Releasing on 12th May, Posto is the the latest film from the noted director duo of Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee. Riding high on the success of back to back blockbusters, Bela Seshe (2015) and Praktan (2016), Posto is produced by Probhat Roy, Ganpati Productions and Windows and has music by Anindya Chatterjee and Anupam Roy. Gopi Bhagat is the DOP and Malay Laha is the editor. The star cast includes Soumitra Chatterjee, Jisshu Sengupta, Mimi Chakraborty, Lily Chakraborty, Paran Bandopadhyay etc. Continue reading “Posto: Trailer”
Pink – A Review
Directed by: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury Written by: Ritesh Shah
Starring: Amitabh Bacchan
Sometimes a film comes that taps into some of the core issues of the prevalent society, issues that have already been hotly debated and discussed. When such a film comes from a producer known for making daring, different films (Shoojit Sircar of Piku, Vicky Donor, Madras Cafe), directed by a 2 time national award winner making his first foray into Bollywood (Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury of Antaheen and Anuranan) and starring a septuagenarian colossus of Indian Cinema who is still an audience catcher (The BigB, enuf said), it is only expected that hype around this movie release will hit the roof.
But when hype hits the roof, opinion on the film (so aptly named Pink) can sometimes get “colored” by a different shade. And so when glowing reviews kept pouring in about a pioneering brave work, and expectations rising ever higher, yours humbly tried to approach the movie cautiously, to watch it with a neutral lens while keeping expectations and emotions in check.
The good news is that the film doesn’t disappoint overall, but one is left to wonder whether the film really deserves all the accolades for its bravura. But more on that later. The plot is pretty straightforward (minor spoilers in this paragraph) – a group of single working girls get entangled in an attempt at molestation by 3 Delhi boys, where one of the girls injures his molester in self-defence. Constituting the first half of the film (and probably the better half), what follows is very urban girl’s nightmare in a patriarchal society, as they get constantly harassed by the boys thirsting for revenge, nor do they get any support from the Police, work-place or near-ones. Suffocated by social stigma, the role of victim and oppressor gets intermingled, as the Girls are accused of attempted murder. It is at this point, Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan), a retired lawyer suffering from bipolar disorder with an ailing wife (Mamata Shankar), who has till then been a silent spectator to the girls’ troubles, decides to represent them as their defence counsel (the 2nd half of the film).
Armed with a theme that has been the talking point of the media and social networks in the last few years, Aniruddha Roychowdhury paces the film well with a 1st half that looks like is a slowly concocted suspense thriller where we find the victims and protagonists being gradually choked by the after-effects of their traumatic experience. From the opening sequence, the film grips you with a gently piercing background score, building up the tension, while the audience wonders what really could have happened that unfortunate night. Amitabh Bacchan (who eerily looks like an aged stalker) seems to be a brooding spectator as the girls’ next door neighbour, till he finally decides to take matters into his own hands. While Pink on a broad level bears some resemblance to the Hollywood film The Accused (featuring a stunning and explosive performance from Jodie Foster), the scenario and response of the characters are quintessentially of an Indian society. While the Accused was more violent, shocking and graphic, Pink avoids being in your face and never shows the actual events but references them through the statements of the defendants. Also, while Jodie Foster’s reaction was more of rage, the 3 girls in Pink are shown more helpless as they are not only up against their assailants, but the encompassing society which does not sympathise.
However, the film’s level falls off in the 2nd half as becoming too preachy and stereotypical. As a consequence of Amitabh Bacchan’s several court room dialogues, the audience is literally force fed the evils of patriarchy and the meaning of consent. Boys shouldn’t construe girls drinking and partying as an indication of being “easy” and ready; the girls also said “No! Nada! Zip”, hence there is no question of consent. It kind of feels squeamish when a film needs to spell out each and every item as if schooling a society with the emotional intelligence of a kindergardener. Some people may argue that given the kind of disgraceful acts that even our urban society can stoop to, this spelling out of everything seems to have become necessary. What’s worth debating though is if the target audience is even reached by such a film, as the film is unlikely to appeal to such people. Which then necessitates that the film at least plays a more generic role in educating the society, but then again it will be watched more by a relatively mature society who are already well aware of such societal malaises prevalent through the media. In that sense, the film is hardly a social zeitgeist as it has been made out to be by various sections of the media.
