THE SKY IS PINK : ‘Coz the Colour of Grief is very very Personal

In one of the scenes in The Sky is Pink, Niren Chaudhary, the helpless father, asks his terminally ill child Aisha to consider going for a lung transplant because it can possibly add 10 more years to her life sinking off pulmonary fibrosis. To this, Aisha very pragmatically asks him back if saying goodbyes would become a tad easier at 28 instead of 18. Niren is obviously left speechless. And along with him we are also reminded how it is never going to be easy to face the final eventuality how much ever preparatory time you get. Not today, not tomorrow, not few years later; and not for any of the family members, who are possibly all dying their own emotional deaths even though only one of them will be finally going away. It is then a personal journey of every individual how one wants to deal with the impending death, and find moments of happiness and hope along the way in the zeal of life.

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MITIN MASHI : Too Preachy, Too Inert, Too Simplistic

Arindam Sil knows the fascination of the cinema going Bengali with the thriller and mystery genre. He knows that even when he delivers rather mediocre to poor Byomkesh and Shabor films, they still sell like hot cake. So why not introduce another franchise of the ‘meye chhele turned mohila detective’ – he thought, add multiple bouts of self protective action sequences, dollops of preachy gyan to make Mitin the all out feminist crusader, and present her as the all powerful Dashabhuja during Pujo to ring merrily at the cash registers? After all, what else will the woke Bangali buy in to, more so because this may be the only clean entertainer available for full family community viewing during the festival! Chances are, his intuition will be proved right and the film will do brisk business, but Suchitra Bhattacharya‘s popular young adult series investigator Mitin Mashi demanded a much better film!

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RAJLOKKHI O SRIKANTO : Love that transcends beyond time and more…

It is often said that the most memorable cinematic experiences are often about how much we buy in and immerse ourselves into its make believe world. And when magical realism is the unifying driving theme of most films of the filmmaker in focus, you somewhat know that the make believe aspects of his latest film will be its key strength. You know that he will make the story breathe and will let you the space to interpret it in your own unique way without feeding it all in a platter.

It is also said that inspirations or adaptations can become more interesting, when the filmmaker infuses his own imagination and narration style to the source material, allowing for significant deviations to integrally sync up with the storytelling. Gulzar’s Ijaazat became such a classic because of the way he treated the original story idea of Jatugriha and brought in his own complexities. Quentin Tarantino is a master of altering the facts of history to create his own immersive cinematic world across films, be it The Inglourious Basterds or the very recent Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The same can be said about national award winning filmmaker Pradipta Bhattacharya’s latest film Rajlokkhi o Srikanto, where he does take Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic source material for the base, but takes the film to a completely different space because of the deviations he takes and the narration style he chooses. The only thing that he possibly demands is your flexibility and patience to stay with him while he lays the foundation, so that the wings of magical realism can be built for us to take off on a flight of an immersive surreal experience.

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DO PAISE KI DHOOP CHAAR AANE KI BAARISH : Of Rough Weathers of Life

Do paise ki dhoop.. chaar aane ki baarish..
Baarah maas main mausam bechta hoon…

Watch Do Paise Ki Dhoop Chaar Aane Ki Baarish on Netflix for how the Mumbai rains, and the poetry from old hindi film songs become integral characters by themselves in the lives of three marginalized and struggling individuals seeking each other’s company for acceptance and affection.

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UNBELIEVABLE : Believe. Show you care.

Unbelievable‘ is brilliant! Do not miss it! The way this police procedural dives deep into the psychology of rape victims, detectives, and serial abusers is very intense and highly moving!

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SECTION 375 : A muddled perspective

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Surprisingly the thing that lands the most in Ajay Bahl’s Section 375 is its gaze towards the ‘Me Too‘ and ‘Men Too‘ narrative. It is sensitive & balanced, and even though it does take a final side, it does not humanize or demonize the accused or the victim with unidimensional broad strokes. Bahl infact succeeds in creating an engaging courtroom drama, where both versions of a reported rape play out in a Rashomon style. And the narration has enough meat and logic for the audience or the judiciary bench to not take sides blindly at any time, or feel terribly compromised on wokeness, even if one may want to accuse the film of an unreasonable conscience. In fact, the film does well to lay out the distinctions between law and justice, and how both of them (especially the later) can get muddled by personal perspectives and biases.

