Tag Archives: movies

Read this very interesting bio on an LSD crew blog at Passion For Cinema:

Namrata studied Information Technology and worked as an IT programmer before realizing that she’s in the wrong profession. She quit and joined a graphic design studio, where she was office manager and closet copywriter. A lucky break in NDTV gave her a chance to work on ‘Gustaakhi Maaf, the puppet satire show for almost a year. An even luckier break took her to Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata where she studied Editing (and Bengali) for three and a half years.

2005 onwards, she edited several international creative documentaries for channels like YLE Finland, ZDF Arte, NHK etc. Some of these films like I’m the Very Beautiful, Baba Black Beard, Three Blind Men, An Actor Prepares have traveled to festivals like Berlinale, Cinema du Reel, London International Film Festival and MIFF.

She directed her first documentary last year called “Dahleez Paar” which was commissioned by NHK, Japan.

Her first feature film as editor was Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, followed by Ishqiya and Love Sex aur Dhokha.

The LSD Crew blogs are here. There are 5 at present, hopefully there would be more.


This and That

There is this rather comical scene in the film ‘Honeymoon Travel’s Pvt. Ltd’, where Boman Irani playing a Goan character asks the rather prudish Bengali character of Kaykay Menon – ‘When you wake up in the morning, don’t you get the feeling that the world is a very bad place and everything is wrong with it?’ Much to the amusement of the company around, Kaykay readily agrees and his eyes brighten up that his inner thoughts which until that day were just his, were recognised by another person of the human clan. Well, make what of it, with each passing day I get the feeling that this is probably a natural trend in a lot of us Bengalis – to ponder and analyse things at such lengths that we can perceive the otherwise unseen ‘what ifs’ about what we see around us, yet eventually it ruins our approach to simple living.

Last evening I was watching this film called ‘Paa’ on television. Although I missed the first hour or so, the remaining bit was an interesting watch for most parts. However, I am really tired of this incessant trend in any kind of cinema to perpetrate the ‘fact’ that all estranged relationships have to be fixed with marriage by the end of the running time of the movie. The character of the ‘Maa’ is a self-reliant and successful doctor (and given the house/car etc. shown, its obvious that she is doing well for herself), who has evidently moved on in life. The entire part about getting the ‘Paa’ and ‘Maa’ together, and these two folks giving in despite the natural rift caused by time and distance is imho – extremely contrived and a misrepresentation of how relationships ‘work’ in the real world.

Thanks to tagoreweb.in, these days I often browse through an actually enjoy reading the poetry/songs of Tagore. Till date I have been considered a black sheep in the family for my strong aversion to any kind of verse and even now it beats me why I suddenly changed tracks. Maybe its temporary, but then I am enjoying it while it lasts. I came across the following from the ‘Prem Parba’ in Gitabitan (verse #149):

তবে শেষ করে দাও শেষ গান, তার পরে যাই চলে
তুমি ভুলে যেয়ো এ রজনী, আজ রজনী ভোর হলে॥
বাহুডোরে বাঁধি কারে, স্বপ্ন কভু বাঁধা পড়ে?
বক্ষে শুধু বাজে ব্যথা, আঁখি ভাসে জলে॥

Note: Apologies, but I could not find the english translation for this. I’ll update the post later if I can find one.

Endless Wait

I finally managed to get myself into a movie watching mode and watched this bengali film called ‘Antaheen‘ – which literally means ‘Endless’, although the english title is probably ‘Endless Wait’ which is more in tune with the storyline. Well, I quite liked it and imho its probably a big deal, worth a blog post….really. I grew up when the only good enough watchable fare from Bengali cinema were the classics from the black & white period of the 60s-70s. Anything after that and in colour was utterly disgusting, crass and totally out of sync with any kind of sensible or relateable bengali social structure. There were little pieces of jewels like 36 Chowringhee Lane, Paroma, Atanka, Kharij etc, but considering the mature content nature I never got to venture that side until much later.

Well, from the 90s onwards, the alternative stuff started pouring in, primarily led by Rituparno Ghosh’s ‘Unishe April‘. Most of these films were based upon stories surrounding upper-middle class households and explored the dynamics in the relationships between the main characters – women occupied in some kind of art related field and involved with wimpy men seeking emancipation and men who smoked like chimneys & worked in media houses. They could be in various stages of relationship maturity – dating furiously, about to be married, married, married but living apart, about to be divorced, divorced yet dating each other furiously, divorced and married to other people and still wanting to get back… whatever gets them to put their relationship status as ‘complicated’. The dialogues were stretchy and laced with abusive language to bring in some kind of contemporary flavour, the scenarios pretentious, and the characters contrived to carve in complications. And they all looked the same. Compounded by the fact that there were a handful of actors who kept rolling by in all these films.

