Produced and directed by Rahul Bose, Poorna is film that talks about the story of the youngest girl in history to climb Mt Everest – a 13 year old Adivasi girl and her astonishing journey from a village in Telangana to the top of the world. Written by Prashant Pandey and Shreya Dev Varma, the film features Aditi Inamdar as Poorna along with Rahul Bose, Heeba Shah, Dhritiman Chatterjee etc. The music is by Tanuj Tiku while Subhransu Das is the DOP and Manan Mehta is the editor. Poorna is due for release on 31st March.Continue reading “Poorna: Trailer”
Double Feluda is an upcoming Bengali language crime thriller drama film, based on the Bengali sleuth Feluda, created by the acclaimed and renowned Oscar– winning director Satyajit Ray. Directed by the latter’s son Sandip Ray, the film marks the comeback of both Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Saheb Bhattacharya, with the former returning to the iconic of Feluda and the latter playing his sidekick, Topshe. The film is reportedly said to be released for Christmas, 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic creation. After going with Abir Chatterjee as Feluda in Badshahi Angti (2014), Sandip Ray has gone back to Sabyasachi and Eros International has stepped in as the producer. Sirsha Ray is the DOP and Subrata Roy is the editor, the original Feluda theme music by Satyajit Ray has been retained in the film.Continue reading “Double Feluda: Trailer”
Saibal Mitra‘s Bengali film Chitrokar aka The Last Mural is part of the Indian Panorama section at the ongoing IFFI 2016 at Goa. It is also featuring in the competition section at the prestigious International Film Festival of Kerala which is scheduled from 9-16 December. Produced by Pranab Kanti Purkayastha, written and directed by Saibal Mitra, Chitrokar features Dhritiman Chatterjee and Arpita Chatterjee in the lead along with Arun Mukherjee, Mrinal Dey, Pradip Kumar Ray, Debdoot Ghosh, Subhrajit Dutta etc. The film has music by Pt. Tejendra Narayan Majumdar while Asoke Dasgupta is the DOP and Sumit Ghosh is the editor.Continue reading “Chitrokar: 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”
Satyajit Ray has always faced the accusation of ignoring political realities in his films. Ray may never have been a left card carrying member, but his movies always have focused on how human lives are impacted due to the larger context of politics right from Apu to his last film Agantuk.
Ray does not waste time in establishing the urgency, the first scene shows a doctor being concerned with the spread of a waterborne disease which he feels is due to contamination. Then in the next few minutes he establishes the major characters of the film in the living room of the doctor.Continue reading “Satyajit Ray’s Ganashatru (An Enemy of the People): Drawingroom and Worldview of Hindu Middle Class”
This is a simple story of love, about simple people told simply. That is how Bikas Mishra describes Chauranga, his first feature film in a sentence. Simple however, the film is not by a large measure. Neither is the journey of this writer film maker who is savoring the release of his film across the country.
A quick look across multiplexes shows limited screens listed for Chauranga, something that is not surprising given the star obsessed movie industry we all live with. A small non main stream film like this has to jostle for mind space and footfalls whenever it releases, even in a lean week like this one. “It does not really matter though, there is an audience for Chauranga and films like it” says Bikas confidently, “films like these have made it to the screens and even run well in the recent past proving that content , good content at that, is appreciated.” Even a film in Khortha, a dialect from Bikas’s village near Hazaribagh in Jharkhand. “A lot of my experiences in my life, growing up where I did are reflected in the film” adds Bikas as we discuss how tough it was to make a film dealing with issues usually brushed under the carpet by many in our society.Continue reading “In Conversation with Bikas Mishra: “A simple story told simply, that is Chauranga””
Directed by Bikas Ranjan Mishra, Chauranga tells the story of fourteen-year-old Santu who wants to go to school. But it is not easy, since he stays in a village that’s deep rooted in caste-hierarchy, oppression and debauchery. Whether Santu is able to overcome this and fulfill his dream forms the crux of the film.
The film which stars Sanjay Suri, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Anshuman Jha and Dhritiman Chatterjee among others had won the Grand Jury prize at IFFLA (International Film Festival Of Los Angeles) and the Best Film award in the India Gold category at MAMI (Mumbai Film Festival) 2014. The film has also been an official selection at Dubai International Film Festival and Chicago South Asian Film Festival among other international film festivals.
The film which is produced by Sanjay Suri, Onir and Mohan Mulani is scheduled for a theatrical release in India on 8th January 2016.
Meanwhile, here’s the trailer of the film.
Debaditya Bandopadhyay who had earlier directed Tapas Paul and Swastika Mukherjee in 8:08 er Bonga Local is now ready with his next film, Naxal. Featuring Mithun Chakraborty and Dhritiman Chatterjee in the lead, Naxal or Nakshal as it is pronounced is produced by Mainak Saha. The film also features Shankar Chakraborty and Gargi RoyChowdhury among others. Naxal is a tale of 2 men who were naxalites from 1967-72 and who then moved on to different paths in their life. Now 42 years later they come across each other once again. Music is by Rupam Islam and Allan Ao while Bejoy Anand is the DOP and Muhammad Alam is the editor.Continue reading “Naxal: Trailer”