27th May, 2016, Praktan released. Praktan, the much awaited Bengali film directed by the director duo Shibaprasad Mukhopadhyay & Nandita Ray, has presented Prosenjit Chatterjee & Rituparna Sengupta in lead roles after a long time 15 years. The successful pair has produced magic in box office once and then a l-o-o-o-n-g pause! 15 years! Pretty long… Right?Is that the reason for calling Praktan a milestone?
Well, repairing the successful pair is an achievement for sure. But I would say there is another great achievement for the team.Praktan had a world premiere on May 27, 2016. It has been released in 24 Indian cities apart from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, New Jersey, Dallas, Seattle, and Toronto. International release is not new in Bengali tinsel town. In Hyderabad it has released in two theatres for a week. This is a ‘wow fact’ to me!!! Very recently Shankhachil had a parallel release in Bangladesh with West Bengal on the day of Poila Baishakh, the Bengali New Year day. In last few years a number of Bengali films of Shree Venkatesh Films or Reliance Entertainment have been released pan India. But the magnitude is something new in case of Praktan. In recent times it is the most celebrated World Premiere of a Bengali film, if my memory does not betray me. This film has remarkably attracted a total of 17 brands to be associated with it.
This could be a milestone to find out the new destinations for the industry. Believe me, this is perhaps one of the most crucial challenges Bengali cinemas are facing: the traditional market is very small which is not generating handsome revenue. A release in Bengal for a week or two and few ‘week end releases’ in few of the Indian metros are not just good enough to justify and support the enormous efforts put together in Tollywood. Bengali cinemas are still something to look forward to for the entire nation, and even for the world in many cases. We have number of very talented film makers, artists, crews, good enough subjects, stories etc. which have produced some of the fantastic movie magic in recent times. In nutshell, ingredients are ready, chefs are rolling their sleeves, products are hot & ready, and aromas are around. All we need is proper marketing and getting the right dish to the right taste buds.
Even if I leave apart all the trade figures, the audience of Bengali cinemas outside Bengal and India deserve such initiatives more from all the producers and distributors. Not only Bengali cinemas, but this is a great survival strategy for any Indian language film industry. Technology has evolved, economy has opened – why not take the opportunity and fly high? In the US, Hollywood movies are the second highest foreign currency generators for them, contributing significantly to the growth of the nation. We have good contents, Indians spread across the world, film lovers from speaking other languages – why not dub them in other languages? Or at least subtitle them and cross the border?
Praktan has opened the innings! Let’s play steady now!