It’s 23rd September and I cannot keep calm because it is the birthday of my favourite filmmaker of our times – Srijit Mukherji. Since October 2010, he has become synonymous with meaningful cinema. From thrillers to period drama, adventure or even gangster action movie – no matter which genre he adopts, Srijit Da always churns out gold.
The eclectic mix of ‘art house’ and ‘commercial’, his films are always thought-provoking. As a dialogue writer, he always creates magic with the subtle references and puns. And music forms a pillar of strength in all his movies. That is why most of his films have turned out to be chartbuster albums, too.
On his birthday, I wish to share my Top 5 favourite Srijit Mukherji films. It was an arduous task zeroing-in on these titles, but after ruthless consideration, here they are:
5. Nirbaak: An unconventional love story, which was ahead of its time, Nirbaak deserves praise for the experimentation. Coming close on the heels of some of Srijit Mukherji’s award-winning works – it elicited curiosity, and required conviction to go ahead and make a film like this. From narcissism to necrophilia – social ‘ills’ have been portrayed in such poignant and poetic depictions, that one cannot help but fall in love with these profligacies. The film re-introduced us to the actor in Anjan Dutt, but the adorable dog stole the show.
4. Ek je Chilo Raja: Based on the controversial Bhawal Sanyasi case, Ek Je Chilo Raja is different from Srijit Mukherjee’s other films, but also bears his signature style of filmmaking throughout. The film provokes you into introspection. 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.
3. Baishe Srabon: “Autograph, Srijit Mukerji’s first film was a tribute to Satyajit Ray’s Nayak. Baishe Srabon establishes him as a director par excellence. Tribute the unsung poet found in almost every Bengali home, the film touted as a musical thriller, delves deep into the human psyche and shows us a dark facet of life, answers to which we seldom seek.”
This is what I wrote in my review on my blog. You can read the full review here: https://antorjatikbangali.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/22se-srabon/
2. Jaatishwar: It is not a film; it is an experience that takes us for a joyride through the annuls of history – freely flowing from present to the past, from fiction to history. If Baishey Srabon was a tribute to the Hungryalist era of Bengali literature, Jaatishwar seeks to revive the Kobigaan period of Bangla music.
1. Chotushkone: It is not just a story of who-dun-it. It is a journey of self-realisation, a journey of tying the loose ends of old strings. Former friends come together to relive their old days, some with a desire for vengeance, and some simply to escape the monotony of life. In a way, Chotushkone is a journey of introspection; it is the song of life.
Rajkahini – The tale of Partition often leaves out the marginalised in the narrative of history. The film seeks to set the record straight by telling us the tale of prostitutes who fought ‘against’ partition to save their ‘home’.
Uma – It may not be a technically great film. Neither can one say it is an epoch-changing story. It is the honesty behind the storytelling that makes Uma a winner. The triumph of the human spirit, against all odds, to fulfil the promise a father made to his dying child – Uma is an ode to life itself.
Hemlock Society – The best music album among all of Srijit Da’s works, Hemlock Society would have been among my Top 5 choices, had its length been a little shorter. The ‘Anand’ style ending could have been avoided, is what I felt. At a time when there is worldwide concern about mental health, this beautiful film on suicide-prevention can work wonder for sensitisation. The writing was top-notch and so were the performances. For the first time, we saw Koel Mullick in a new avatar.
What are your favourite Srijit Mukherji movies? Do let me know in comments.
If there is one medium of communication I love the most after books, it has to be movies. The silver screen brings to life your dreams, fuels your imagination, makes you face the reality and most of the times, takes you to a joyride in a mythical world.
The variety of movies is so vast that it is very difficult to pick a favourite few. When you watch a movie, you enter a relationship with it. Some relationships strengthen into deep bonds, leave imprints in your memories, while some simply flush down the drains.
There are movies which you can watch any number of times without feeling bored. Every time you watch these movies, you discover something good about them. I will write about such movies here:
My favourite movies of 2014:
Jaatishwar –A magical melody of memories, Jaatishwar narrates a tale of reincarnation in a style unmatched by any other film. The music of the film is its soul. Winner of 4 National Awards, this film by Srijit Mukherjee is hardly worth a miss.
Apur Panchali – If you wish to experience poetry on celluloid, this is your film. A fitting tribute to Ray’s Pather Panchali, the visual masterpiece will make you go numb in your senses even after the end credits have stopped rolling.
Ramdhanu: The film points the mirror to the society on what is wrong at the very basic level – nursery school admissions – without being preachy. The bond between a mother and child, the love for one’s culture and the relationship between a husband and wife, who are parents now, have been beautifully depicted in this drama.
My favourite all-time movies:
Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne: When it comes to satire, Satyajit Ray’s craft is unmatched. Adapting a child fantasy novel into a film with so many layers, Ray set a benchmark for filmmaking with GGBB. The sequel Heerak Rajar Deshe is still used as a reference for the political commentary on India even now. From the classic Bhooter Naach to the childlike innocence of Santosh Dutta as he ran around screaming ‘Chhuti’, GGBB will easily evoke the child in you.
Charulata: If there was ever a benchmark set for a flawless cinema, Charulata would definitely be it. From the opening scenes bringing Tagore’s one-and-a-half-pages of description of Charu’s loneliness to life within 2 minutes, to the iconic swing scene – the film says it all, and how! Complexities of relationships are so sublimely depicted on-screen that you don’t, for even a second, feel buoyed down by the burden of intellectual proclivity by Ray.
P.S. – I mention only Bengali movies because I believe in promoting the best of Bengal.