people get affected by it still today.

Commendable performances by child artist Shajbati and then of course Prasenjit Chatterjee, Kusum SikderDipankar Dey all have given their best. 

6. Eagoler Chokh (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oZZkXdFRS0

Eagoler-Chokh-posterBased on Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay‘s story and directed by Arindam Sil this is the best detective thriller among the endless Bengali-detective movies that had been churned out in the last year.

The investigator Shabor Dasgupta played perfectly by Saswata Chatterjee slowly connects the dots as he cracks a murder case of a young woman.

Ebar Shabor, by the same director and based on the same detective character is also worth your time.

5. Chotoder Chobi (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8xRKKtL2Oo

chotoder-chobi-posterAn emotional heart-touching love story between two people born with genetic defect causing dwarfism.

Directed by Kaushik Ganguly, this slow-pace drama won a National Award in the ‘Best Film on Other Social Issues’ category.

Unique concept, superb direction and brilliant natural performances by Debalina Roy and Dulal Sarkar. Mr.Dulal Sarkar was also awarded best-actor at Goa International Film Festival last year.

4. Nirbashito (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iang3nizjTE

nirbashito-posterA biography of a writer in exile, a story about her isolation, her hopes and her helplessness – officially not based on the life of controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen but rather inspired by her life post exile.

Directed and also performed by Churni Ganguly, the film won the National Award for Best Bengali film of 2015 and also was India’s Oscar nomination in the category “Best foreign film” in 2015!

3. Open Tee Bioscope (2015)

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

open-tee-bioscope-posterAdolescence, adventures and experiences, friends and infatuations – Kolkata seen through the eyes of a young boy.

Superb performances by the young actors Riddhi Sen,  Surangana Banerjee,  Dhee Majumder.

Directed by Anindya Chatterjee and Shoojit Sircar, if you want to experience the nostalgic North Kolkata of the 90s, this is the film you should watch!

2. Cinemawala (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9_lUiinpFo

cinemawala-posterThis film beautifully takes on two different tussles – one, as the digital media threatens the single screen movie theatres specially in the small towns and the secondly, the universal clash between a father and his son.

Brilliantly performed by Paran Banerjee and Parambrata Chatterjee and directed by Kaushik Ganguly, an emotional tale that Cinema-lovers cannot miss. 

  1. Praktan (2016)

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

praktan-poster

A married woman meets her ex husband while they are on a journey from Mumbai to Howrah by train – a beautiful film about relations and relationships.

Directed by Shibprasad Mukhopadhyay and Nandita Roy, probably the most popular Bengali film of the last couple of years portraying a brilliant chemistry between Prasenjit Chatterjee and Rituparna Sengupta.

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

+1. Asha Jaoar Majhe (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFObwB9TAwc

Labour-of-Love-Poster1Also known as Labour of Love, this is one unique film that won two National Awards and was appreciated in many festivals around the world.

(click for the review)

Directed by Aditya Vikram Sengupta, starring  Ritwick Chakraborty and Basabdatta Chatterjee this is one of the best non-comercial visual treat that happened to the Bengali Industry in the recent times.

A few other films that are also worth your time are Srijit Mukherji‘s Rajkahini (2015), Suman Mukhopadhyay‘s The Last Poem (2015), Pavel‘s Babar Naam Gandhiji (2015) and Suman Ghosh‘s Kadambari (2015).

 Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

  • Share on Tumblr

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.

  • Share on Tumblr

An Actor – Farooq Sheikh

Writing about Farooq Sheikh has been the toughest. Despite being, one of the greats Hindi Cinema has produced, there is so little to read about him, either in books or even on the internet. All that you know about this gifted actor is through his films and the characters which he played. Farooq Sheikh was one of the pioneer actors in the New Indian Cinema along with Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri. Yet he was not them.Farooq was one actor who had always underplayed himself. When he was asked once, that what he thinks of himself as an actor, he replied saying that he is a very lazy actor who hasn’t achieved much but is happy for what he has achieved. His brutal honesty towards himself is what people loved in him. He never ever got ambitious in his life.

Farooq was labelled as an actor who never had any commercial viability. But he had no regrets accepting this tag. In an interview, he had even accepted his failure at being ‘not so famous’, and still be proud of what he was. He had told, “I have never been commercially viable: People recognise me, smile and wave at me — but I have never received marriage proposals written in blood. In his heydeys, when Rajesh Khanna drove down a street, the traffic stopped — I don’t mind not receiving this kind of adulation. But I do miss not having been able to command the kind of work I wanted. I miss not being 100 per cent commercially viable.

