Bengali cinema: 2010 onwards

From Indpaedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hindi English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Readers can send additional information, corrections, photographs and even
complete articles on new subjects to our Facebook page If found suitable,
this additional information will be incorporated into the Indpaedia article (with an
acknowledgement) and new entries will be created (also with due
acknowledgement). Readers will be able to edit existing articles and post new articles
directly on only after its formal launch.

Information regarding the previous decades is awaited


Before 2010 as well

Trams in Bengali cinema

By 2023, the metro replaces the tram

Priyanka Dasgupta, February 19, 2023: The Times of India

There’s a West Bengal tourism commercial that shows the city through the lens of a foreigner. Its last sequence features a tram car chugging past the Maidans by night on Route 36. The climax is the spectacular entry of Bengal’s brand ambassador, Shah Rukh Khan, singing Tagore’s ‘Ami chini go chini tomare ogo bideshini’. When the tram car finally chugs out of the frame, the camera zooms in on the words, ‘Experience Bengal: The sweetest part of India’. Six years since the commercial aired and a pandemic later, Kolkata’s once-ubiquitous trams are chugging out of the city. Even the sound design of contemporary Bengali cinema no longer uses the chimes of tram bells to capture Kolkata’s essence.

Inseparable For Years Bengali cinema’s tram connection meandered from Satyajit Ray’s ‘Mahanagar’ (1963) to Amitabha Chaterji’s ‘Manohar & I’ (2018) via Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s ‘Kaalpurush’ (2005), Atanu Ghosh’s ‘Abby Sen’ (2015), Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee’s ‘Praktan’ (2016), Srijit Mukherji’s ‘Ek Je Chhilo Raja’ (2018), and Raj Chakraborty’s ‘Parineeta’ (2019). Not just films, even their opening credits celebrated this connection. Subrata Mitra filmed the two-minute-long title sequence of Satyajit Ray’s ‘Mahanagar’ (1963) by only focusing on a moving tram cable.

Once Ray’s credits for the film’s screenplay, music and direction have rolled, the camera moves inside the tram car to freeze on Anil Chatterjee’s tired face. “Ray used just the electric cable to depict the big city. In the background score, he also changed the tempo and volume of violin, flute and cello to heighten the drama of everydaylife,” said Riddhi Goswami, a member of the Ray Society. Criss-crossing tram wires form the backdrop for the opening title card of Mithun Chakraborty-Rahul Bose-Sameera Reddy starrer ‘Kaalpurush’.

“My father loved everything quaint and old that stood witness to time and defined his Kolkata in its purest form,” said music director Alokananda Dasgupta, daughter of the film’s director, the late Buddhadeb Dasgupta. Later in the film, Bose falls asleep inside a compartment and has imaginary conversations with his father about his love, hatred, regret and memories. “It is such a vulnerable andsensitive scene. What better than the long-lost tram to act out this metaphor of extended realism in his film,” she added. Metaphorical Journeys Ritwik Ghatak used trams in ‘Bari Theke Paliye’ as a metaphor for Kolkata’s mechanical transport. But film scholar Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay said Ray and Ghatak used trams differently. “In Ray’s ‘Apur Sansar’, the tram becomes a space where dreams turn into reality when Apu reads the editor’s letter. In contrast, the tram in ‘Bari Theke Paliye’ symbolises crude mechanisation and not fantasies. ” Trams also appear in Mrinal Sen’s ‘Interview’.

“The protagonist nabs a pickpocket in a tram. That was more of an emblem of day-to-day life and living in 1970s’ Kolkata,” Mukhopadhyay said. Parked In Nostalgia Once an emblem of modernity and the metropolitan mind, trams now symbolise old-world charm. “People who joined college in the midor late-1980s remember how romantic tram rides were during noon, especially if a couple got the front seats just behind the driver’s cabin,” said Atanu Ghosh, who directed the 2015 sci-fi film ‘Abby Sen’. “As a tribute to my fond memories, I devised the tram ride scene as a metaphor for nostalgia and romance in ‘Abby Sen’. In the story, Abby travels 33 years back in time from 2013 to 1980 and meets his wife in an illusion scene inside a tram. ” Poet-turned-filmmaker Srijato penned ‘Chol rastae saji tramline’ for Srijit Mukherji’s ‘Autograph’ (2010) that highlighted the word tram. Despite the song’s popularity, Mukherji didn’t use a tram shot to picturise it. He waited for eight years to use the tram as the setting for the conversation between Aparna Sen and AnjanDutt in ‘Ek Je Chhilo Raja’.

