Round Up 2018 – Best Bengali movies of the year 2018
2018 is about to end so it is the time to look back and do a yearly recap. For Bengali movies, the year was quite good. Mostly good content based movies get well received and copied remakes were rejected which is a good sign. We hope this trend will continue in future and it will help the makers to understand the pulse of the audience and make some good movies based on original contents. Here comes a list of Best Bengali movies in the year 2018, in the order of their release dates.
[Note – this list has no connection with box office performance of the films, the list has been made solely based on the content of the films.]
Rong Beronger Korhi
Rong beronger Korhi, Directed by Ranjan Ghosh was an anthology film having four short stories about human emotions connected with the common theme of money. The four stories were named based on colors as per the emotion that has been talked about in that story. For example, the story about love was named as Red , the story about separation was termed as blue. All the stories were well written which ended with a twist.Also all the stories tried to convey the message that money is very important in life but not more than the emotions and feelings. It was a well made film with some solid performances by the whole cast, specially by Rituparna Sengupta, Arunima Ghosh and Ritwick Chakraborty.
Master story teller Kaushik Ganguly working with the much loved couple Prosenjit Chatterjee and Rituparna Sengupta for the first time, this news was big enough for everyone to be curious for the film since it was announced. When the film released, it lived up to everyone’s expectations. The mesmerizing chemistry between Prosenjit and Rituparna had been wonderfully showcased in this mature love story revolving around an extra marital relationship. Apart from the love story there was a gripping murder mystery too which was unfolding in parallel. Besides the lead pair every other actor was in terrific form specially Kaushik and Chunri Ganguly. The added attraction was the superbly composed songs by Anupam Roy which blended nicely with the narrative. The film got big thumbs up by each and everybody and became a box office hit too.
Director duo Shiboprasad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy has made it a habit to deliver a hit every year during the summers. With Haami they continued this trend. Haami was a film about school kids and their parents. It was a well made film which gave good message about how to deal with a young kid. It focused on some relevant issues like kid’s safety in school campus.But it was never preachy rather it gave all the good lessions without compromising with the required dose of entertainment. The performances by the whole cast was impressive specially the child actors Broto Banaerjee and Tiyasha Paul won everyone’s heart. There is no doubt the director knows the pulse of their audience and once again they proved that with Haami. The film got positive feedback from everyone and that reflected on the box office performance too. It is one of the biggest hits of the year.
Rainbow Jelly, directed by Soukarya Ghoshal,was a small film made with a big heart. This was a film inspired by the fantasy fairy tale stories written in Bengali literature. A modern day fairy tale story of a differently abled orphan boy who is suffering from marginal IQ and a tyrant uncle. This boy has lot of pain in his life but he has his own fantasy world to escape the sufferings. Talented actors Kaushik Sen and Shreelekha Mitra gave superb performances. But the star of the film was debutante Mahabrata Basu in the central character. Most inspiring thing about the kid is, he himself is a special child having some neurological problems. But that never stopped him from giving a solid performance. Inspite of having a small scale release, the film it managed to leave its impression to a larger section of people which proved the power of good content once again.
In last few years, Srijit Mukherji was continuously giving commercial success but some of his loyal fans were not so happy with some of his recent films. With Uma, Srijit made a comeback with a bang. This emotional drama about a father and daughter was appreciated unanimously. It was loosely based on a real life incident from Canada. Srijit Mukharji had wonderfully adopted that incident to suit with Bengali sentiments by adding the flavors of Durga Puja in it. With this film Jisshu Sengupta’s daughter Sara made her acting debut and both the father and daughter won hearts everywhere. But the show stealer was Anjan Dutt who was in a terrific form. Rudranil Ghosh and Anirban Bhattacharya also grabbed attention with their powerful acts. The melodious music by Anupam Roy was the icing on the cake. Besides being a huge box office success, the film also get recognition at several international film festivals.
Shonar Pahar was a sweet and simple story about the unusual bonding of an old lady and a young kid. As a director it is Parambrata Chatterjee’s best film so far. This subject had a strong possibility to turn into a melodramatic film about ignorance of elderly people but Parambrata controlled his narrative from diverting to that route. Also he deserves credit for daring to make a film on a subject where a 70 plus lady is the central lead, many filmmakers would have backed out with this concept thinking about its limited commercial appeal. Veteran actress Tanuja made a comeback to Bengali movies after a long gap and it was heart warming to see her performing so well in the film. The little kid Srijato who made his acting debut also gave a heart winning performance. The other actors Jisshu Sengupta, Parambrata Chatterjee and Gargee Roychowdhury were impressive in their limited scope. Also it was nostalgic to see Soumitra Chatterjee (in a cameo) and Tanuja in same frame after so long.
Independent director Indrashish Acharya once again impressed every one with his second film Pupa. A film made on a small scale budget got rave reviews at many film festivals across the globe. It dealt with the controversial subject of euthanasia. One man who is living only because of life support systems, how far his family can support him. How does it affect his son and daughter’s personal and professional lives. This film highlighted the dilemma of the relatives of such a patient, whether they should move on in life or should live in hope and wait. The film featured talented actors Rahul banerjee and Sudiptaa Chakraborty as siblings whose father is bed ridden with life support systems. It also featured Kamaleshwar Mukherjee as their uncle. All these three actors were very impressive in their parts specially Kamaleshwar Mukherjee who delivered his best as an actor.
