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Movie Review: Nirbashito by Churni Ganguly

“আমি ভালো নেই, তুমি ভালো থেকো, প্রিয় দেশ”

আজ দেশের স্বাধীনতা দিবসে মনটা ভরে আছে দ্বেষে।
দ্বেষ মৌলবাদের প্রতি।
লেখকের কলম কেড়ে নেওয়া তলোয়ারের প্রতি।
হিংসা, উগ্রবাদ, ধর্মীয় গঁো ড়ামির প্রতি।
আজ তার ভাষা নেই, নেই আলো,
আজ তার দেশ নেই, সে আজ নেই ভালো।

গঙ্গার বয়ে চলা স্রোতে, রাস্তার নিয়ন আলোর কনায়,
বৃষ্টির পাতা ঝড়া মেঘে,
হৃদয়ের শিরায় শিরায়…

আজ মনটা ভরে আছে দ্বেষে।
একাকিত্বে,
কবিতার শবের ভারে,
মৃত শহরের হাহাকার বাজে,

আজ মনটা ভরে আছে দ্বেষে।

 

nirbashito

Churni Ganguly’s directorial debut is enigmatic, thought-provoking and a cinematic beauty. Poetry juxtaposed with lyrical photography, an emotional upheaval easily gives way to a farcical extradition of a cat. Brilliantly written, the film bluntly outlines the threat the voice of freedom is facing from extremists in the society.

In the war between the pen and the sword, the sword always wins. A writer is deported in the dead of night. The city protested and slowly the protests died down. Life is back to normal. But the writer’s words are lost. For those of us, who live away from our homes for work would easily connect with the banished poet. But the canvas is bigger. Baghini has become the epitome of expression here. The poet finds it hard to translate her feelings into words; she has been banished from her mother-tongue. Her only bridge, her cat, is away from her.

In fact Baghini is also the symbol of the circus that bureaucracy in this country is. Intended as comic relief, the farcical measures taken by the administration to send Baghini to her mother also underline how the whims of those in power decide the fate of the nation, more often than not infringing upon individual liberties.

Every member of the cast, specially Soni the cat, was at their best. The film was beautifully shot and perfectly edited. The scenes, interspersed with poems, stung the heart occasionally. Churni Ganguly is not only a fine actor but a great writer too. Her directorial venture only reinforces our faith in Bengali cinema. Kaushik Ganguly and Saswata Chatterjee are effortlessly natural in whatever they do.

The opening scenes of the film brought back the horrors of November, 2008. For that dark chapter, the city must atone. As the film progressed, I was also reminded of the long afternoons I had spent at Taslima’s Delhi residence. No one should ever live in exile, away from their roots; let alone a writer. If I ever get a chance, I would surely want to meet her again and resolve the skirmishes we had on Twitter.

I was chatting with a friend this afternoon. He told me something important. A country or a State is not bad, the people are. Kolkata did not fail in 2008. The people did. India did not fail when MF Hussain was forced to go on exile. The people did. The country still loves and longs for the artist (or the poet) in exile. Baghini is the ray of hope that keeps the words of the poet flowing. For one day, the mother(land) will take back her daughter.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

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

Film Review: Khaad by Kaushik Ganguly

movie review

Simplicity has become a rare luxury in this age of grandeur and showbiz. Trust director Kaushik Ganguly to make a mark with simple storytelling, haunting music and heart-warming performances by the cast. Khaad, Ganguly’s latest film, will stand out among the contemporary productions in being a masterpiece in visual narrative!

Fifteen strangers, entwined by fate, meet with a bus accident… They are trapped in a khaad (a pit) for a night before they can find their way back to life. This is a night of self-discovery, accepting truths of life, the night when one faces the mirror and leaves behind the baggage of the past in the khaad to move on, afresh, pure.

Kaushik Ganguly’s film is not just about the khaad where the characters are trapped temporarily. It is a purgatory for the human soul that deals with the dirt hidden in the innermost recesses of the human mind. How deftly the director has handled the complexities of the mind! And the simplicity of it all will stump you in every scene…

Khaad is not just about the characters. It is a commentary on the society at large – the contemporary world we live in, the travails of human existence. From the dilemma of maintaining social status to the pathos of Partition, or the aspiration of a man from a lower class to serve the army, whose height betrays him, every story has a strong echo in current Bengal.

Every actor played their part to perfection. Kamaleshwar Mukherjee was a revelation, as this was the first appearance of the director in an actor’s avatar. Rudranil Ghosh wins hearts with the simplicity and honesty of Paltan. Mimi Chakraborty and Tanushree are badass in their respective avatars. Pallavi Chatterjee made a great comeback.

Gargi Roy Chowdhury and Lily Chakravarty were scene-stealers. The restrained performance of Gargi Roy Chowdhury was astounding. The scene where Gargi shares her lipstick with Lily Chakravarty, to help her mask the effects of chemotherapy, will move any person to tears.

And the pillar of strength that keeps the narrative going is definitely the music (although I feel it could be toned down at places – like the bus ride). Ami Achi and Mutho Mutho Aaj Dilam seamlessly send the message across through the lyrics.

I have desisted from giving any direct spoilers so far and will not comment on the climax. It was not totally unexpected, but comes as a brutal shock. All I can say is that you will be found dumbfounded, clutching your seat, goose-flesh on the skin, as end credits roll.

Overall, words are not enough to thank Kaushik Ganguly for this brilliant cinematic experience.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

P.S. – Thank you Shree Venkatesh Films for the invitation to the special screening.

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

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