Chatushkone – resonating hope in the mute tunnel of recent Bengali cinema

To begin with, please don’t consider it as a review of the film. It is not even a critical analysis. You can read it as an expression of gratitude for the man who brought a spring of hope in the Bengali film industry and is doing wonders for the last five years. It is a humble attempt to assert the fact that Bengali films are still intellectually superior in a country where senseless films are celebrated as commercial cinema!

It is very different here in Bengal. We tend to celebrate art in various forms and when it comes to films we have a natural tendency of becoming a little more critical. After the golden era of the seventies, there was a lull in Bengali cinema. I was lucky enough to experience the rise of Bengali cinema during the earlier years of this millennium. I would definitely credit a few film makers who compelled the Bengali audience towards theatres. Rituporno Ghosh, Aparna Sen, Anjan Dutt, Kaushik Ganguly and definitely Srijit Mukherjee are the leading names in this context.

chotushkone-still-1

The subject of this write-up happens to be the latest film by the last name in the aforementioned list, “Chatushkone”. The film is undoubtedly the biggest blockbuster in 2014 as far as Bengali cinema is concerned. It proved that the Bengali audience is still very particular about the art of cinema. It is not the mindless films (read commercial films) but intelligent and substantially superior films that attract audiences to cinema halls. Srijit’s films have been proving the point from his debut film to say the least! Autograph, Baishey Shrabon, Hemlock Society, Mishawr Roshshyo, Jaatishwar and then came Chatushkone.

chotuskone_aparna-sen

Being a film buff and a keen student of film making, I am a part of the stories that float around the industry for the last seven-eight years now. Chatushkone happens to be Srijit’s one of the oldest scripts that witnessed a number of adversities. If a film is perceived as the brain child of the film maker, perhaps this child of survived the most difficult conditions. Challenging the conditions like actor walk-outs to loss of inspiration (the sad demise of Rituparno), Chatushkone was perhaps the most adamant project of the director that turned out to be his best film till date. Analysis of the film is done in various scales and the success story has been written, discussed and celebrated through various means. I still wanted to point out some of the weak links of the film when I went to the theatre for the second time to watch the film. I considered taking notes! I couldn’t, I was converted to a keen audience.

chotuskone_goutam-ghoseThere are a number of films that are made with the concept of film within a film. Srijit challenged the form – he made a film with four films in it, treating them very uniquely. With different time lines, different colour codes, different taste and a very subtle approach all the four films had a statement of its own. The quadrilateral chemistry between the four directors illustrated in the film was entwined in a soothing yet a very compelling thriller story. The director has a unique signature in terms of his sarcastic and invigorating dialogue writing; Chatushkone was no different.

chotuskone_chiranjit

The plate was full for the audiences to grab their desired tastes. The likes of Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Goutam Ghose, Aparna Sen and Chiranjit played the major characters along with wonderful cameos from Kaushik Ganguly, Barun Chanda, Neel Mukherjee, Indrashish Roy, Paayel Sarkar, Arpita Chaterjee and Koneenica Banerjee doing justice to the script. Chiranjit (Dipak Chakroborty) probably collected the most number of congratulatory messages for Chatushkone, his comeback film. As far as the music was concerned, the songs penned by Anupam Roy were lyrical and soothing as usual. Although, I personally feel that the film had two songs too many, given the genre or the subject of the film is concerned.  Editing, Cinematography, set design and the execution couldn’t have been better.

 

chotuskone_parambrataAs a concluding note, I would definitely like to congratulate Srijit Mukherjee for restoring the hope of audience in Bengal. Dear comrade, keep inspiring us with your efforts that can and will nullify the efforts of some shallow trade-analysts who define films on the basis of box-office collection! I wish him all the success for his future projects and hope his films cross international boundaries bringing more glories for Bengali cinema.

 

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture seeking light on the other end of the mute tunnel called, Bengali Cinema!

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Top five Bengali films -2012

Some of us thought we will not make it to 2013. Some of us were hopeful enough to plan and fabricate new proposals for the fresh year. I was watching movies all the year round. (*Laughs!)

For the audience in Bengal who express their happiness and sorrows in a language which is the second sweetest in the world, the last year was quite eventful in terms of quality motion picture production. The audience of the state and the film industry is yielding money in good work and that is the happier part of the story. I would like to feature top five Bengali movies of 2012 in this presentation from my-motion-picture.

1)      Hemlock Society

Die if you want.. please don't promote...
Die if you want.. please don’t promote…

 Genre: Drama

Released on: 22nd June, 2012.