He was a gem in the art film corridors of our industry. Yet, he was different in the way other actors of the same genre went about themselves. Farooq didn’t do an ‘ArdhSatya’ or an ‘Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyo Aata hai’, yet he was present with his own finesse and style in films like ‘Chashme Buddoor, Kissi Se Na Kehna’.

Farooq Sheikh_Chasme Buddoor_Ravi Baswani_Rakesh Bedi_Bollywoodirect

Farooq Sheikh in Garam Hawa_Balraj Sahni_M S Sathyu_Bollywoodirect

Those who adore Farooq, are normally the ones who have seen ‘Chashme Badoor’. His absence from the film scene in the 90s almost made him forgotten for once and all. Television and theatre had then kept Farooq going. His, first love, was theatre. IPTA came as a breath of fresh air in his life after his short stint as a lawyer began to frustrate him. His acting prowess was seen at IPTA and then came the big break with M.S. Sathyu’s Garam Hawa for which he did not take a single penny.

Ironically,  ‘Garam Hawa’ proved to be the cool breeze every young actor needs at the start of his or career. What followed was something that even Farooq had not expected of himself. Satyajit Ray offered him to play Aqeel in ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’. This was not one of the best Satyajit Ray had filmed, as per the critics but this film definitely fulfilled Farooq’s dream to work with the legend Satyajit Ray himself.

Rekha_Farooq Sheikh in Umrao Jaan_Bollywoodirect

Farooq was a brave actor back then; he would choose movies no other actor would dare to say yes to. A case in point is ‘Umrao Jaan’. This film was all about Rekha and in those times when male-dominated films existed, I am sure it was a tough call as a male actor to do Nawab Sultan. Even the poster of the film had Rekha all over it.

With ‘Noorie’, he announced that he could deliver single-handedly. ‘Noorie’ went on to become the seventh highest-grossing film that year. For someone like Farooq, this would be a straight jacket entry into mainstream cinema as ‘Noorie’ was a Yash Chopra film. But he never let anyone categorised him. He did whatever came his way and this is why we see such diversified roles done by him in such a short period of time. If in ‘Katha’, he was the ‘Hare’ who liked chatting a lot and boasting about himself to woo people then in ‘Sath-Sath’, he played a stern man who could not sacrifice his principles. Then, in Bazaar, he was entirely in a  different story. This versatility in him created an image for himself in the industry. Farooq Sheikh could do a ‘Siddharth’ in Chasme Buddoor with the same ease he did ‘Basu’ in Katha. All these films became classics with time. and Farooq had a major role to play in making them one.

But despite these great performances, what he got were just appreciations in the form of good reviews and the tag of ‘good actor’. It was, finally, in the year 2010 that we saw him getting the National award for the best actor in a supporting role for ‘Lahore’ – a film that won several accolades around the globe. This recognition came much later to Farooq who deserved more than what he got. But as he was Farooq  Sheikh, these things – awards and recognition- never mattered to him.

I have written how he wasn’t an ambitious man. It was for this reason that he did even the smaller roles with the same excitement and vigour. Despite him being lost from the film scene in the 90s, he had no ego whatsoever to do serials like ‘Chamatkaar’ and ‘Ji Mantri Ji’.

And who can forget ‘Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai’, one of the best show Indian Television has produced and undoubtedly, the main reason for the show to get engraved in our memories was Farooq Sheikh. He wasn’t very glamorous and fizzy in the way he anchored. He was simple, genuine, calm in the way he handled the guests at his show. In two simple words, he was just Farooq Sheikh. Clad in Kurta and Pyjama, a dress he wore the most in his last 15 years of life, Farooq made sure there was no boredom in the show.

farooq sheikh_Deepti Naval_Bollywoodirect

It is not correct to say that he wasn’t an aware star. Those who knew him on- screen, they loved him. And those who know him off-screen, they adored him for being a person that he was. Deepti Naval remembers him as a man who was part of her career. She acted with him in as many as nine films. For her, he was a constant part of her professional as well as personal lives.

