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.
When it comes to portrayal of contemporary Bengali society and adapting novels on screen, there is hardly any match for Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy. From the intricacies of a mother’s possessiveness over her son in Ichhe to the flight of dreams of prisoners in Muktodhara, they have translated intricate travails of human nature so effortlessly that their films remain etched in your memories for a long time.
Ramdhanu is an adaptation of a novel by Suchitra Bhattacharya. It tells us the story of a mother who, like any other parent, is concerned about getting her son admitted into a “good school”. It narrates the tale of complex emotions parents go through while trying to get their child admitted into the best school possible. It is the inherent simplicity of the narration that makes the tale so endearing. The mother’s fear of failure and the dilemma of the father torn between his own lack of self-confidence and the humongous task to passing an interview to ensure the best of education for his son reflect a life that we all have experienced at some point in our life.
In a short sequence of the film, the directors give us an important message of loving our mother language as much as foreign ones. Our love for English (or any other tongue) should not lead us to looking down upon our own. The juxtaposition of Mitali, trying to learn English rhymes from her German sister-in-law, and Jennifer in turn asking Gogol to teach her Chhoras, is poignant.
Ramdhanu is a milestone for Gargi Roy Chowdhury. This film belongs to her. She nails it as the mother – with all complexities portrayed in perfect tandem with the demands of the script. Shiboprosad in his own charming and melodramatic manner comes as a pillar of support. Rachana Banerjee in her special appearance reminds the audience she was once a reigning queen in Tollywood.
There are several moments in the film that will remind you of your own childhood. The chemistry of the mother and son will really make you weak in the knees several times throughout the film. During the climax, when the little Gogol answers questions during his school interview, you can hardly fight the tears welling up in your eyes.
Above all, there is young Gogol, busy chasing kites and rainbows and enjoying his short trip to his mother’s village, his grandmother’s horror tales, grandfather’s fishing tips and his ‘phirangi’ mami’s nursery rhyme sessions. His innocence is, perhaps, one of the high points of the film.
Ramdhanu is a family drama with a touch of innocence and simplicity that will make you want to watch it again.
My rating: 4/5 stars
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