The acting of the film was par for the course. Big B was mostly brooding in the film, with occasional flashes of brilliance in the court room scenes. For an evergreen actor, one can still be appreciative of his performance, if it weren’t for the very similar style of acting that he had earlier showcased (and probably better in Te3n). Someone who has seen Te3n would feel he is seeing the same person in Pink, although the characters are entirely different. One wonders if Mr.Amitabh Bacchan is playing the same thing regardless of character (even if the same thing is still pretty good). The 3 actresses give decent performances at best, with Kirti Kulhari standing out. Dhritiman Chatterjee looked aged as the Judge with the quavering voice (not too sure if that was deliberate).
But what is new and refreshing is the depiction of such themes in the Bollywood mainstream. In a year where we have seen Bollywood mainstream go bold with releases like Udta Punjab, Pink can be another feather in its otherwise pretty threadbare cap. Like the old classic and one of the best courtroom dramas, Anatomy of a Murder (1959), was outright in its time with its frank discussion on rape and sexual themes, it took Bollywood mainstream another 50 years to give the setting for such films to come (while bold themes have been prevalent in parallel cinema like Bandit Queen, Matribhoomi, they weren’t part of a mainstream release). On the creative side, the strong points of the film was undoubtedly the musical score with its blend of piano melody mingled with phases of intensity as if portending the audience of something sinister lurking in the background. The editing was also taut, at least during the 1st half.
Overall, Pink is another bold release in a line of Bollywood releases vindicating the fact that the mainstream is maturing over the last few years. While much has been said of the film as a social commentary, I would hardly think the film is an eye opener on a facet of society that has been sufficiently put on the scanner. Rather than being a pioneer, Pink is more of a follower of this trend. One also can’t help but feel the irony that in an unforgiving patriarchal society comprising of roguish boys and women who have conformed to such a setting (like the female police deputy), it is finally up to the ageing patriarch, who finally decides to come out of his brooding shell in an attempt to restore some semblance of parity. The movie poster also shows Big B towering over the 3 defenceless girls with a rather dominating gesture. In a theme about women empowerment and liberalisation, this seems rather out of place (The Accused had a female lawyer Michelle Pfeiffer). Eventually, Pink is still part of Bollywood mainstream, and Big Stars still attract big audience.
So, let’s not get ahead of ourselves in showering our praise, but give credit where it’s due. Pink is not a pioneering film per se; there have been lesser known but more pioneering and relevant films depicting such issues outside the mainstream, like Matrubhoomi or even Bandit Queen. While we admit that gender bias and molestation is a malaise in urban Indian society, the inequality prevalent in rural India is of far more alarming proportions. Depicting rural India may not be as eye catching, so films showcasing these issues are socially relevant and deserve more attention. I’ll also be hoping to write a review on Parched (Radhika Apte in a bold performance), a film on gender inequality in rural India that went under the radar due to the Pink hype, if I get the time.
While quoting the title of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing may seem to be too harsh a statement on Pink, it is nevertheless true, especially given the hype that was build up around the film. Rather let’s just say it’s a relevant film that resonates with the membrane of today’s society.