After his funeral procession was over, teary-eyed Shabana Azmi came out and said, “There will be no ‘Tumhari Amrita’ Without Farooq. The curtains have fallen.” ‘Tumhari Amrita’ was one play which both of these greats had been performing for the last twenty years till 2013. In early December of 2013, Shabana and Farooq had performed the play in Agra and after the completion of play, Shabana had told him, “Let it be our last play, Farooq. I believe this should be the end of ‘Tumhari Amrita’ to which he resisted, “Why! I think we should do this role for another 20 years to come!” After two weeks or so, Farooq Sheikh left the world leaving everyone shocked.

Written By: Shubham Pandey 

Caution: The opinion expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the author. Cinemaforensic/Bollywoodirect is not responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information/Opinion, facts appearing in it do not reflect the views of Bollywoodirect & Bollywoodirect doesn’t assume any responsibility or liability of the same.

Featured article from Bollywoodirect.

  • Share on Tumblr

Sukumar Ray A Documentary By Satyajit Ray

‘Sukumar Ray’ – Screenplay & Direction: Satyajit Ray 

1987, India. Documentary, 30 min, Color
Producer: Govt. of West BengalCredits

Narration: Soumitra Chatterjee 

Cinematography: Barun Raha 

Editing: Dulal Dutta 

Art Direction: Ashoke Bose 

Sound: Sujit Sarkar 

Music: Satyajit RayCast: Soumitra Chatterjee, Utpal Dutt, Santosh Dutt, Tapen ChatterjeeSummary.

The film presents the life and work of the writer Sukumar Ray, Satyajit Ray’s father. Ray made this film as a tribute to celebrate the centenary of his birth. The film comprises still photographs and readings from Sukumar Ray’s writings.

Comments
Sukumar Ray (1887-1923), the eldest son of Upendra Kishore, studied printing technology in England and joined the family business. He was an eminent poet, writer and illustrator of nonsense literature in the tradition of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear.Sukumar Ray fell ill the year Satyajit Ray was born with a dreaded tropical disease of the time – Kala-azar. He regularly contributed poems, stories and illustrations to ‘Sandesh’, a children’s magazine in Bengali which Satyajit Ray’s grandfather had started publishing and printing.

Featured article from Bollywoodirect.Courtesy: Sshoibal youtube channel

  • Share on Tumblr

Bhuvan Shome – the beginning of the Indian New Wave/Art house Cinema

Bhuvan Shome – the beginning of the Indian New Wave/Art house Cinema.

written by Souranath Banerjee

In history we have witnessed many revolutions; be it the political revolts of common men against some tyrant, or simply a revolution of ideas (scientific, social, economical or cultural) that seemed to challenge and unshackle the primeval customs and convictions of the society.

Cinema being the most significant collective art-form that plays a pivotal role in developing and mirroring the different cultures has also been revolutionized many a times and always for good.

Mrinal-Sen-with-Satyajit-Ray-posterItalian Neorealism, the French New Wave, the Japanese New Wave – and then, finally it was India’s turn to surf the waves of experimentation. 

Renowned directors (the neo-realists as they were called) like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal SenRitwik GhatakKhwaja Ahmad AbbasTapan SinhaChetan AnandBimal RoyGuru DuttV. Shantaram, later joined by Shyam BenegalAdoor GopalakrishnanG. AravindanBuddhadeb Dasgupta, and Girish Kasaravalli, inspired by the foreign film movements made films that were unorthodox in both style and execution.

mrinal-sen-posterThe already popular ‘parallel cinema’ became more radical and avant-garde.

And thus in the late 60s, Indian Cinema was revolutionized once again and it was the birth of the ‘new wave of Indian Cinema’, popularly known as the ‘art house’ cinema.

It is said that Mrinal Sen‘s epic film Bhuvan Shome (1969) along with Mani Kaul‘s Uski Roti and Basu Chatterjee‘s Sara Akash were the very first creations of the Indian New Wave.

bhuvan-shome-poster1Based on a Bengali story written by Banaphool (Balai Chand Mukhopadhya), Bhuvan Shome was Mrinal Sen’s first film in Hindi language.

It had the first appearance of Suhasini Mulay as an actor, ace cinematographer K.K. Mahajan‘s first feature, first music composition for a film by Vijay Raghava Rao and also the first ever voiceover given by none other than Amitabh Bachchan (he wasn’t even introduced as an actor at the time).

That year the film bagged three National Awards Best Feature FilmBest Director and also the Best Actor (Utpal Dutt).

