Tag Archives: bengali cinema

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.

Jalsaghar aka The music room (1958)

The Music Room Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4.9/5.

The original negative of the 1958 classic film Jalsaghar (The Music Room) was destroyed in a fire. Coincidentally the film was also about destruction!

Universally acclaimed director Satyajit Ray‘s forth feature, based on a popular short story by famous writer Tarashankar Bandopadhyay.

jalshaghar-poster1A tragic drama, Jalsaghar is a brutal tale of a man’s struggle against time; his desperate attempt to cease the inevitable degradation, a futile battle against the humiliation of an inescapable extinction.

Huzur Biswambhar Roy (Chhabi Biswas).

A feudal landlord with a remarkably fine taste in classical music and an illusion of misguided grandeur.

Set in the pre-independence era, Huzur Biswambhar Roy is the perfect portrait of an affluent egoistic zaminder from Bengal who is too shortsighted to see the decline of his own zamindari.

Huge family portraits hung from the walls of his palatial ancestral home. Accompanied by his loving wife Mahamaya (Padmadevi) and his adorable young son Bireswar aka Khoka (Pinaki Sengupta), served by the manager of the estate (Tulsi Lahiri) and his loyal servant (Kali Sarkar) among many others and entertained by the performances of the best classical musicians of that time in his own music room (jalsaghar) – Huzur Biswambhar Roy was habituated to such blissful The-Music-Room-posterlife of royal luxury. 

He even owned a horse named ‘Tufan’ and an elephant named ‘Moti’!

A pompous man too engrossed in his passion/addiction for music, too drunk in his own pride to notice that his so-called aristocracy and traditional authority is crumbing down to pieces.

With his insatiable urge of parading his supremacy over the new-age wealthy men like Mahim Ganguly (Gangapada Basu) Biswambhar Roy started draining all his family-wealth to arrange unique musical performances and extravagant family functions.

And then with the sudden tragic loss of his family Huzur is left alone – a grief-stricken aging man whose royalty seems to be fading away along with his wealth.

But does that mean he has also lost his zeal for music? His drive to show off his peerage by arranging yet another musical event in his favorite jalsaghar – may be for one last time!

‘To you my noble ancestors – to you!’ and Huzur Biswambhar Roy raises his wine glass as a toast to the portraits of his ancestors.

the-music-room-jalsagar

Chhabi Biswas brilliantly portrays the degradation of Huzur Biswambhar Roy’s character. He manages to capture the insanity that lurks in the shadowy corners of that once opulent ancestral house, the character’s frantic struggle to resist the changes of time, his disturbing denial of accepting the reality.

Huzur’s pet elephant ‘Moti’ (the ancient way of transport) is cleverly compared to Mahim Ganguly’s loud-honking car in one single shot; even the glowing candles at the Zaminder’s palace become a direct contrast to the monotonous sound of the electric generator from neighbour Mahim Ganguly’s place – Satyajit Ray perfectly establishes these conflicts between the old and the new without the need of many dialogues!

With the slow yet engaging narration Ray masterfully captures the mood of that period. He manages to control his audience in a subconscious level; it feels like the film seeps in and creates it’s own hypnotic spell. (More like the mild flavor of ‘muchkundo phul-er papdi’ in Huzur’s favorite sherbet).

The shooting was done at Nimtita Raajbari, in Nimtita village, 10 kms from Murshidabad.

In Jalsaghar the isolated palace becomes a symbol of Huzur’s loneliness.

The huge mirrors, the life size human paintings, the swinging chandeliers, the trapped insect in the wine glass, the crawling spider on Huzur’s portrait – master director Satyajit Ray with these amazing visuals managed to evoke a certain sense of danger and uneasiness throughout the film.

Special credit goes to Bansi Chandragupta for his brilliant art direction and production designing in the film.

Subrata Mitra’s smooth camera movements and Dulal Dutta‘s editing give Jalsaghar the tranquility it deserves.

Among many famous shots in the film – the one with the reflection of the bright chandelier on Biswambhar Roy’s wine glass can be also interpreted as the fading reflection (remembrance) of his good times, his lost days of happiness, glory and wealth.

Music for Jalsaghar is given by Ustad Vilayat Khan and Robin Majumdar.

jalshaghar-posterThe film has some of the best Hindustani classical musicians performing. On-screen performances by legends like Begum Akhtar, a duet by Roshan Kumari (dancing) and Ustad Waheed Khan (singing) and famous Tansen’s ‘Miya ki malhar’ performed by  Salamat Ali Khan.

Satyajit Ray’s style of introducing Indian classical music to such an extent challenged the general norm of songs and dance sequences in Indian films of that time.

For me Jalsaghar is primarily a psychological drama where Huzur Biswambhar Roy actually fights a battle with himself (his Ego to be more specific); he refuses to open his eyes to the evolving world around him.

Jalsaghar when released though didn’t work at the Indian box-office but received both critical and financial success in Europe and US and helped Ray earn huge international reputation. According to many Critics Jalsaghar is his best film.

Watch it in a relaxed mind (if you already haven’t) … such films are rare to find.

Additional read: The Music Room: Distant Music by Philip Kemp.

Similar Interest: Rituparno Ghosh – the most courageous director of our time

Similar Interest: Smita Patil – a powerhouse of talent

Similar Interest: Dilip Kumar – the man who redefined acting