Update Of Bengali movies in the third quarter of 2018
The third quarter of 2018 is just over and its time to look back how the Bengali movies performed in this quarter. Every year the third quarter gets sandwiched between two most favourite season of film producers, summer vacation and Durga Puja. As a result very few movies get released during third quarter specially the month of September goes completely blank. Lets have a month-wise recap of the last three months.
This month there were few good releases like Shonar Pahar, Maati, Pupa. These movies got rave reviews but could not perform that well commercially mostly because those were from smaller production houses.
Shonar Pahar is definetely one of the best films of the year. 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. He has narrated a very emotional story in a proper way so that the audience can feel connected with it. This subject had a strong possibility to turn into a melodramatic film about ignorance of elderly people but he has 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.
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 Leena Gangopadhyay and Saibal Banerjee made an impressive debut. Their detailing for creating perfect ambiance for Bangladesh was commendable. Also they were ably supported by the lead pair, two extremely talented actors Adil Hussain and Paoli Dam. Paoli Dam gave a solid performance as a woman trying to connect with her roots in Bangladesh. Adil Hussain was in fantastic form and very much comfortable with his bengali diction. Besides them Savitri Chatterjee and Aparajita Adhya were impressive in their extended cameos. Debojoyti Mishra’s music was another good thing about the film. It explored wonderfully the folk songs from Bangladesh.
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 it affects 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.
Happy Pill directed by Mainak Bhaumik was satire that gave an important message that happiness comes from inside, nothing else but only you can make yourself happy. But in our current society most of the people have forgotten this basic formula and looking for happiness everywhere outside. With Happy Pill Mainak Bhaumik took a diversion from his regular way of story telling and choose to tell his story from the point of view of people belonging from a lower middle class family. Although the concept was noble but the screenplay was very routine and predictable. In spite of being a satire it lacks in delivering good humor. But the lead performers compensated for the shortcomings of the script. Both Ritwick Chakraborty and Parno Mittra who played siblings delivered praiseworthy performances.
Apart from these movies there was Bidaay Byomkesh which was an interesting concept but failed miserably in execution. Only good thing about the film was the performance by Abir Chatterjee in a double role as aged Byomkesh and his young grandson. In spite of being an average film it got a better response at the box office compared to the other releases around same time. It proved once again that Abir Chatterjee and Byomkesh is always a winning combination for commercial success.
It was a mere co-incidence that the two important releases of this month were women centric stories told with women’s point of view. These movies were Uronchondi and Crisscross.
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. Shooting a full movie on a road journey is not an easy task and he deserves credit for making it look so authentic. Sudiptaa Chakraborty,one of the finest actress in current time,proved her acting prowess in every scene. This will be remembered as one of her career best performance. 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 confident debut.
Crisscross directed by Birsa Dasgupta was in news since announcement as it was one rare mainstream movie which relied on the shoulders of five leading ladies, they were the hero of the film. It was one slice of life film which talks about the day to day struggle of the city dwellers. It also talked about the importance of hope in our life, it is hope which helps us to survive the daily struggles of life as somewhere we believe if not all at least some of our problems will be solved before the end of the day. The film was based on a a bestseller novel with the same name written by Smaranjit Chakraborty. In the original story there were several characters, here script writer Mainak Bhaumik focused mainly on five female protagonists which were played by Mimi Chakraborty, Nusrat, Jaya Ahsan, Priyanka Sarkar and Sohini Sarkar. The good thing about the script was the characters were very much real and their crisis were also very much familiar from our day to day life. Only problem was the solution of the crisis which was not so realistic. Still the film work for most of the part for the wonderful acting by the leading ladies and some really nice sountrack by JAM8 studios.
There is hardly any big release in the month of September. Mostly producers avoid to release their film considering the small window their film will get in theaters once the Puja releases will take over all the shows. Also during this month mostly people are busy with Pre-Puja preparations so they avoid watching movies. So the month was mainly full of prmotional events for the upcoming Puja releases. Only one film that took the advantage of being the lone release was Flat No 609.
Flat No 609
With his debut film Antarleen director Arindam bhattacharya had surprised everyone by making a wonderful thriller,so for his second film Flat No 609, there was very much curiosity. But unlike his first film this time the director choose to walk towards a tried and tested path. The film mostly used all tried and tested cliches of an horror film, an abandoned flat with a mysterious past, a ghost kid, some mysterious neighbors and lots of scary sound effects. But in spite of using the cliches, the film had enough spine chilling horror moments. Only the film lag behind as a thriller towards the climax where the story derails completely to a unconvincing mystery thriller. The best thing about the film was the superb performance by Tnusree, she was in very good form also Abir Chatterjee ably supported her.
On a whole the third quarter gave some good movies but commercially it was not satisfactory. Now all the hopes are on the last quarter when some big movies are releasing on Durga Puja which will be followed by some more exciting movies during Christmas and New Year season.
Best Film of Q3 2018
Best Director of Q3 2018
Parambrata Chatterjee – Shonar Pahar
Indrashish Acharya – Pupa
Abhishesk Saha – Uronchondi
Best Actor (Male) of Q3 2018
Adil Hussain – Maati
Abir Chatterjee – Bidaay Byomkesh
Ritwick Chakraborty – Happy Pill
Jisshu Sengupta – Shonar Pahar
Kamaleshwar Mukherjee – Pupa
Amartya Ray – Uronchondi
Best Actor (Female) of Q3 2018
Tanuja – Shonar Pahar
Paoli Dam – Maati
Sudiptaa Chakraborty – Uronchondi/Pupa
Mimi Chakraborty – Crisscross
Nusrat – Crisscross
Sohini Sarkar – Crisscross
Tnusree Chakraborty – Flat No 609
Parno Mittra – Happy Pill
Rajnandini Paul – Uronchondi