But more importantly, Mrinal Sen introduced a new kind of film-language that was innovative and amusing to both the audience and the critics of Indian Cinema.

bhuvan-shome-poster3The basic story line of Bhuvan Shome is surprisingly uncomplicated.

The lead character named Bhuvan Shome (brilliantly played by Utpal Dutt) is a high-posted railway official, a widower (probably in his late 40s) and also an authoritarianwho steps out of his mundane office routine with the intention of playing the hunter.

But after being touched by the beauty of nature and then an encounter with a sweet and mysterious village girl Gauri (Suhasini Mulay), Mr. Bhuvan Shome’s perspective of judgement changes and he finally learns to relax and enjoy life. 

bhuvan-shome-poster4Though the interpretation of the film is often made from a highly cynical overview – that Bhuvan Shome’s character was actually manipulated by the not-so-innocent villager girl Gauri whose (only) real motive was to save her husband’s job. But again that’s debatable.

In an interview director Mrinal Sen interestingly pointed out: Our intention was never to tame a tough bureaucrat. On the contrary, our intention was to “corrupt” a bureaucrat suffering from Victorian morality.

Probably it was Mrinal Sen’s first attempt to satirize the Indian bureaucracy and indeed a successful one.

Shot mostly in the deserts of Gujarat (such locations were also rarely used that time) the film cleverly exploits the city-to-village contrast scenario – the bullock carts and the muddy roads, the hospitable simple-minded villagers and the picturesque flock of flamingos!

Superbly innovative editing by Raju NaikGangadhar Naskar and Dinkar Shetye.

Right from the first shot of the railway tracks (from the point-of-view of the fast moving train perfectly synced with classical alap) to the creative documentary format of narration and then the extensive use of still frames, use of live footages and also the innovative utilization of animation – Bhuvan Shome was the most stylized and inventive film of that time.

bhuvan-shome-poster2A film so deliberately diverging from the general norms and trends of filmmaking and yet such a visual treat for the cinema lovers. An exceptional artistic triumph!

Bhuvan Shome was Mrinal Sen’s most successful film and also one of the first feature that trumpets the beginning of a new era in Indian Cinema – the rise of Indian New Wave/Art house cinema.

Photo Courtesy: www.mrinalsen.orgPhoto (Sen & Ray) Clicked By: Nemai Ghosh.

  • Share on Tumblr

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.

  • Share on Tumblr

Badshahi Angti (2014)

Written by – Abhikendu Deb Roy.

Ratings: 3/5.

They say, when you watch a film, you must never draw comparisons to the novel it has been adapted from, nor should you keep the previous installments in mind.

But, inevitably, when you hear the nostalgic tunes composed by the master Satyajit Ray himself, you are bound to get reminded of the frames from Rajasthan and Benaras as portrayed by Ray.

Director Sandip Ray is back with another adaptation of his father’s detective novel series ‘Feluda‘ with a totally new Feluda in Abir Chatterjee and a fresh face Sourav Das in Topshe, the sleuth’s nephew and stalwart partner.

It is a big challenge to fill in the shoes of Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabyasachi Chakraborty, as the famous sleuth Prodosh Chandra Mitter. Expectations were soaring high from him, but Abir is inconsistent as the private investigator.

Badshahi-angti-posterOne of the major notable characteristics of Feluda is that his eyes does the majority of the talking. Unfortunately, Abir falls short in that aspect. Feluda is a far more composed character with an amicable personality.

After the likes of Siddhartha Chatterjee, Saswata Chatterjee, Parambrata Chatterjee and Shaheb Bhattacharjee, newcomer Saurav Das handles the role of Topshe and disappoints us to the core. He looks the part but his dialogue delivery and expressions are worth criticizing, so much so that he becomes irritating and superfluous. Topshe was clearly missed in this installment of the series.

Apart from them, the rest of the cast are worth a watch, with Paran Banerjee impressing us with his new look.

Shot vastly in Lucknow, cinematographer Sirsha Ray handles the frames nicely and brings to us the Lucknowi feel through his lens and vision. The historical monuments like the Bara Imambara looks amazing the film, but the Bhool Bhulaiyya within the Bara Imambara could have been shot in a wiser manner.

Also, the special effects look very amateurish and surely needed a better supervision. Subroto Roy manages to keep the film crisp and tight with his editing and wraps up the film within 110 minutes.

