MAHALAYA : A Nostalgic & Courageous Film


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


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


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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EK JE CHHILO RAJA : The King is Reborn


On the surface, Ek Je Chilo Raja (There lived a King) recreates the infamous Bhawal Sanyasi case – presented as the story of the erstwhile lecherous prince of Bikrampur estate, Raja Mahendra Kumar Chowdhury, who was presumably long ‘dead’ drowned in the repercussions of his own affluence, with his legacy long forgotten by most of his followers; but one who returned to base after twelve long years as the wandering sanyasi and was eventually coaxed to admit his relinquished identity by his well-wishers, and charged as an imposter by his wife and her brother at the same time. What followed was a long drawn legal battle over years across multiple courts of law, that finally settled on the verdict that the sanyasi was indeed the prince. But strangely enough the man at the center of all attention could not live that reclaimed life and died immediately after which was considered as the ultimate divine punishment for the imposter by many.

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BYOMKESH GOWTRO : Doesn’t Go Anywhere!


In a true reunion of sorts, Anjan Dutt and Arindam Sil unexpectedly come together in the latest Byomkesh outing; and yet Byomkesh Gowtro turns out to be yet another disappointing mess to be added to the already overdone Byomkesh series. That wasn’t much unexpected though.

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SHONAR PAHAR : Innocence is Bliss!


The cine-lover in me has an absolute reason to celebrate when she watches two beautiful new bengali films back to back within a fortnight. Two weeks back, it was the deliciously flavored Ahare Mon. And today, it was a very satisfying experience watching the beautifully made Shonar Pahar, highly rich in innocence, affection, loneliness, hurt, pain, and unconditional blissful love.

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AHARE MON : Beautiful Collage of Emotions!


Final Destination?” – Its an often used term in a film that is actually a beautifully crafted journey of love, life, tenderness, thrill and hope, and never really about a defined destination! That in a nutshell is Ahare Mon – beautiful, pure, real and so full of heart!

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UMA : Lacks Soul


Srijit Mukherji of Jatishwar or Chotushkone is long lost. His last few ventures like the two Kakababu films, or Zulfiqar or Nirbaak have been disasters; and when I had seen the trailer of his latest film, it did sound equally loud and highly melodramatic. Luckily then, Uma turns out to be better than what the wrapper suggested and yet falls short of becoming a real good film.

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