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AHAA RE : The Lingering Aftertaste of Life

In one of the memorable sequences of Ahaa Re, expert chef from Dhaka and the protagonist of the film, Farhaz Choudhury, demonstrates how chocolate cake becomes a flavorful delicacy only when the senses of taste and smell work together in perfect conjunction. The specific finding is a new learning for the master home-cook Basundhara Ganguly. However, both of them know that the magic of food, just like love, works only when it finds its roots in the authentic ingredients; the passion and imagination to create something delectable is in full play; and when all the senses of taste, smell, touch and sight feel it in right proportions. Filmmaker Ranjan Ghosh is merely using this suggested expertise of the chefs to reiterate how a story when told with the right proportions of empathy, warmth, respect and soulful goodness, blended in a generous bout of subtle compassion, can become a beautiful love letter to life.

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Essential KHAYYAM : A Dozen Soulful Gems


Mohammed Zahur “Khayyam” Hashmi, fondly known as Khayyam, has always been one of those legends who had always let his music speak instead of himself. And it does speak beautifully, reverberating in melody & pathos, creating its own soothing soulful aura.

A second world war veteran, with growing up years deeply impacted by partition, Khayyam found his calling in music composition as early as 1948 for the film Heer Ranjha, when he made his debut along with partner Rahman Varma as Sharma’ji of the Sharmaji – Varmaji composer duo. However this partnership didn’t last long, as Rahman Varma decided to move to Pakistan, and the event turning a blessing in disguise for Khayyam. He soon found his footing as an independent music composer for Biwi in 1950, and from that point on Khayyam didn’t ever have to look back.

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SHANTILAL O PROJAPOTI ROHOSHYO : A Messy Transmutation

Shantilal o Projapoti Rohoshyo uses the butterfly in its name to seek metamorphosis into an end goal that isn’t what you expect it to be. The film’s name and the way it has been marketed throughout will build expectations of a taut and intense thriller for most viewers, which it is not. In fact, it never wanted to be one of that. Just like its protagonist Shantilal who is stuck in a line of journalism where he does not belong and always dreams of something bigger and more intense, the film also tries to fit into a genre that doesn’t do justice to its thought. Pratim D Gupta sets his aim to make a film about emotional and behavioral study of complex characters on much broader themes of dreams, marginalization and survival, with a constant subtext of hypocrisies rampant in the entertainment and journalism industries; but chooses a treatment garb of a thriller that somehow dilutes the overall impact significantly. It is one of those tricked cases of mismatched intent, expectations and execution.

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Kishore Kumar – A Playlist of Underrated Melodies

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If you are a cinema and music lover, you are bound to be in awe of Kishore Kumar! A Sampurna Kalakar with God gifted voice and talent, he has to be most popular playback singer across generations. In a career spanning 41 years, he sang to many beautiful compositions of the most respected music directors. My personally favorite phase of Kishore Kumar songs are the gems he produced with S.D. Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Hemant Kumar and others in the pre-Aradhana phase, but it was post Aradhana in a period of time in 70s to mid-80s where he almost single-handedly topped the musical charts of hindi films, being the voice of some of the most popular and evergreen songs. Naturally, there are so many of his songs which still dominate our playlists to date and offer a diverse listening pleasure.

However, there are so many beautiful songs of Kishore’da that are still less heard or remembered and can easily be part of best of his playlists. Many of these songs are from the post Aradhana phase of his career, where a host of more popular songs hogged the lion’s share of limelight. So on his 90th birthday, here is an attempt to list down 50 such less appreciated solo songs of Kishore Kumar – they aren’t necessarily all rare, but some of them are also in the list because they somehow don’t get remembered as much today because they weren’t either part of a popular film, or got overshadowed by a more popular song of that album, or just have not received as much love as they deserved.

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