“Tram for me is quintessential Kolkata. I use trams to portray a character of the city which is traditional, old-world, slightly laidback with its own rhythm or something very intimate, quaint and personal,” Mukherji said. Few contemporary Bengali films use trams for a nuanced portrayal of urban loneliness. One rare exception is a 13-minute-long scene from ‘Manohar& I’, which is among British Film Institute’s 10 great films set in Kolkata. Two strangersturned-acquaintances hop on to a tram car. The languid pace and the empty space of a tram car allow a lot of time for the characters to communicate. The camera placed up close captures the hoardings and wall graffiti through the huge windows while the protagonist garnishes his narrative with halftruths and yearnings. “In between their conversation, I deliberately kept some top shots of a serpentine tram negotiating the traffic. The tram becomes a metaphor for Kolkata’s indifference that alienates migrants from the suburbs. The metropolis shuts them up inside boxes. Their existence resonates with tram cars moving around the city like long matchboxes in motion,” director Amitabha Chaterji said. Iconic For The Outsider Most contemporary Bengali films steer clear of the tracks to avoid clichés.

Besides, their plots have long shifted to highrises where the chimes of tram bells hardly reach. “As a child, I used the tram regularly while commuting. But trams have now disappeared from the cityscape. If I set a realistic film in the city, where is the space for trams since my characters will use the metro and app-cabs?” said director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury. But those who haven’t lived in this city as an insider rely on trams, Howrah Bridge and Victoria Memorial to reinforce a stereotype. From Mani Ratnam’s Yuva (2005) and ‘Guru’ (2007), Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Kahaani’ (2012), Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Bullett Raja’ (2013), Shoojit Sircar’s ‘Piku’ (2015), Dibakar Banerjee’s ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’ (2015) to Mridul Toolsidas’ ‘Toolsidas Junior’ (2022), Kolkata’s trams and even tram depots remain the perfect backdrop for period films and romantic songs.


Bengali film industry surprises with content-driven films in 2011

Press Trust of India

Dec 30, 2011

Kolkata: A string of art and experimental movies were commercial success as content-driven and thought-provoking films took centrestage in Bengali cinema this year.

The Bengali film industry remained in the limelight the entire year as the flops went overlooked because of active patronage from the new state government. '

Young director Srijit Mukherji got rave reviews and set the box-office on fire with his second film 22nd Srabon, which means the 22nd day of the Bengali month Srabon.

The Bengali film industry remained in the limelight the entire year as the flops went overlooked.

Director Goutam Ghosh changed hats for the film and delivered an electrifying performance as an eccentric poet in the thriller starring Prosenjit Chatterjee and Raima Sen.

Debutante Kamaleshwar Mukherjee's Uro Chithi, a contemporary love story on how old SMSes can unfold new tales, surprised everybody with a superb box-office report.

Anindo Bandopadhyay's Chaplin, debutante Shibaprasad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy directed Ichche and Haranath Chakraborty's Chalo Paltai were among the other films that led the trend of "middle of the road" cinema which is commercially viable but with off-beat stories.

Bollywood showman Subhash Ghai produced Rituporno Ghosh's Noukadubi, an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's novel.

Aparna Sen's Iti Mrinalini, featuring her and daughter Konkona as an actress now past her prime, fared well at the box-office and won accolades at a number of international film festivals like Cairo, Dubai and New York.

Buddhadeb Dasgupta's Janala too travelled the film festival circuits and even won the best feature film award at the prestigious Asia Pacific Film Festival held in Taipei.

Paris-based Srilankan director Vimukthi Jayasundara went to Cannes with Bengali film Chhatrak as actress Paoli Dam made the industry proud by walking the red carpet.

In the 58th National Film Awards Goutam Ghosh's superhit Moner Manush (The Quest), which is based on the real life of a 19th century mystic poet, won two trophies including the Nargis Dutt award for best feature film on national integration.

