Tag Archives: Dahan

Pink (2016)

Pink review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Powerful message in Bollywood style, and yet very entertaining!

My Ratings: 4/5.

‘Perfect film for our society boss, aise film aur banne chahiye yaar’ – these were the exact words of a man sitting in front of me in the cinema hall right after the end titles of the film Pink.

According to an Indian Express Article dated at the beginning of this damini-posteryear, the number of rape and molestation cases in India were recently at it’s peak. Unfortunately it’s a known fact.

Inspite of maximum cases not being reported, in Delhi alone last year (2015) there were six cases of rape and 15 cases of molestation registered every day!

Indian filmmakers have been tackling such grave and challenging social issues for a long time now; portraying them in a sensible manner and creating awareness through films like Ankush (1986), Insaf Ka Tarazu (1980), Damini (1993), Dahan (1998), Bawandar (2000), Grahan (2001) and more.

But then, coming back to the latest release Pink, this movie has somehow managed to sum up all the significant problems of our current Indian society and put them raw on a platter. And furthermore the film also succeeds in reminding us that the solution to these problems are very much within us (basically our mind-set) and can be countered only if we realise and act on it.

The story-line doesn’t seem too complicated at the first glance – three independent working-girls Minal, Falak and Andrea (Tapsee PannuKirti Kulhari and Andrea Tariang) get mixed up in a brawl pink-poster1with a group of rich influential guys (Angad BediVijay VarmaRaashul Tandon and Tushar Pandey) who had the intention to sexually harass them. The girls did protest but can they eventually fight back against the corruption and the feudal mentality of our current male-dominated society?

Who will help these girls win their battle for justice? (Hint: an actor named Amitabh Bachchan)

Superb performances by Mr.Bachchan as the cranky lawyer Deepak Sehgal wearing his spooky mask and all, probably one of his best roles in the recent times!

Tapsee Pannu and Kriti Kulhari have also displayed such amazing acting capabilities, subtle yet so natural!

Then of course we have Piyush Mishra as the challenging lawyer
pink-posteragainst Amitabh Bachchan in the dramatic court scenes, always a delight to watch him perform!

Also we have acting stalwarts like Dhritiman Chatterjee and Mamta Shankar in brief yet important roles.

But according to me the true success of Pink is not because of the film’s overall brilliance in the acting department; the real heroes are the writer Ritesh Shah and of course the director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury who has managed to balance such a sensitive topic so well. 

Shantanu Moitra‘s music perfectly complements the film while Shoojit Sircar rocks the show as the creative producer.

A few unnecessary dramatisations and distractions here and there, but overall pink is a film that connects to the audience and shoots it’s message across from a point blank range.

Go watch it.

Poster courtesy: www.bollywoodmdb.com

Best of Women-centric films (10+1list)

Best of Women-centric films

written by Souranath Banerjee

What exactly is the definition of a  ‘WCF’ aka ‘Women-centric Film’

color-purple-posterIs it just another name for feminist films, or some upcoming trend/genre or may be it’s simply another way of film publicity?

Well, from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (woman in action) to Bridesmaids (women having fun), from Kahaani (woman taking revenge) to Blue Is the Warmest Color (woman in love with woman); any film steered by one or more central female characters is automatically tagged as a WCF.

And why not?

In these male-dominated movie industries (Hollywood, Bollywood or thelma-and-louise-posterany wood for that matter), any damn story told while keeping the female-protagonist(s) in mind is sufficient enough to qualify!

But then again, some so called ‘Women-centric Films’ are special in their own ways.

These movies not only have female actors playing the lead but they also highlight certain feminist issues that are often too sensitive to mother-india-posterofficially protest and yet so very important to be addressed and recognized in our society.

And thus, here is a list of a few hard-hitting female oriented dramas from across the world (no biographies and documentaries are considered though).

Let’s not just wish and celebrate one particular day of every year as ‘Woman’s Day’ but respect and cherish the women in our lives each day of every single year!