My rating: 3.0/5 (maybe +0.5 to be generous)
(a self-proclaimed cinephile)
This has been an unusually long dry spell for an average Bollywood lover. Barring an intermittently funny Happy Bhag Jayegi, there has hardly been any film in the last month or so that has managed to register its presence in our minds – forget about leaving an impression. Midst of all the blues, comes director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s Pink – a film with an odd title but an intriguing enough trailer to raise a few hopes. And by the end of its runtime, the film not just exceeds your hopes but also reinstates your faith in the good, old Bollywood and its ability to churn out meaningful, powerful stories.Continue reading “Pink Movie Review: The Film Leaves the ‘Modern Society’ Red-faced”
Zulfiqar is a forthcoming Bengali crime drama from Srijit Mukherji which is based on adaptation of two of William Shakespeare’s tragedies: Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. Produced by Shree Venkatesh Films, the film has a huge ensemble cast comprising of Prosenjit Chatterjee, Dev, Parambrata Chatterjee, Jisshu Sengupta, Ankush Hazra, Koushik Sen, Rahul, Arunoday Banerjee, Kanchan Mullick, Nusrat Jahan, Paoli Dam, Kyra Dutt, June Malia. Soumik Haldar is the DOP while Anindya Chatterjee is the editor. The songs are composed by Anupam Roy while the backgorund score is provided by Indraadip Dasgupta.Continue reading “Zulfiqar: Trailer”
Pratim D.Gupta is a film journalist who turned filmmaker with the Bengali film Paanch Adhyay (2012) and made one of the segments of X: Past is Present,is now ready with his next film Shaheb Bibi Golaam. The film has had a protracted battle with the CBFC and finally got its certification a few weeks ago. Shaheb Bibi Golaam features Anjan Dutt, Swastika Mukherjee, Ritwick Chakraborty and Parno Mitra in the main roles.Produced by Firdausul Hasan and Prabol Mitra, the film has music by Anupam Roy while Gairik Sarkar is the DOP and Sanjib Dutta is the editor.Continue reading “Shaheb Bibi Golaam: Trailer”
It is but natural to fall in relationships that seem to appear rosy initially, only to appear as a difficult proposition later on. Yes you do tell yourself that you would try and adjust and expect the same out of the other person as well, but then you end up realizing that it is not all that simple eventually. Have you ever gone through any such relationship or heard or know of someone who has gone through it? Chances of hearing a yes from most people are extremely high and I am sure of the same. Ok here are some questions for us to ponder over-when a relationship seems to have probably reached its end what do we do? How sure are we that we gave it a fair chance to succeed? Are we willing to let go of each other amicably if it comes to that? Most importantly do we actually manage to move on in every way possible once the relationship ceases to exist?Continue reading “Praktan Movie Review: Life’s a Journey, You Have to Move on at the Right Time”
The successful director-duo of Nandita Roy and Shiboprasad Mukherjee made their mark with their very first Bengali movie, Icche (2011) and went on to make 6 more films ever since. Their last film Bela Seshe went on to be critically acclaimed but also a major commercial success as well. Now they are ready with their latest film, Praktan which sees the evergreen jodi of Prosenjit Chatterjee and Rituparna Sengupta coming back together after around 14 years. Produced by Probhat Roy and Windows,the film also features Soumitra Chatterjee, Sabitri Chatterjee, Aparajita Adhya, Biswanath Basu, Manali Dey etc. The music is by Anindya Chatterjee and Anupam Roy while Gopi Bhagat is the DOP and Malay Laha is the editor.Continue reading “Praktan: Trailer”
Whenever a long standing relationship breaks down we often tend to take sides, suggesting that it is probably one individual who is at fault. And if the relationship happens to involve a married couple, it is no surprise to see the relationship falling apart from time to time. Irrespective of whether it is a love marriage or an arranged marriage, there is definitely a good possibility of the relationship developing cracks at a point of time, for reasons which could even be extremely trivial at times. Quite often people say that when a marriage fails it could be due to the lack of love and understanding between the couple. Well it could be true indeed, but by and large there are also situations when sometimes there is no acrimony between the couple, yet they drift apart or want to be on their own after a point. Now imagine if this was to happen in case of a couple who have been married to each other for years and who now have an extended family of their own.Continue reading “Bela Seshe (2015) Movie Review: A Nostalgic Tale of Love and Relationships”
Mainak Bhaumik the director of Bengali films like Maach Mishti & More (2013), Ami Aar Amar Girlfriends (2013), Take One (2014) etc is now ready with his latest film, Family Album. Produced by Firdausul Hasan & Probal Halder, Family Album has music by Anupam Roy while Gopi Bhagat is the DOP and Rick Basu is the editor. From the looks of the trailer the film talks of a dysfunctional family where Swastika Mukherjee and Ronodeep Bose play siblings. Riya Sen plays Ronodeep’s girlfriend while Paoli Dam plays Swastika’s lesbian partner in the film.Continue reading “Family Album: Trailer”