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Movie Review: Take One

movie review - take oneSita is the epitome of chastity and purity, and Indian society expects women to live by her standards. Sita has to stand the test of fire, prove her piety for having spent many a night with a man who was not her husband. Even though she sails through societal tests, she is sacrificed at the altar of governance and sent on exile by her pious husband King Rama.

Mainak Bhowmik tells us the story of Sita in modern context. But Sita here is not the meek and chaste woman one read about in the centuries-old scriptures. Confident, self-sufficient, alcoholic, and “bold” – Doel Mitra runs into a controversy over a leaked MMS where she is seen making love to another man, in an international film. Criticised at home and around, she stands her ground and fights the world, to the point of utter abhorrence. The idea of female sexuality is alien to Indian culture and no wonder the society fears women who are confident experimenting with theirs.

Take One is not just the story of Doel Mitra, the actor. It is also a tale of the pain of a widow, a single mother who has to seek her in-laws’ permission to even meet her daughter. Doel’s world revolves around two pillars – her daughter and her boyfriend. Both worlds come crumbling down.

Take One is neither a take on the Ramayana in the modern context. It is the story of a woman who refuses to live by the rules set by the society. It is her fight against life, an attempt to let a free soul break free from the fetters of societal norms.

Mainak Bhowmik’s direction is complemented by the brilliant score by Mayukh Bhowmik. The scene – where a lonely, wasted Doel whiles her time waiting for her boyfriend to return – is shot beautifully and the music would immediately remind one of Charulata’s loneliness. Combined with the metaphoric scenes of Ramayana, the story attains a full circle.

One cannot forget Rahul Banerjee’s pivotal role in the plot. Although, his rough marriage was a digression from the plot, his presence accentuates the humane touch to the plot.

The use of colours, mix and match of dark lights in several scenes, camera angles (specially Swastika’s portraits) were unmatched. The subtle nuances in the story-telling, accompanied by the music, keeps the audience eager for more.

The film outrightly belongs to Swastika. One cannot imagine anyone else essaying the role of Doel so naturally. Ever so graceful and bold, she has all the emotions in the perfect balance as the scene demands them to be. From the boisterous mother to the estranged girlfriend – she carries out all roles with ease. This is her best performance till date, and one can hope the National Award is coming to Bengal next year.

If you are wishing to watch Take One only for the “bold scenes”, this film is not for you. Watch it, only if you can value good art and not deal with rhetorics over a scene or two.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

P.S. – Presence of Gaurav Chakraborty in the theatre was a distraction. Could not help but ogle at him from time to time.

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Book Review: Marvels and Mysteries of the Mahabharata

Book ReviewMarvels and Mysteries of the Mahabharata: Probing the Folds of India’s Epochal Tradegy’ by Abhijit Basu seeks to delve into a few of its mysterious facets of the great epic, in turn providing insightful explanations for the assortment of the astonishing incidents and mysteries and in turn shed some light on the widespread significance of the age-old, yet timeless, epic.

The many interpretations of the books and their amazing authors are a whole new read. Also, the similarities between the Sumerian, the Greek and the Indian epics is another story in itself, which the author skilfully deals with in the narrative.

The unique splendour of the Mahabharata is that the classic displays humankind in all its grandeur as well as fierceness with no characters is justly good or bad with this is the one lovely hardback on the restating of Mahabharatha which one and all will care for to understand. In fact there is a saying in Bangla: Ja Nayi Bharate (Mahabharat), Ta Nayi Bharate (India).

In a finely explored volume, the author retains the book lover’s curiosity, lightly recites the intricate intrigues in words that moves from clear-cut and expressive, packing into dealings of a thousand years in sheets while intensifying a few instants of an era to a good extent.

The correlations between the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and the time factors in both these great epics of India are quite a revelation. For anyone interested in mythology, the book can come in handy.

It is no mean feat to condense a great epic of the proportion of Mahabharata in 200 odd pages. There are all the elements of the Mahabharata, its interpretations by both Indians and Westerners and the histories, with of course the names and places with a glossary, which I loved. The summary of the mysteries and marvels on the back cover helps a reader decide an order of reading.

Overall, the author manages to make an academic book enjoyable. And that is what matters in the end.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

About the author:

Abhijit Basu is a post graduate in Chemistry from Calcutta University; Basu started penning the books after a career of Civil Services. He retired as a financial administrator in 2010. He has earlier penned books including Prophets, Poets & Philosopher- Kings and Processes Controlling the Composition of Clastic Sediments.

I am thankful to Leadstart Publishing for providing me with a review copy of the book.

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

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