The best English film award went to Memories in March, which was scripted by maverick director Rituparno Ghosh, who also played the lead role of a homosexual.

Young director Kaushik Mukherjee's bold documentary Love in India won the National Award for the best film on family values. His another critically-acclaimed and controversial film failed to get a theatrical release in India due to its sexually explicit content but was premiered at the famed Berlin Film Festival.

The legendary New Theaters Studio, which had given Indian cinema its icons like Prithviraj Kapoor and Bimal Roy, was revived with the innocent love story Ami Adu (I am Aadu).

Besides bagging the National award for best Bengali feature film, Ami Adu won the silver award for best film in SAARC Film Festival.

Anjan Dutt's rock musical Ranjana Aami Aar Ashbona pleased both the critics and the audiences.

Few run-of-the-mill movies like Tollywood superstar Dev's Paglu and Romeo, Jeet's Fighter and Shatru, Aniket Chattopadhyay's Bye Bye Bangkok, also attracted the masses.

With more than a hundred releases this year, only a handful of films can be counted upon.


Top five Bengali films -2012

January 23, 2013


1) Hemlock Society

A very different story line where the protagonist runs an institute training aspiring candidate to execute their right to euthanasia! Writer/Director Srijit Mukherjee in his third venture after Autograph (A tribute to Satyajit Ray ) and Baishey Shrabon teamed up with Parambrata Chatterjee, Koel Mallik, Rupa Ganguly, Dipankar Dey and some wonderful actors to tell this unconvincingly true story. If you managed to miss the show, make sure you watch this as you are still alive in 2013!

USP: unique story, crisp dialogue, music by Anupam Roy, Photography and Parambrata’s acting!

2) Muktodhara

The director duo Nandita Roy and Shiboprasad Mukherjee penned a screenplay that was inspired from one of the famous theater with the same name that featured Rituparna Sengupta and prison inmates including Nigel Akara, a real time convict. The film although remains a shadow of the real drama played on the stage, tells an inspirational story about rehabilitation of criminals and life after imprisonment.

USP: Music by Surajit Mukherjee and Joy Sarkar, distinctive story and Nigel Akara.

3) Chitrangada

Rituporno Ghosh takes a deep insight in one of the dance dramas of Rabindranath Tagore with the same title. The screenplay, direction and metaphorical description of time and psych in the movie were awesome. Actors like Anjan Dutt, Dipankar Dey, Raima Sen and Jishu Sengupta along with the director himself did justice to their characters. The crowning of a hearts wish would rather be the bottom line of the film.

USP: Crisp dialogue, subtle camera works depicting time, Anjan Dutt and spectacular story telling.

4) Aboseshey

Debutant director Aditi Roy won my heart with her wonderful story telling technique. The story celebrates the love of a woman in true perspective. A son discovers his mother as a person after she passes away through her intimate acquaintances. The story itself rose to a new height as Rupa Ganguly did splendidly well to justify her character. Co-actors Ankur Khanna, Sen, Dipankar Dey and others were so well placed in the movie. This film demands poly-watch attention from every story lover of Bengal. How about naming the film differently, “Suchismita’s Diary!”?

USP: Tagore Songs by Rupa Ganguly, fabulous direction, apt time transition.

5) Dutta vs. Dutta

Veteran film maker, Anjan Dutt takes a magic wand to make an autobiographical drama and presented the audience a straight from the heart story. The celebration of life amidst all the worldly problems and victory of life remains the bottom line of the movie. The director stepped in the shoes of his father and introduced the very talented Ronodeep Basu as Dutta junior in the film. The story revolves in the city of Kolkata and brings in a lot of nostalgia along with the celebration of idiosyncratic Bengalis. Actors like Rupa Ganguly, Rita Koiral, Parno Mitra, Dipankar Dey, Kaushik Sen, Shankar Chakraborty, Srijit Mukherjee, Arpita Chatterjee and others were undoubtedly remarkable as the Director splendidly placed in the movie.

USP: Music by Neel Dutt, dialogues, profound story line and Anjan Dutt’s acting.

Personal tools