A very different story line where the protagonist runs an institute training aspiring candidate to execute their right to euthanasia! Writer/Director Srijit Mukherjee in his third venture after Autograph (A tribute to Satyajit Ray ) and Baishey Shrabon teamed up with Parambrata Chatterjee, Koel Mallik, Rupa Ganguly, Dipankar Dey and some wonderful actors to tell this unconvincingly true story. If you managed to miss the show, make sure you watch this as you are still alive in 2013!

USP: unique story, crisp dialogue, music by Anupam Roy, Photography and Parambrata’s acting!

2)      Muktodhara

Nigel Akara exclusive still from Muktodhara
Nigel Akara exclusive still from Muktodhara

Genre: Drama

Released on: 3rd August, 2012.

The director duo Nandita Roy and Shiboprasad Mukherjee penned a screenplay that was inspired from one of the famous theater with the same name that featured Rituparna Sengupta and prison inmates including Nigel Akara, a real time convict. The film although remains a shadow of the real drama played on the stage, tells an inspirational story about rehabilitation of criminals and life after imprisonment.

USP: Music by Surajit Mukherjee and Joy Sarkar, distinctive story and Nigel Akara.

3)      Chitrangada

 A still from Chitrangada..
A still from Chitrangada..

Genre: Drama

Released on: 31st August.

Rituporno Ghosh takes a deep insight in one of the dance dramas of Rabindranath Tagore with the same title. The screenplay, direction and metaphorical description of time and psych in the movie were awesome. Actors like Anjan Dutt, Dipankar Dey, Raima Sen and Jishu Sengupta along with the director himself did justice to their characters. The crowning of a hearts wish would rather be the bottom line of the film.

USP: Crisp dialogue, subtle camera works depicting time, Anjan Dutt and spectacular story telling.

4)      Aboseshey

Abosheshey - a film by Aditi Roy
Abosheshey – a film by Aditi Roy

Genre: Drama

Released on: 21st September.

Debutant director Aditi Roy won my heart with her wonderful story telling technique. The story celebrates the love of a woman in true perspective. A son discovers his mother as a person after she passes away through her intimate acquaintances. The story itself rose to a new height as Rupa Ganguly did splendidly well to justify her character. Co-actors Ankur Khanna, Sen, Dipankar Dey and others were so well placed in the movie. This film demands poly-watch attention from every story lover of Bengal. How about naming the film differently, “Suchismita’s Diary!”?

USP: Tagore Songs by Rupa Ganguly, fabulous direction, apt time transition.

5)      Dutta vs. Dutta

A story celebrating life, love and music...
A story celebrating life, love and music…

Genre: Drama

Released on: 23rd November.

Veteran film maker, Anjan Dutt takes a magic wand to make an autobiographical drama and presented the audience a straight from the heart story. The celebration of life amidst all the worldly problems and victory of life remains the bottom line of the movie. The director stepped in the shoes of his father and introduced the very talented Ronodeep Basu as Dutta junior in the film. The story revolves in the city of Kolkata and brings in a lot of nostalgia along with the celebration of idiosyncratic Bengalis. Actors like Rupa Ganguly, Rita Koiral, Parno Mitra, Dipankar Dey, Kaushik Sen, Shankar Chakraborty, Srijit Mukherjee, Arpita Chatterjee and others were undoubtedly remarkable as the Director splendidly placed in the movie.

USP: Music by Neel Dutt, dialogues, profound story line and Anjan Dutt’s acting.

I wonder how much money these five films made, but I can guarantee love, happiness, music, sorrow, smiles, tears, anger, compassion, sensibility, hatred, life, death, friendship and everything that your heart yarns for in these movies.. Why watch senseless Indie movies!!!?????????????

There were genuine efforts by other film makers as well and Bengal is surging ahead in sensible film making as the city waits for more formidable stories and more honest efforts from directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, music directors and everyone who contributes in making a film and turning it into an art from a mere motion picture!

Signing off from the lens desk of my-motion-picture till you see all these five films and tell me if I was right… 🙂

 

Dutta vs. Dutta – A story celebrating Life, Love and Music!

Assess Mr. Dutt.
Assess Mr. Dutt.
Assess Mr. Dutt.
Assess Mr. Dutt.

It is difficult to assess a film in India. It is even more difficult to assess a good movie in India. I am writing this with the hope that whoever reads this, understands life.

