Tag Archives: Ritwik Ghatak

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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016Sandip 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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016Directed 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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016It 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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016Acclaimed 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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016Based 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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016An 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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016A 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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016Adolescence, 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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016This 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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016

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

Best-Bengali-Films-2015-2016Also 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

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.

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.

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.

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.