I cannot and I should not comment about the ‘Feluda Theme’ as it still gives me goosebumps, no matter how much remastered it may be. The rest of the background score by Sandip Ray is ho-hum and could have been improvised upon to make the pace of the film alive.

badshahi-angti-poster2Sandip Ray tries hard to recreate magic on screen yet again with his father’s legendary works, but he somehow cannot keep up to the expectations, specially with a newer and a weaker cast.

The script is a rip-off of the ‘Badshahi Angti’ novel by Ray. So it doesn’t really give us a chance to find flaws and it is one of the major reasons that this Christmas release may and will find takers at the box-office.

Sandip Ray keeps the suspense evolving till the last reel of the film unlike his previous installments and tries to instigate the audience to use their grey cells.

Final Verdict: There is always a sense of nostalgia when it comes to Feluda. So you might give this a watch this year-end just for the master’s story. Jatayu (read: Santosh Dutta), you were severely missed

 
 
  • Share on Tumblr

Best Bengali Films 2012 – 2014 (10+1list)

Best Bengali Films 2012 – 2014.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

We the Bengalis! The self-proclaimed intellectuals!

We have to watch films, especially Bengali Films and then give a detailed analytical review of them. Yes, we have to!

In our infamous ‘adda’ sessions, along with politics and football we Bengalis are also keen to show off our critical knowledge of Cinema. We proudly rate our favourite movies and passionately defend our preferred directors – believe me, these loud yet friendly squabbles can go on for months!

Mostly we time travel to the memorable glorious past of Bengali Cinema – the days of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak and then coming back to the present we proudly allude to the likes of Rituparno Ghosh, Buddhadev Dasgupta, Gautam GhoseAparna Sen.

Such legendary directors and their invaluable contribution to World Cinema make us feel honoured and content, and why not?

However this current list is of more recent times, the last three years to be exact (2012 – 2014), a list of the best Bengali films from exceptionally talented directors who are very much the present and the future of Bengali Film Industry!

Let the countdown begin!

10. Ramdhonu (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV5ipEs1_zk

Ramdhanu-poster

A fun-filled story of a 5-year old kid’s struggle or rather his parent’s struggle to get him admitted in a decent school.

The director duo Shiboprosad MukherjeeNandita Roy has done it again. Brilliant acting by Shiboprosad and Gargi Roy Chowdhury.

A serious issue addressed with a comic touch. Entertaining.

9. Hrid Majhare: Live in my Heart! (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrcoSaBZsl0

Hrid-Majharey-Poster

With the perfect essence of a Shakespearean tragedy this is a film that weaves a beautiful tale of love, jealousy and destiny.

(click for the review)

Writer-director Ranjan Ghosh creates a terrific psychological drama; very well supported by Abir Chatterjee and Raima Sen.

This film will make you think twice before falling in love.

8. Hemlock Society (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9KCaYzHYG0

Hemlock-Society-poster

Is there such a society that teaches the right techniques to commit suicide?!

The concept itself is unique enough and on top of that brilliant performance by Parambrata Chatterjee and Koyel Mallick.

Writer-Director Srijit Mukherji is one of the best in this business and he proves it time and again.

7. Apur Panchali (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxKylESYoa0

apur-panchali-poster

Hat’s off to Kaushik Ganguly for this brilliant theme; the film is based on the child actor who played the iconic role of Apu in Satyajit Ray’s  Pather Panchali. 

(click for the review)

Inspired by Subir Banerjee’s real life story, Parambrata ChatterjeeArdhendu Banerjee and Parno Mitra gives their best. And then the in-between montages from Pather Panchali makes us nostalgic.

6. Aparajita Tumi (2012)

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

Aparajita-Tumi-poster

Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury creates another enticing drama, a plot that involves both love and betrayal, loneliness and friendship.   

Prasenjit Chatterjee utilized to his full potential, PadmapriyaKamalinee Mukherjee perfectly suited in their respective roles. 

A slow paced film that absorbs you into the story, beautiful camera work and edited.

5. Chotuskone (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uNrGCBIgo0

chotushkone-poster

The latest from director Srijit Mukherji, a perfect mystery, four directors, four stories, all blending in at the end! 

(click for the review)

When old friends reunite and discuss their stories – four stories but with a common theme – death. Outstanding performances by Parambrata ChatterjeeChiranjitGoutam Ghose and Aparna Sen

4. Phoring (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TWCydqcJ7w

Phoring-Poster

A relatively less known film but one of the best i have recently seen.

Indranil Roychowdhury has successfully created the world of an adolescent boy, his thoughts, his dreams, his innocence and his lust. 

Both Akash Adhikari and Sohini Sarkar did great. Phoring has received many international awards  and believe me the film deserves all the applause.

3. Bhooter Bhabishyat (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg7OYuc7a5I

Bhooter-bhabishyat-poster

Probably the most popular film of recent times, a superb comedy, uniquely crafted and built up.

Swastika Mukherjee, Sabyasachi ChakrabortySamadarshi DuttaMumtaz SorcarParan BanerjeeMir Afsar AliKharaj Mukherjee and many more.

A variety of characters and intelligent dialogues – director Anik Dutta gives us a super hit.

2. Shabdo (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miTB-lIAwQ4

Shobdo-poster

A professional foley artist – who creates sound effects for films seems to be too engrossed in his world of background sounds.

Not only the concept is unique but also the execution is superlative. Brilliant acting by Ritwick Chakraborty (his best till date) and also well supported by Churni Ganguly and Raima Sen.

Kaushik Ganguly‘s best till date.

1. Meghe Dhaka Tara (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZT5UEzQeDGg

meghe-dhaka-tara-poster

Director Kamaleswar Mukherjee teamed up with talented actor Saswata Chatterjee to create a masterpiece; a film on the life of acclaimed Bengali film director Ritwik Ghatak.

Shot in black and white, a film so well crafted and executed, it gives us a new perspective on the life of the legendary filmmaker.

One of the best film of the last decade – a must watch!

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

+1. Chitrangada (2012)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7prDTZhwA8U

chitrangada-poster

A tribute to the master director Rituparno Ghosh who unfortunately passed away last year. 

The film won the Silver Lotus Awards in the National Film Awards.  It is the story of a dancer and his wishes, his unfulfilled dreams.

Rituparno himself acted as the lead, supported by Jishu SenguptaAnjan Dutt and Dipankar Dey.

  • Share on Tumblr

The genius of Ritwik Ghatak

The genius of Ritwik Ghatak

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Renowned Indian Film Director Ritwik Ghatak made his first film Nagarik in 1952 (even before Satyajit Ray filmed Pather Panchali) but unfortunately the film was released twenty four years later, after the death of the director himself.

Probably Nagarik was the first art film of such caliber in the history of Indian Cinema but certainly never got the recognition it deserved.

Did Ritwik Ghatak himself got the recognition he deserved?

Well, I guess so.

Ritwik Ghatak was awarded Padma Sri for Arts in 1970 by the government of India.

His name is always taken in the same breath along with Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen considering them as the Best Indian/Bengali directors of all times.

Bagged the National Award for the story of his film Jukti Tokko Aar Goppo (Reason, Debate and a Story).

The popular film Madhumati (staring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, directed by Bimal Roy) got nominated in the Film Fare Award for the Best Story category and guess who wrote the story – Ritwik Ghatak.

Some of his films especially Meghe Dhaka Tara, Komal Gandhar, Subarnarekha, Ajantrik, Jukti Tokko Aar Goppo and Bari Theke Paliye are immensely appreciated and analysed by all the students in all the major film schools (especially in India).

Isn’t that enough recognition?

May be. May be not.

But one thing i can say with certainty – in this world some people doesn’t give a damn about other’s recognition and Ritwik Ghatak was one such genius.

His unique faming and composition techniques, his innovative sound designing, his realistic take on the society challenged the regular norms of film-making in that era.

In both conceptual and practical levels Ritwik Ghatak dared to be artistically different and he redefined Cinema in his own way.

Probably Ritwit Ghatak’s biggest recognition would be the influence he had (i am sure he still has) on the future generations of film makers including the likes of Kumar Shahani, Mani Kual, Mira Nair, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ketan Mehta, John Abraham among many others.

The genius of Ritwik Ghatak, his dedication towards cinema and his vision can be best expressed in his own words –

Film-making is not an esoteric thing to me. I consider film-making – to start with – a personal thing. If a person does not have a vision of his own, he cannot create.

I believe in committed cinema.
I mean, commitment in the broadest sense of the term.

  • Share on Tumblr