10. Far from Heaven (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qje4IEAQpQ

far-from-heaven-posterAn emotional tale of an apparently content housewife with her husband and two kids but then, woman often endure a lot to portray themselves ‘happy’ within the norms of our community!   

Brilliantly directed by Todd Haynes, this film is not only showcases a gender biased society but also about the way people treated the colored and the homosexuals of the time. 

9. Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women (2003)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AI9r0pnAhs

matribhumi-posterA powerful cinema that delves with the issue of female infanticide.

Directed by Manish Jha, this one is a raw and brutal portrayal of the mindset of certain men and the tolerance level of the vulnerable women in certain parts of rural India.

A cinema that deserves more recognition as it doesn’t flinch to portray the scars of our society.  

8. Vagabond (1985)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIqgGc_3n1I

vagabond-posterDirected by Agnès Varda, this one is based on a young traveling woman, a maverick vagabond, who has no aim, no money, no place to stay, and yet she roams around the freezing country side of France, independence being her only true company.

Made up of short interviews and flashbacks, a film like no other, celebrating the free spirit of a woman!

7. Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2W0TeuHbJ0

fried-green-tomatoes-posters1A film that says a lot about women, the way they are often treated and then, the way they demand to be treated!

Directed by Jon Avnet, this film is of course a take on the injustice that women are forced to withstand, but more importantly it is a film that celebrates the love and friendship between two women, and the profound impact of it in our male dominating culture.

6. Moolaadé (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUWSwJfz8gI

Moolaadé-posterWe in the big cities, secured within our comfort zones often indulge into debates on feminism and the rights of women. But somewhere in Africa, little girls are still subjected to female circumcision and those who rebelled against this painful tradition are whipped to silence!

Directed by Ousmane Sembene, this daring film deals with the issue of female genital mutilation in a way that demands attention and respect.

5. Children of Men (2006)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VT2apoX90o

children-of-men-posterA SiFi thriller by definition, but the entire film revolves around the protection of a pregnant woman who is the key for the future of mankind. 

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, a classic in many ways but the best thing about the film is the profound manner in which it pays tribute to woman as the mother figure.

A true celebration of womanhood indeed.

4. Dahan (1998)

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

dahan-posterAn Indian film (regional language Bengali) that deals with the aftermath of the tragic incident of molestation of a woman by five unknown men.

From the acclaimed director Rituparno Ghosh, the brilliance of the film is that it doesn’t directly emphasize on the aspect of molestation of women, but gives more prominence to the people’s reaction towards the victim.   

3. Lilya 4-Ever (2002)

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

lilya-four-ever-poster1A Swedish film of a sixteen year old girl and a little boy (her only friend), and how they struggle and dream for a better life.

Directed by Lukas Moodysson, this is the story of all those poor young girls across the world who, without proper parental guidance and education gets sucked into the whirlpool of darkness, sexually exploited and abused, their innocence lost forever.

2. Water (2005)

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

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

In the holy city of Varanasi, the film concentrates on a group of widows of varied ages but with the same doomed fate, sheltered in a temple without much resources. But then some of their lives begin to change for the better!

  1. Persona (1966)

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

persona-posterA thrilling drama, and the most psychologically twisted cinema on the persona of women.

Nobody knew the intricate complexities in the mind of a woman better than Ingmar Bergman – their needs, their secrets, their love, their dreams and their power to hate!

And this one is a classic in every aspect, and indeed the best WCF of all times!

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

+1. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih3nBxjkBH8

Jeanne Dielman-posterA widowed housewife taking care of her teenage son and her household as best as she can; an exceptional film that meticulously follows the life of this woman to its minuscule details.

Directed by Chantal Akerman, with minimal dialogues and long takes of certain daily chores, like having dinner, reading books, bathing, cooking e.t.c, this film has succeeded in portraying a women who is very much a known part of our society and yet somehow remains invisible, empty and alone.   

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.nordicposters.comwww.newyorkerfilms.comnoinpart.wordpress.com

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.