TARIKH : The Refreshing Timeline of Emotions

Gulzar, in one of his reminiscences of Pancham, had once said..

Ye ghalat hain ki waqt guzar jaata hain.. Waqt, time eternal hain, permanent hain.. aur kabhi nahi guzarta.. Jo guzar jaata hain woh hum aur tum hain..”

In Churni Ganguly’s Tarikh, the three central characters Ani, Ira or Rudra could have easily said the same about life as it happens to them. The footprint that one creates during a lifetime on the minds and hearts of the near ones, or not so near ones, either in the real or virtual world’s timeline, becomes a permanent impression for life, even after people are long gone. The timeline hence gets frozen in eternity, and becomes a staggering documentation of what people stand for or cannot stand for in their lifetime – beliefs, fear, aspirations, insecurities, or passing emotions of joy, pain, envy, love, loss and everything in between.

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MUKHERJEE DAR BOU : Good Intent, Poor Execution, Forgettable Experience

Mukherjee Dar Bou is what happens when the intent of making a film about free spirited thinking against a regressive patriarchal backdrop gets terribly hampered by a writing style and character development heavily influenced by the daily bangla soaps of today! An important story about everyday women fighting their own insecurities and for their identities, while becoming the biggest enemies of each other as severely conditioned by the regressive societal upbringing and unconscious patriarchal thinking, gets completely lost in execution since debut filmmaker Pritha Chakraborty and writer Samragnee Bandopadhyay only know the over the top, theatrical and terribly cliched narration style to deliver their message. And it feels extremely sad when two women cannot shape the content about women in a dignified, poignant and effective way, and almost fall into the same trap of typical cliches that they want their protagonists to overcome and be victorious in life.

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BASU PARIBAR : Deep Wide Cracks

Basu Paribar, just like the traditional grand mansion of the family, wants to encash nostalgia and grandeur to make up for the lack of soul and attachment in the overall narrative. Just like the family in question, in spite of all the materialism on the surface, the deep wide cracks appear all over the cinematic narrative, and inspite of all the drama built up around dark forbidden secrets of the past, it never comes together as a unit to leave a lasting impact.

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FINALLY BHALOBASHA : Finally Goes Nowhere

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Chapter based hyperlink stories are nothing new to bangla cinema. Each of these chapters dealing with broken relationships, urban loneliness, existential crisis, or racing for peace against time is also nothing new. In fact we have see many of themes repeating regularly in Anjan Dutt‘s earlier films as well. So when he decides to package all these in a hyperlink format as three separate story tracks, and then tries to connect them all together in the final chapter called Finally Bhalobasha, it all appears like a forced gimmicky effort.

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KIA AND COSMOS Review : A Humane, Affectionate & Delicate Gaze At Life

In the most simplistic terms, Kia and Cosmos, the debut feature film by Sudipto Roy is the coming-of-age story of a young autistic girl who has a far from perfect life and wants to get to the truth and only that in her own capacity. But watch closely and patiently, and this beautiful film is so much more than that.

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MAHALAYA : A Nostalgic & Courageous Film

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Mahisasura Mardini is a benchmark in the world of radio programming. To this date, it is the longest running radio programme in the history of world radio. The reverberating voice of legendary Birendra Krishna Bhadra chanting the stotras to the tunes of Pankaj Kumar Mallick is a 4 AM ritual at every bengali household on the Mahalaya morning to date. Its immense popularity, or the pride and nostalgia associated with it has not come down one bit right from 1930s. And why should it? The magic of Bhadra’s voice and the masterful composition of Mallick has its own divine aura to mark the beginning of Devi Pakshya and enliven the spirit of every Bengali with ‘Pujo eshe gechhe‘.

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NAGARKIRTAN : Quest for Identity

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In one of the stunning scenes in Nagarkirtan, the central protagonist Parimal, is struck in a gaze of a woman undressing comfortably in his physical presence, who is sharing her frustration on how she is taken for granted to do everything at home and also burdened with the expectation to be a child bearer irrespective of her say in it. The big call-out here is that Parimal is actually Puti (or Pari), who is a woman trapped in a man’s body, and desperately wants to acquire her physical female form.

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SHAH JAHAN REGENCY : Check In to Life!

Dear Srijit Mukherji,

Many years back, when I had first read Shankar‘s Chowringhee, I could not come out of a trance for days. The deft writing, the complex relationships, the interconnected lives, and the heartbreaks did not leave me for very long. Shankar had very skillfully captured the intricacies of the era in which he had based his story, but the characters that he created and the stories of their lives were timeless and ever relevant. It is hence natural why you would have felt the urge to adapt the same. It was a tricky and dangerous thought though, after all Chowringhee the book or its first on screen adaptation have become a legend over years. I had my apprehensions too. The first sneak peak into your trailer had reduced some of that anxiety, the world of Shah Jahan Regency that you created was looking good in a capsule, and I desperately wanted to see a good full length film as immersive as the trailer.

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BIJOYA : An aching lump of emotions

‘Palki chale… Hun huna…. Gagon tale… Hun huna…. Aagun jwale… Hun huna…’ – It is a recurring phrase that is repeated time and again at various situations, and beautifully summarizes the crushing cycle of life that Bijoya depicts as a film! It wouldn’t have been an easy decision to make a sequel of Bishorjon – after all it was vintage Kaushik Ganguly whom we had seen after long, and whom we have not seen since then (Bishorjon review here). It was a deeply engaging story of Padma Haldar, Naser Ali, and Ganesh Mondol set across the Indo-Bangladesh cultural fabric, and though it had ended with some open questions, many of us had drawn our closures based on our interpretation of those characters and their motivations. Of course, Ganguly the director had other plans, and some of those interpreted closures fell flat on the ground as we got a sneak peak of Bijoya a few days back. We were not complaining though, because it meant that we could again embark on a voyage with the three central characters, and this time around the journey would become even more engaging with a tighter script and more nuanced storytelling!

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GENERATION AAMI : Wants to Fly but Stumbles

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It is impossible not to notice where ‘Generation Aami’ draws a lot of its narrative inspirations from. It creates a world of Apu living with his doting but controlling mother, with his father living mostly out of station to cater to the family needs, a grandmother who is mostly a silent spectator to things living in her own den, and an elder sister (okay cousin) Durga who is far more ‘danpite‘ and adventurous and practically becomes the lifeline of Apu to help him grow up and find his wings, albeit post a tragic loss!

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