Ray @ 100

“Somehow I feel that an ordinary person – the man in the street if you like – is a more challenging subject for exploration than people in the heroic mold. It is the half shades, the hardly audible notes that I want to capture and explore.”

– Satyajit Ray

The Man. The Institution. The Magic.

The Stories of Me and You. The Timeless Footprints of Life.

100 Years of the Master. 100 Years of Satyajit Ray!

#RayAt100 #SatyajitRayBirthCentenary #TheMagicalRay

RAMPRASAD KI TEHRVI : Truly Heartfelt

“Toh isse pehla ki bahut der ho jaaye, humein Thank You keh dena chahiye…”

Thank You and Thank You, Seema Pahwa!

Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi is a precious little gem that is much larger than the sum of its parts. Pahwa’s theatrical roots show and how, whether it is through multiple long shots in the film as if not to break the gaze of life, overlapping conversations reflecting the cacophony of the times, or multiple flavors of emotions from nostalgia to bickering to unstated desires all cramming up for space in the packed frames but never dislodging one another unfavourably. Her film about death and grief hence becomes a celebration of little somethings of life, with life playing out in its raw emotions and heartfelt moments, striking intimate chords much more like a staged theatre and lesser like processed cinema.

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AJEEB DASTAANS : Ankahi Shines

‘Geeli Pucchi’ is the thriving conscience of ‘Ajeeb Dastaans’, but ‘Ankahi’ is the beating heart and porous soul of the anthology.

This short will stay with me for long. Shefali Shah and Manav Kaul deserve a full length film together, what sparkling chemistry between them!

‘Your lips can always lie, but your eyes will always tell the truth…’

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Copyright ©2021 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

JOJI : Spectacular Cinema

Dileesh Pothan’s JOJI plays out like an intensely subtle and starkingly dark lyrical ballad on screen. Inspired by Macbeth, Fahadh Faasil is at the top of his game in the titular character, and for sure delivers one of the top 3 performances of his career! The man is a magician who can pull off a range of such diverse emotions in the same scene without saying a word and without resorting to any overtly physical expressions!

The spectacular screenplay by Syam Pushkaran, the brilliant camera work and the outstanding background score creates multiple goosebump inducing moments. Fahadh Faasil gets ably supported by the entire ensemble and Unnimaya Prasad as Bincy especially stands out. And to think that all of this was done amidst the pandemic calls out for a special round of shoutout!

Do make time for Joji, now playing on Amazon Prime. It is the Best Indian Film of 2021 to date!

And yes, make sure you put your masks on as you experience Joji!

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Copyright ©2021 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

THE FATHER : Alternate Reality to Piku

“I feel as if I am losing all my leaves. The branches and the wind and the rain. I don’t know what is happening anymore around me.”

‘The Father’ is the alternate reality to ‘Piku’, had Bhashkor Banerjee went on to live longer, and had Piku ended up with someone less understanding and matured than Rana.

The reality of Anthony and Anne in The Father is so achingly devastating that one can only feel a little more comforted about the predicament of Piku, her baba and their life.

PS: Anthony Hopkins shatters you to pieces through a beyond extraordinary performance. Doesn’t matter that he will still lose out on the Oscars a month from now.

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Copyright ©2021 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

BOMBAY BEGUMS : In Your Face Feminism

When will Alankrita Shrivastava learn that courageous storytelling is not equivalent to delivering a clutter load of ‘messaging’ in your face with the subtlety of a sledgehammer? Film after film after film (now series), she attempts to create interesting full bodied characters, but time and again they get lost in their own jungle because they have been artificially placed in ‘intentionally’ chaotic, dark, unrelatable worlds just to voice issues, just to be the woke faces of feminism, just to forcefully make a (actually not a but too many) point! Where is the filmmaking? Where is the storytelling? Where is the feel of a lived in world? Where are the real emotions?

All the time while watching Bombay Begums, I kept going back to ‘Made in Heaven’ and kept thinking what Zoya Akhtar or Reema Kagti could have done with this theme. If not anything else, for sure I wanted Sahana Goswami’s Fatima and Vivek Gombar’s Arijay to live and grow in a Zoya Akhtar universe. Alas we will never know that magic!

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ZINDAGI IN SHORT : Stories of Love

‘Zindagi in Short’, now streaming on Netflix, has to be amongst the most fresh anthology offerings of recent times, and also the one that tries least hard to be smart or edgy. A set of 7 short films, each under 20 mins, have been directed by a range of filmmakers, and the stories are of different flavours, representative of a multitude of life dynamics, simple to complex. There is a good mix of established to relatively unknown faces here, both in front of and behind the camera.

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AK vs AK : Meta Musings of Life

There is a reason why I think Vikramaditya Motwane is the most versatile, most fearless and most creative filmmaker currently working in Mumbai! The man doesn’t care whether his art will trigger the ringing of cash registers at the box office, but he will go to any length to make the most impressive films in the genres he will pick up, and challenge both art and life through it! And he will control his indulgence too. And then keep it accessible for all without trying to go too tangential. AK vs AK is another bold step towards establishing it!

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DOLLY KITTY AUR WOH CHAMAKTE SITARE : Fails to Shine

“Dolly Kitty aur woh Chamakte Sitaare” goes overambitious in trying to address way too many things in 2 hours and does not do a good job of anything! It is terribly cluttered, the screenplay is overly conscious about its woke intent to make too many points which unfortunately do not land anywhere. Every emotion is over expressed, and every issue is overstated and delivered sans any finesse in order to make it accessible on the face. In the process, the film or the two leads make almost zero emotional connect, with filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava setting the mood right upfront with a overtly glossy and fake first scene, and somewhat maintaining that tonality through and through till the end.

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TASHER GHAWR : Intriguing. Intimate. Ingenious.

Meet Sujata. She is just another next door woman whose life has become stuck in a time capsule because of the ongoing pandemic. The lockdown has pretty much locked her existence down in an enclosed space she calls home, but one that subjects her to various levels of unbearable trauma because of her spouse who physically and mentally abuses her, cheats on her, and doesn’t bother to acknowledge her agency as an individual. Their relationship is purely transactional and Sujata is just there to render her services, right from the breakfast in the morning to routine sex in the night. All this isn’t new in her life though, but the pandemic has ensured that this torture now happens round the clock, twenty four by seven. There is a Sujata living in all our neighborhoods, and we get to see their linen drying up from our terrace everyday, just that we are not bothered to find out the dirty stories behind them.

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