Uronchondi was a story about three women of different ages who met on a road journey.All of these three ladies were victims of male dominated society and trying to run away from their past in search of a better future.This is the first ever full length road movie made in Bengali. Being true to the road movie genre it followed the rules literally, like through the journey the protagonists rediscovered themselves, found new bonding, dealt with their past which they were trying to escape. It focused on so many problems which women have to face even in 21st century. But the good thing was the film brought all these issues without being preachy, without giving any lecture on women empowerment. Director Abhishek Saha made a courageous debut with such an unconventional subject. Sudiptaa Chakraborty,one of the finest actress in current time,proved her acting prowess in every scene. It was refreshing to see veteran actress Chitra Sen on big screen after so long. Along side of these two established actors, the two newcomers Amartya Ray and Rajnandini Paul made a confident debut.
Ek Je Chhilo Raja
A king who came back after 12 yrs of his death to claim his wealth from the British Govt and it led him to a court case. The court case continued for long 16 years. This captivating story of Bhawal Sanyasi has inspired many directors for so many years and everyone has made their own versions. This Durga Puja Srijit Mukherji came with his version of this fascinating story with Ek Je Chhilo Raja. Srijit Mukherji’s version which was mostly inspired by the book A Princely Impostor written by Partha Chatterjee, was quite different and more realistic compared to the earlier adaptations of the story. Srijit’s detailing to recreate that era was picture perfect and his non-linear narrative was quite gripping. Jisshu Sengupta gave his career best performance in the title role. He was actively supported by the excellent make up which had helped him to transform into three different looks for the character.Apart from Jisshu, Jaya Ahsan also got rave reviews for her performance. The film was hugely appreciated everywhere including box office as well as film festival circuits. Commercially this is the biggest hit of this year.
Every teenager has to go through a phase in their life when they feel that they are grown up enough to decide for themselves but their parents think they are still young enough to be left independent. This is a phase when kids do not understand their parents and parents do not understand their kids properly. Director Mainak Bhaumik’s Generation Aami wonderfully captured that scenario through a heart touching story. The good thing about the writing was that it talked about both the good and bad things of both parents and kids, without being partial to any of the generations. Althought the subject was not too refreshing but what worked for the film was the characters and the moments which were created from our day to day life. Everyone in the audience could easily relate with those. The casting of the film was very nice both the leads Rwitoboroto Mukherjee and Sauraseni Maitra delivered their career best performances. They were ably supported by Shantilal Mukherjee and Aparajita Adhya. Arindom Chatterjee’s music was another plus point of the film.
We must be thankful to the makers of Rosogolla, for bringing up this inspiring story of Nobin Chandra Das, the inventor of Rosogolla. This was one story where we all know the end from very beginning but many of us did not know how the journey will progress towards the climax.One must praise screenplay writers Pavel and Smaranjit Chakraborty for presenting this journey in the form of a sweet engaging story without tampering the facts. Their extensive research was reflecting in the screenplay. It touched upon all the important events from the life of Nobin which had helped him to move step by step towards his biggest achievement. The music, set design, make up, costume everything was perfect to recreate the era. The best discovery of the film was the debutante lead pair Ujaan Ganguly and Abantika Biswas. The whole cast and crew put their heart to tell this story and the output of their hard work was satisfactory.
There are few movies which could not make it to be in the list but they were partially good and deserves a special mention.
Special Mention –
Ami Joy Chatterjee
This Manoj Michigan directed film was an unconventional thriller with some wonderful message. It was the story of a person’s transformation from a self centered egoistic man to a kind hearted, compassionate person. Abir Chatterjee was very impressive in the lead role.
With Kabir, Dev once again showed his interest for meaningful subjects as a producer. This one was a crime thriller dealing with terrorism which was very refreshing subject for Bengali cinema Director Aniket Chattopadhyay had worked well to make it a gripping thriller. Only the climax was little let down as it was too simplistic and unrealistic.
Director Sayantan Ghoshal’s Alinagarer Golokdhadha was much more than just a regular treasure hunt thriller. It take us to a historical tour of Bengal. It reveals lots of historical facts about different landmarks of Kolkata and Murshidabad about which a larger section of people are unaware. All credit goes to story and screenplay writer Sougata Basu, his extensive research was visible in the script.
Guptodhoner Sondhane,directed by Dhrubo Banerjee, started a fresh treasure hunt franchise. A hunt for the hidden treasures from Moghul era lead by History professor Subarno Sen aka Sona Da. People of all ages loved this thriller embedded with bangaliyana. Abir Chatterjee and Arjun Chakraborty’s performances were also liked by the audiences.
Pratim D Gupta’s Ahare Mon was a combination of four stories about love, longing, companionship, hope. Some wonderfully written moments , truly adorable characters and superb acting by the lead cast made it a favourite among the audiences. Anjan Dutt, Mamata Shankar, Paoli Dam got rave reviews for their performances. But the biggest surprise among the whole cast was Adil Hussain who impressed each and everyone with his heart warming act. Also Chitrangada Chakraborty made a promising debut.
Several films have been made on partition and the sufferings of people during that time but Maati directed by Leena Gangopadhyay and Saibal Banerjee was little different. It talked about the current generation who are not the direct victims of partition, how much they feel connected with their motherland and how much they are rooted towards their base. The director duo made an impressive debut. Also they were ably supported by the lead pair, two extremely talented actors Adil Hussain and Paoli Dam.
Byomkesh Gowtro, based on the story Rakter Daag,was an engaging crime thriller dealing with some complext human relationships. It is undoubtedly director Arindam Sil’s best Byomkesh movie so far. As Byomkesh, Abir Chatterjee showed perfect blend of intelligence and smartness combined with bangaliyana. But the show stealer was Arjun Chakraborty playing the antagonist Satyakaam.