Whether it was the street-fare commercial stuff or the alternative films, both lacked money and it showed. The finances started pouring in, when rich production houses from Southern India started investing in the Bengali film industry. However, it also started an era when commercial Bengali cinema garbed itself into a mode which was always associated with the over-the-top action movies from the Southern shores – elaborate sets, cavalcade of vehicles, baddies, violent fights, dances (the horror!), facial gymnastics, everything that could alienate them even further.

Perhaps, this also led to a second round of alternative set of cinema being churned out. These had a much richer look than their earlier cousins, but somehow the pretentious facets still haunted them. I mostly shied away from them as well. Anuranan being one. The last film that I really liked was ‘Dosar‘, a black & white film by Rituparno Ghosh. It was stark, with effortless performances from most of the cast members. Antaheen (from the same director as Anuranan) just got added to my list of liked movies. It is the story of a television journalist & police officer, who strike up a friendship over the internet as strangers and seperately in real life as well. Parellely, goes the track of an estranged middle aged couple who still rely on each other as old habits, yet prefer the distance between them that allows them to be close without stepping on each others toes. There are a few other tracks as well, which bring in their share of resonance to the story. There was a small one with Mita Vashist. This lady is a bombshell and made the minor character of Mrs.Mehra the most profound of them all. The sets and costumes were contemporary, dialogues mostly pert and very very normal, actors looked their part and the music… oh beautiful! (And apparently Shantanu Moitra did it for free.) Some of the trimmings looked a bit forced though, as if to bring in a touch of the exotic. But then these can be comfortably overlooked for an evening well spent.

The following are the lyrics of the song Pherari Mon (Wandering Mind) that got Shreya Ghosal a National Award this year. Even if you can’t read bengali, you can go ahead and listen to the song here

আলো আলো রং, জমকালো চাঁদ ধুয়ে যায়
চেনাশোনা মুখ, জানাশোনা হাত ছুঁয়ে যায়
ফিরে ফিরে ঘুম ঘিরে ঘিরে গান রেখে যায়
কিছু মিছু রাত, পিছু পিছু টান ডেকে যায়
আজও আছে গোপন ফেরারী মন
বেজে গেছে কখন, সে টেলিফোন
চেনাশোনা মুখ, জানাশোনা হাত রেখে যায়
ফিরে ফিরে ঘুম ঘিরে ঘিরে গান ডেকে যায়
আজও আছে গোপন ফেরারী মন
বেজে গেছে কখন, সে টেলিফোন॥

ছোট ছোট দিন আলাপে রঙিন, নুড়ির মতন
ছোট ছোট রাত চেনা মৌতাত, পলাশের বন
আহা, অগোছালো ঘর, খড়কুটো মন চিলেকোঠা কোণ
কথা ছিল, হেটে যাবো ছায়াপথ
আজও আছে গোপন ফেরারী মন
বেজে গেছে কখন, সে টেলিফোন॥

কিছু মিছু রাত, পিছু পিছু টান অবিকল
আলো আলো রং জমকালো চাঁদ ঝলমল
আজও আছে গোপন ফেরারী মন
বেজে গেছে কখন, সে টেলিফোন॥

গুড়ো গুড়ো নীল, রং পেনসিল জোছনার জল
ঝুরো ঝুরো কাঁচ, আগুণ ছোঁয়াচ দেখেছে আঁচল
ফুটপাথে ভিড়, জাহাজের ডাক ফিরে চলে যায়
কথা ছিল, হেটে যাবো ছায়াপথ
আজও আছে গোপন ফেরারী মন
বেজে গেছে কখন, সে টেলিফোন॥

আলো আলো রং, জমকালো চাঁদ ধুয়ে যায়
চেনাশোনা মুখ, জানাশোনা হাত ছুঁয়ে যায়
আজও আছে গোপন ফেরারী মন
বেজে গেছে কখন, সে টেলিফোন॥

Not much of a movie

Went to watch Sarkar Raj with Ramky and Matthew this evening.

Ho-hum! The entire plot could have been completed in half the running time of the movie. But then, someone decided to fill in the remaining time with inane dialogues. Mostly about moral resposibilities towards the people of the land and their development. Analogous incidents from the Godfather have been inserted as well (Apollonia’s death, Salvatore Tessio’s betrayal). The last 30 minutes were intriging, but lose pace somewhere 3 quarter’s down the way. And the background score was loud. The chants of “govinda, govinda” when Shankar Nagre runs through the streets of Mumbai in Sarkar I, set the pace for the impending action. In Sarkar II, they overdo the sounds and follow it up with lame conversation. The saving grace is Amitabh Bacchan, especially when he takes charge of things. Aishwarya Rai looks pretty (Ramky told me that the sunglasses she was wearing was worth 4.5 crore INR….!!) and thats about it. Avishek Bacchan ends up looking comical, while trying to be menancing. GreatBong writes a nice review here.

It might be a good idea to wait for the television premiere of this film. Meanwhile, grab a dog-eared copy of The Godfather (and read it all over again).