My Ratings: 4/5
Apur Panchali is a Bengali film (in Bengali language) fortunate enough to get a release in Mumbai and of course I didn’t miss the opportunity.
Last year I watched a film Shabdo directed by Kaushik Ganguly and since then I try not to miss any of his films. In Apur Panchali the director has once again proved his mettle – his unique concept and innovative execution brings back our belief in Bengali Cinema.
Child actors are famous even before they are old enough to spell the word ‘fame’. But how many of them can retain their fame till adulthood? Do people really care what happens to them?
Kaushik Ganguly showcases this issue as the backdrop of his film Apur Panchali as he reveals the life story of the most celebrated child actor of one time – Subir Banerjee, who played the part of young Apu in the film ‘Pather Panchali’ directed by Satyajit Ray.
Now as the story goes, a young film-student Arka (Gaurav Chakrabarty) is responsible to contact the long forgotten child actor Subir Banerjee since a German award committee has decided to invite him to Germany in order to felicitate him as the most famous child actor of all times!
Now isn’t that great news? Young Arka is super excited.
But when he finally meets the middle aged, temperamental Subir Banerjee (played superbly by Ardhendu Banerjee), we (the audience) along with Arka are surprised to see that the once world-famous child actor now doesn’t even want to admit that he had any connection with films or acting whatsoever.
Subir Banerjee is living a lonely, middle-class life far from the stardom of the glamorous film world. He even refuses to accept the felicitation letter and gets irritated whenever the name ‘Apu’ or ‘Pather Panchali’ comes up!
Now that’s unexpected and bad news especially for our friend Arka – who needs to work hard to convince this grumpy, ill-tempered man to make him see some sense.
What is the reason of Subir Banerjee’s aloofness? Did he ever want to become an actor? How different was his real life when compared with the reel life of Apu as shown in Satyajit Ray’s next two sequels of Pather Panchali?
These questions and much more are answered in this sensitive, emotional drama Apur Panchali.
Kaushik Ganguly’s decision to use the original Pather Panchali footage along with the present story-line easily creates a nostalgic mood that works in favor of the director.
But on the other hand the constant usage of such classic footage from a Satyajit Ray-directed film gives the audience an unnecessary chance to compare Apur Panchali with the original masterpiece. You know it’s unfair but then again you cannot help it.
Parambrata Chatterjee, Parno Mitra and Ritwick Chakraborty – all of them have given matured performances. Kaushik Ganguly as usual makes his presence in a small but sensitive role – a special appearance.
Film Editor Bodhaditya Banerjee have done a great job – very well planned and flawless editing throughout the film.
Indraadip Das Gupta’s music is pleasing to the ears – well balanced and appropriate.
Overall Apur Panchali is a quality film very well written and presented. I will highly recommend it to anyone with a passion for movies.
Bengalis – a must watch; even if you are not a Bong but love Satyajit Ray films especially Pather Panchali – go for it.
Trailer link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxKylESYoa0