Autograph, Srijit Mukherjee’s first film was a tribute to Satyajit Ray’s Nayak. Although not a brilliant film, it gave us a sneak peek into what Srijit is capable of. 22se 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.
Poetry is the crux of literature in any part of the world. It took Srijit Mukherjee to make poetry a character of the film – it spoke, played its part and in the end emerged as the real winner. Bengali literature will always be indebted to Srijit for 22se Srabon – this beautiful amalgamation of bengali cinema and bengali literature will go down the pages of history as a relic. To supplement the poetic screenplay, was the background score which accentuates your cinematic performance. The aalap when Parambrata enters Prasenjit’s house still haunts my ears.
We have known Gautam Ghosh before as an ace director who has won accolades all across the world, we have known him as a cinematography wizard who has given us films like Mr and Mrs Iyer. 22se Srabon gives us Gautam Ghosh, the actor, who almost everyone can relate to – the idealist poet, whose words the State refuses to hear, driving him to “insanity”. But was he really insane?
22se Srabon is his career best performance by Prasenjit. His opening scene took me back to “The Last Lear” – i had thought no one can match the persona of Big B ever. I was happily proven wrong. And proudly so, by an actor of the Bengali film industry. The arrogance, the indifference, the angst, and moreover the quite mind game playing in his eyes – Prasenjit gifted us a magical performance on his 50th birthday. 22se Srabon is what it is for the brilliant screen presence of the two actors – Gautam Ghosh and Prasenjit Chatterjee.
Many films have been made from poetry. Sob Choritro Kalponik, Jara Brishtite Bhijechilo have been the most recent ones i can remember. But they failed to engage us into the words like 22se Srabon did. To even conceptualize murders which enliven couplets penned by stalwarts like Joy Goswami, Binoy Majumder, Shakti Chattopadhyay, Jibanananda Das, Michael Madhusudan or Sukanto, requires a great knowledge of their works.
This film also subtly gives us many messages in the one liners that the film is full of. The unabashed use of expletives (in the vernacular) can give the makers of Delhi Belly a run for their money. But that does not make you uncomfortable seated between two elderly ladies in the theatre. The characters are as real or normal as we are. We share their pain, relate to their grief. From the loss of your wife and child to the constant tangle between boyfriend and best friend, the subplots in the film just enrich the two and half hour long experience.
22se Srabon must be watched by all. For the love of bengali cinema, for the love of poetry, and above all to learn a lesson. We tend to ignore the dark domains of our psyche, and in doing so let it capture our existence to an extent of living death. And as one of the characters says “Dada ami bachte chai”, the message we all can take from 22se Srabon is to live life.
Eagerly waiting for Srijit’s next film.
My rating – 4/5 for 22se Srabon.
“What does Durga Pujo mean to you” – if this question was put to an audience, the response would be varied. Fun, festivity, tradition, pandal hopping, get togethers, going back to family – Durga Pujo cannot be restricted to just the reference of Ramayan. And an inseparable part of Durga Pujo is the quintessential sweet dishes that are made as special offerings to the deity (only to be devoured by mortals later).
Bengalis are born with a sweet tooth. Known for their rosogolla and sandesh world over, many Bengali culinary dessert delights can put the world’s best pastry chefs to shame. From the pithe to naaru, a Bengali kitchen will never disappoint anyone who indulge in sweet nothings.
In this post i wish to share the recipes of some of the “prosad” that makes Durga Pujo so special (for me at least) :
Naaru or small coconut balls are nothing out of the ordinary but as the famous brand says “Ek se mera kya hoga?”. Found in two major varieties – brown and white – naaru constitutes the integral part of prosad in any Pujo.
Ingredients for Naaru
Grated Coconut (1 cup)
Jaggery (2 cups)
Sugar (acc to taste)
Take the jaggery and heat it to melt. When the molten jaggery is still hot add the grated coconut and mix well. Add sugar according to your taste and mix. Turn off the oven and let the mixture cool. Then make small balls and serve in a dish or store in an air tight container.
Many people add til or dry fruits to enhance the taste. It is up to the discretion of the maker.
[Naaru making starts on Mahalaya at our home and continues till Dashami. It lasts for a long time so you need not eat it all at one go, no matter how tasty it looks].
This one is my favourite and is a MUST for the Aparajita Pujo that takes place at our home after Durga idol immersion is over and everyone is back home for Bijoya. Again a coconut dish, it is a type of coconut barfi, but can have any shape – from a cone to square, rectangle, rhombus, pentagon or even shapes of animals.
Ingredients for Tokti
Grated Coconut – One cup
Sugar – One cup
Mix the coconut and sugar in a bowl. Take a “chhanch” (mould) and place the mixture in it to obtain shape of your choice. Tokti is ready.
[To spice up this simple preparation, you can add dry fruits, khoya, chocolate, or molten jaggery. Easy to make and good to eat, Bijoya is made awesome with tokti].
[P.S. – Measurements are purely to give an idea of the ratio, the dishes are prepared on a much larger scale]
Murki without naaru is like Jay without Veeru. Made from khoi and jaggery, it can easily be eaten with anything from tea to chicken gravy (yours truly tried it all 😛
Making murki is not difficult at all. First you have to separate the “bad” khoi from “good khoi” just like one cleans rice grains. Thereafter, melt the jaggery and add the khoi to it. Mix well and make sure it forms a semi solid lattice. Now store the murki in a air tight tin.
Made famous by Jaynagar, moa is a dish with variety. Moa can be made from muri (puffed rice), chire (chiwra) or mix of milk and either muri or chire. Moa is best if served with tea but it doubles up as prosad too.
Just like you make murki, follow the same procedure for making moa (just replace khoi with chire/muri). In the end make balls with the mixture. Your moa is ready 🙂
When i was a kid i used to call mihidana a brother of Bundiya. They are same in all respects, except the size and taste. Mihi means small or smooth and dana means grains. It is made by making a batter of besan and water and adding it to a sieve with tiny pores to allow small grains to fall in the oil where it is fried. When they turn yellow in colour, they are removed from oil and placed in a bowl containing sugar syrup.
Mihidana is a MUST for the Dashami breakfast. Served as dessert after Luchi and chholar daal, mihidana makes up for the gloom for imminent separation of Ma Durga. Well almost……..
6. Chhanar Payesh
This is an Ashtami/Sondhi Pujo special and very simple to make. The same way payesh (or kheer) is prepared with rice, chhanar payesh is made with chhana or paneer.
To prepare Chhanar payesh, boil about 2 cups milk in a bowl and a tea spoon of lemon juice to it. When the milk is curdled, separate the curd from the excess water and make small balls out of the chhana. (If you are using paneer, you need not go through this step and directly make small cubes). Add these chhana balls to a bowl of boiling milk, add sugar and stir well. After about 15 minutes add cream and your payesh is ready to be served.
7. Durga Doi
The name says it all. This is a special ghol/lassi made in our home on Nabami. The recipe is a family secret and traditionally passed on from a generation to the next. Offered to Ma Durga and then served as dessert during the lunch, it helps us digest the mutton and pulao which is mandatory on Nabami 🙂
Durga doi is also offered as prosad on Dashami. The elders say it is offered as food for the journey back to Kailash.
I promise to come up with some mouth watering Pithe recipes in January. Till then savour these delights and enjoy the Pujo with joy. Sharadiyar Subhecha and as they say – Bolo Durga Mai Ki……………..