Indian movies get released in theaters and then after a while DVDs hit the market. I watched Dutta vs. Dutta thrice in the last few days and realized some of the key factors that differentiate a well made film from something that we call commercial movies. I call them senseless though!

Dutta- jr. - Played by Ronodeep Basu
Dutta- jr. – Played by Ronodeep Basu
Dutta Sr. - Played by Anjan Dutt.
Dutta Sr. – Played by Anjan Dutt.

Should I do an assessment then? I am not a film scholar, although I religiously love films. So, what I would like to portray in this “What I wrote” section is Life as it seems to us and to the man who made Dutta vs. Dutta. Yes, I am talking about the national award-winning director Mr. Anjan Dutt. He has depicted life in the true spirits of life for so many years now, not because he is getting paid. He believes in life that celebrates the fact that we are we and we are alive to see who we are!

I know things are getting complicated. It actually demands an extended discussion. However, let me limit my thoughts and words in the boundaries of cinema and art for the time being. There were movies that were self-explanatory, biographies or auto-biographies. This movie can fit in all those genres, and yet proclaims an organic signature of its own.

St. Pauls, Darjeeling!
St. Pauls, Darjeeling!

My first reaction after I saw the premier of the film in Priya Cinemas was, “Naah! Not up to the mark!” Although, I liked the movie, I thought it was hurried at some points. The story could have been done in two parts. I know I am sitting in this lousy place called India, where good work needs to be referred and endorsed and reckless exertions gets financial applause. I know how things are! Yet, I am proud of the man who had the balls to stand up and tell his own story in such a fearless disposition!

Srijit Mukherjee as Tony
Srijit Mukherjee as Tony

Believe me or not, if you understood life even for a day, you would say this is a real story! Fiction and reality go hand in hand, and as the saying goes, “Reality is stranger than fiction”, I would advocate everything shown in the movie and endorse every story told about every character that comprised Dutta vs. Dutta. No one in this world is a Hero, if he is not a hero in his own perspective. We all commit crimes, speak untrue versions of incidents, hurt our loved ones, fight for hasty egos, shout for something wrong, campaign violence, and dream about other women and wish to have all the happiness in our lives. We suffer defeat; we stand up, shrug our shoulders and start of all over again. What we don’t do is we don’t speak about our defeats in the same way we speak about our victories.

Dutta-bari..
Dutta-bari..

Art is a form that hardly requires a language.  Film art is even more international and Mr. Anjan Dutt, a true legend by all means depicted how a simple and an earthly story can reach a new altitude with the sheer intention of speaking what is true and natural. He told his own story. How he was brought up? Who and What were his inspiration? What odds did he come across? How he experienced love? What made him Mr. Anjan Dutt, the person he is now!

Kaushik Sen and Anjan Dutt in a still from the movie!
Kaushik Sen and Anjan Dutt in a still from the movie!

Let me speak on behalf of the man, “Yes! My mother was alcoholic, yet she was a wonderful musician. Yes! My father was unsuccessful, had artificial egos and had an extra-marital affair, yet he was valiant enough to save an innocent soul and suffer the wrath of an ill-maintained government norm. Yes! My uncle sued my father for a meager property, yet he took the responsibility of the entire family when times were not so happy. Yes! We all have short comings, like every family we too suffered, yet we defeated bad times with our own honest approach.”

Rupa Ganguly in Dutta vs. Dutta
Rupa Ganguly in Dutta vs. Dutta

The story grows in every one of us who fight the odds of life and chase a dream that sometimes become a mere mirage. We convince our defeating morals and come back with rejuvenated enthusiasm. The film celebrated Music; it certainly celebrated the aesthetic features of music. It tells me how dreams can be true even if the worst Tempest hits your heart! The film spoke about the power of music that encompasses a bullet or a gun!

I would like to dedicate this movie to the man himself, Mr. Dutt and to all those who get disillusioned everyday and yet has that lion’s heart to express what is true. The narration done by the Director was heartfelt. Throughout the movie, I could relate every song he wrote in his entire life, every word he spoke, every gesture he made and every smoke he exhaled in my knowledge. It seemed like every character in the movie spoke about the man he is now! To congratulate him for this brilliantly made movie, “It’s simply a Director’s movie” won’t be an understatement! Or should I look for a better phrase?

P.S.: I would like to congratulate the Producer of the movie, Mr. Purnendu Roy and Mrs. Neelakhi Roy for their courage in believing what Mr. Dutt wanted. Congratulations to the entire team of Dutta vs. Dutta. Everyone was spectacular!

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture, till I gather enough courage to pen down my thoughts..