Meghe Dhaka Tara 2013 – A Review
Ritwik Ghatak is an enigma. Rejected during his times by the public, and hailed as a pioneer of meaningful cinema by later generations, Ghatak is an epitome of a true Bengali intellectual for whom life was but a talisman of ideals. A non-conformist to the core, the ace filmmaker refused to let his talent be imprisoned by the ethos of the state or the societal machinery.
Meghe Dhaka Tara coincidentally shares the name with a masterpiece by Ritwik Ghatak, and quite meaningfully so. Hailed as a biopic of the forgotten hero of Bangla cinema, the film opens with a disclaimer that this film is a work of fiction with Nilkantha Bagchi (lead character from Ritwik’s autobiographical) as the central character. Undoubtedly, a fitting tribute to the legendary filmmaker, Meghe Dhaka Tara flows like a herd of clouds on the sky, masking a star here and there.
Anyone who has not seen Ritwik Ghatak’s films, may not comprehend a lot of scenes, or for that matter the style of storytelling. Not that a connoisseur of Ghatak’s creations will like it any more (or less) than a new-age movie-viewer, the film hooks on to your heart, carving a niche in your soul with the sweet nothings that fill the screen, sometimes in oblivion, subtly, to announce the presence of Ghatak in every scene.
The pillars on which director Kamaleshwar Mukherjee has built this movie on, the actors and the music, play their part to succinct perfection. The film rests on Saswata Chatterjee’s shoulders, and the actor does not shy away from carrying out this Herculean task with innate affinity. Undoubtedly the best in the generation of actors post Uttam-Soumitra era, his expressions, dialect, posture and ease reflect the evolution of his talent from the good old days when he played Topshe on the small screen. Although pushed to playing a second fiddle, just like her character, Ananya Chatterjee gives you back Sikha (from Abohoman). The poise, dignity, mental turmoil and concern for her husband are well expressed through her eyes and her face.
Debojyoti Mishra’s score adds a soul to the celebration of emotions. From Beethoven’s symphony to the cry of helplessness of refugees, or the well-fitting dhak beats, every scene is brought to life by Mishra’s amazing wizardry with compositions. True to the spirit of the film, or the man for whom the film is made, Bangla folk finds a respectable position in the cacophony of myriad expressions.
And present throughout the biopic is Bengal, its politics, bloodied history and denigration as a society. One is introduced to a certain period through radio announcements; the constant struggle of Bengalis from other side of the border to shrug off their refugee tag and be recognised as humans first, well established through the lens of the director. In fact, the mental asylum becomes a symbol of the struggle of the marginalised section of the society to stand up and challenge the status quo that has secluded them from the “normal” people.
Meghe Dhaka Tara is not epic. Neither is it mediocre. The film is unique, a rarity in these times of barrenness. The film is a lesson for the Bengali bhodrolok, who chose to let Ritwik Ghatak remain in oblivion, while celebrating (or making a show of) Tagore or Ray. Meghe Dhaka Tara is just perfect, and may be that withholds it from exceeding expectations. Tel, nun, lonka, gorom masala sob map moto, tobu jeno kothaye ekta khamti theke gelo.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
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