Category Archives: film

Movie Review: Ek Je Chhilo Raja by Srijit Mukherjee

“Your Honour, as my first witness, I would like call to the witness box, a dead body”

And thus began a court case, which ran for 16 years, and etched its place in history for the astonishing absurdity of its premise. The famed Bhawal Sanyasi court case, as documented in academician Partha Chatterjee’s book “A Princely Imposter?” is transformed into a saga of grandeur, love, betrayal and spirituality by Srijit Mukherjee, as Jisshu U Sengupta delivers his career-best performance as the ascetic king, who fought for his identity.

Any Bengali, worth his salt, would have heard about the infamous Bhawal case while growing up. Srijit Mukherjee in his adaptation, has named the estate ‘Bikrampur’ instead. Mahendra Kumar Choudhuri, the middle prince of the estate, was a man who lived two lives (in his own words) – one who lived a life of lascivious luxury on one hand and played the part of guardian angel for his subjects on the other. He was affected by syphilis and was taken to Darjeeling for treatment along with his wife, Chandrabati Devi, brother-in-law, Satya, and a family doctor, Ashwini. He apparently died in Darjeeling and was cremated there as well. After 12 years, a Sanyasi shows up at the estate, arousing people’s curiosity and leading to a rumour that he is the lost prince of the Bikrampur Estate. What follows is a 16 year long case, which is the foundation of this grand saga.

From the word go, the film charms its way into your hearts – with the breathtaking cinematography by Gairik Sarkar, the muted colour palate (black and white for the court scenes, a brilliant thought), astoundingly real make-up (the heart of the film – Jisshu has 4 different looks in the film) and soul-stirring music. “Esho Hey” remains the lingering theme throughout the film, and the mesmerising use of the classical instruments keeps the tune lingering in your ears for hours ever since.

Srijit Mukherjee deserves a huge praise for the intricate detailing that’s gone into designing each frame. The aura of erstwhile Bengali Zamindari household has been brought to life with elan. The accent (coached by Jaya Ahsan) did not seem forced, and gave the film a touch of incredulous realism. The production design is top-notch; a production of this scale was unprecedented in Bengali cinema. One must commend SVF for believing in this film.

What makes Srijit Da endearing to his fans is his intelligent writing – and he doesn’t disappoint in this magnum opus either. Agreed, the film does not have a lot of witty one-liners, or abstract references to other literature or films, like his other works. But, it connects directly your heart, with its captivating narration. Truth, they say is stranger than fiction. And in this case, there are many layers to it, which make this court case no less than a thrilling adventure in the Himalayas.

It goes without saying that such a majestic premise would require actors of repute for cementing the rock-solid foundation. As I mentioned earlier, Jisshu Sengupta as the prince, fills the screen with such an aura that you cannot take eyes away from him. Anirban Bhattacharya, as his scheming brother-in-law puts up a splendid performance, which makes him endearing to the core. Jaya Ahsan, as Mrinmayi Devi, the prince’s favourite sister, steals the show with her effortless, emphatic performance.

Among the notable others, are the lawyer duo, Anjan Dutt and Aparna Sen, who add life to the courtroom with their spirited debates; they have a backstory too. Going beyond the case of identity of the Mahendra Choudhuri, they fight their own battles in the courtroom – one of nationalistic pride against British rule, and another against the patriarchal foundation of the society. The two women in the prince’s life – his wronged and neglected wife Chandrabati (Rajnandini Paul) and the courtesan Kadambini (Sreenanda Shankar) essay their parts to perfection. Rudranil Ghosh, as the doctor, had a pivotal presence throughout.

Ek Je Chhilo Raja, is different from Srijit Mukherjee’s other films, but also bears his signature style of filmmaking throughout. Undoubtedly, among his best five works till date, the film provokes you into introspection. It works because, at heart, it bears allegiance to a prophetic dialogue from Srijit Da’s last film – “Golpo ta bole jete hobe. Ekjon dorshoker jonyo holeo bolte hobe. Golpo bolai amader kaaj.”

My Rating: 4/5 stars

DISCLAIMER: ALL IMAGES USED IN THIS POST HAVE THEIR RESPECTIVE COPYRIGHTS

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70th Primetime Emmy – My predictions

It’s that time of the year again. Come Monday, we will get to know which of our favourite American shows take home the coveted Emmys. There is a diverse mix of shows and actors nominated this year for the Emmy.

 

Image Source: goldderby.com

 

There are our usual favourites like ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘The Crown’ or ‘Stranger Things’ or even ‘Westworld’. Some actors like Julia Louis Dreyfus have not been nominated this year. And there is a whole lot of new shows that have been nominated; ‘Barry’ for example.

Here are my predictions of the winners who will take home the Emmy this year (names marked in bold). The predictions are for only those categories, which interest me. Do share your feedback, if you agree (or disagree) with my choices. Let’s see how many correct predictions I make.

My choices are based on personal liking, as well as trends over the years.

Drama Series

“The Handmaid’s Tale”
“Game of Thrones”
“This Is Us”
“The Crown”
“The Americans”
“Stranger Things”
“Westworld”

Comedy Series

“Atlanta” (FX)
“Barry” (HBO)
“Black-ish” (ABC)
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO)
“GLOW” (Netflix)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
“Silicon Valley” (HBO)
“The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix)

Limited Series

“The Alienist”
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
“Genius: Picasso”
“Godless”
“Patrick Melrose”

Lead Actor in a Drama Series:

Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Ed Harris (“Westworld”)
Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”)
Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”)
Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”)

Lead Actress in a Drama Series:

Claire Foy (“The Crown”)
Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)
Keri Russell (“The Americans”)
Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”)

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:

Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
Bill Hader (“Barry”)
Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)
William H. Macy (“Shameless”)
Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”)
Ted Danson (“The Good Place”)

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:

Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”)
Allison Janney (“Mom”)
Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”)
Issa Rae (“Insecure”)

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie:

Antonio Banderas (“Genius: Picasso”)
Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”)
Jeff Daniels (“The Looming Tower”)
John Legend (“Jesus Christ Superstar”)
Jesse Plemons (“USS Callister”)

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie:

Laura Dern (“The Tale”)
Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”)
Michelle Dockery (“Godless”)
Edie Falco (“The Menendez Murders”)
Regina King (“Seven Seconds”)
Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story: Cult”)

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”)
Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”)
Joseph Fiennes (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
David Harbour (“Stranger Things”)
Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”)
Matt Smith (“The Crown”)

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Alexis Bledel (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”)
Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”)
Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown”)
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)
Yvonne Strahovski (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Louie Anderson (“Baskets”)
Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”)
Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)
Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”)
Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”)
Henry Winkler (“Barry”)

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Zazie Beetz (“Atlanta”)
Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Aidy Bryant (“Saturday Night Live”)
Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”)
Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”)
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Laurie Metcalf (“Roseanne”)
Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”)

Reality Competition

“The Amazing Race”
“American Ninja Warrior”
“Project Runway”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race”
“Top Chef”
“The Voice”

Variety Sketch Series

“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“Portlandia” (IFC)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“Tracey Ullman’s Show” (HBO)
“At Home with Amy Sedaris” (TruTV)
“I Love You, America” (Hulu)

Variety Talk Series

“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah”
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”
“Late Late Show with James Corden
“Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Television Movie

“Fahrenheit 451” (HBO)
“Flint” (Lifetime)
“Paterno” (HBO)
“The Tale” (HBO)
“Black Mirror: USS Callister” (Netflix)

 

P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter. This is my fifth post.

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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