Down the Memory Lane-A Brief Description of Movies Screened Last Year.

— Partha Pratim Mallik

[* based on the directors’ note and other resources available with the film makers]In the inaugural event of the film festival last year, 8 films were showcased at Prasad’s lab. These include ApurPanchali, Phoring, Meghe Dhaka Tara, Jatishwar, RupkothaNoy, Jodi Love Dile Na pRaane, Take One and NayanChampar Din Raatri. Among these, NayanChampar Din Raatri was premiered for the first time in India at this festival. Following is a quick look at all these movies



Writer and Director: Kaushik Ganguly
Producer: Shree Venkatesh Films Pvt. Ltd.
Cast:Ardhendu Banerjee ( Sn.Subir Banerjee), ParambrataChattopadhyay( Jn.Subir Banerjee), Gaurav Chakraborty( Arka), ParnoMitra(Ashima), others

This is a real life story inspired by Subir Banerjee, the little child actor who played the iconic role of Apu in Satyajit Ray’s masterpiece PatherPanchali, which even today remains one of the 100 greatest films of all -time.

It was in August 1955, when the film was released in the theaters and it’s been 58 long years since. But ironically Subir 'Apu' Banerjee never became a part of any film again in his entire life.  The most striking point being, his real life existence started bearing an uncanny resemblance to the 'reel life' Apu that was created by Bibhutibhashan Bandopadhay. In 'ApurPanchali’ when Apu is on his way to receive an award in a film festival in Germany, he goes through the entire reminiscences of his life that is mostly uneventful but brilliantly cinematic.

Meghe Dhaka Tara
Writer and Director-Kamaleswar Mukherjee
Producer: Shree Venkatesh Films Pvt. Ltd
Cast :Saswata Chatterjee ( NilkanthaBagchi), Ananya Chatterjee (Durga), Abir Chatterjee, Subhasish Mukherjee, Shantilal Mukherjee, BidiptaChakarbarty, Manisha Adok, Turna Das, Sadhana, Rahul in a guest role, Mumtaz, AbhijitGuha, Padmanava Das Gupta, Anindya Bose (Sohor), Anindyapulak, RajatGanguly, Joydeep Mukherjee and all the others

The film is a period fiction and biopic of a cultural activist – Nilkantha (meaning one who has loaded himself with poison). The character is loosely based on the biography of the filmmaker stalwart Ritwik Ghatak. The narrative is treated in a nonlinear fashion where the story evolves around its non-conformist protagonist in an asylum where he was admitted for alcohol detoxification.

The entire movie was shot in black and white except the last scene where the b/w fades into a fairytale field of color. Meghe Dhaka Tara remains one of the most outstanding examples of a biopic ever attempted in Indian cinema.

Nayanchampardinratri’(The tale of Nayanchampa)
Producer: King's Entertainment
Story, Script,Direction:Sekhar Das
Cast:RoopaGanguly (Nayan), Chandreyee Ghosh (Champa),Damini (Malati) and Biswajit Chakraborty.

The Film is a compassionate human document connecting two poles of our contemporary society -rural and urban. It records a day of a maid’s life. The story revolves around 'Nayanchampa '(RoopaGanguly),a middle aged lady representing thousands of women of rural India like her. They start their journey in the early dawn and travel around 8 hours a day to reach the city, serve different households to earn their livelihood and return home in the night when they again work hard to feed their family. Through 'Nayanchampa' not only we get to see the suppressed sorrows and secret aspirations of different representatives of urban society in the present socio-political situation but we also watch the hapless condition of women of rural India, although, very often they remain as the sole bread earners of their family. The movie was shot in the documentary style during monsoon, in the rain soaked city of Kolkata and around different suburbian locations with a hand held camera..

Writer and Director:SrijitMukherji
Producer: Reliance Entertainment and Rana Sarkar
Cast:Prosenjit Chatterjee (KushawlHajra), JishuSengupta( Rohit Mehta) and Swastika Mukherjee (Mahamaya) Abir Chatterjee ( Bodhi)

The main focus of the plot revolves around the life and notable works of Anthony Firingee (Hensman Anthony), a 19th-century Bengali language folk poet of Portuguese origin, along with other supporting characters. The time frame of the storyline jumps between two different time periods—19th century and the present day (2013). The music of Jaatiswar is composed by KabirSuman.

In the present timeline, Rohit Mehta (JishuSengupta), a Gujrati born and brought up in Calcutta, falls in love with Mahamaya (Swastika Mukherjee) and tries to woo her. His Bengali is being refined by his friend and classmate Bodhi (Abir Chatterjee). Rohit chooses the music course and decides to do a dissertation on the 19th Century folk poet Hensman Anthony. He goes to Calcutta and then to Farashdanga, Chandannagar, where Anthony lived and composed his songs. He goes to the local library to get some books where he meets the assistant librarian, a mysterious man named KushawlHajra (Prosenjit Chatterjee), who claims to be the re-incarnation of Anthony himself. Kushawl laments that the visions of his previous life is haunting him every day, and slowly taking over the memory of his present life. Rohit promises to take him to Calcutta for treatment, in return he demands the life history of Anthony.

The story then goes back to the 19th Century, where Anthony impresses the villagers with his musical talent. He saves a young Bengali widow, Soudamini, from performing sati and later marries her. The film then ends with a master twist, revealing Mahamaya as the reincarnation of Soudamini, though she remembers nothing of her previous birth. Anthony had wanted to apologize to his wife for leaving her alone, which Kushawl does after Mahamaya leaves with Rohit. The visions will not haunt him anymore. The film ends as KabirSuman's song "Jaatishwar" plays in the background.

Jodi Love Dile Na Prane
Directors: AbhijitGuha, Sudeshna Roy
Writers:Anindya Bose (screenplay), SukantaGangopadhyay (the main story)
Producer:ShyamsundarDey and Arijit Dutta
Cast:Abir Chatterjee (Anish), Ananya Chatterjee (Paromita), Arjun Chakraborty (Mainak) ,KuashikGanguly , Tridha Chowdhury (Aaheli)

Jodi Love Dile Na Prane is based on SukantaGangopadhyay's novel ‘Abujh Meye’.The film is a love story of a couple spanning 20 years, beginning from their teens. Abir Chatterjee and Ananya Chatterjee play the lovebirds. AnanyaChaterjee plays Paromita. From a bubbly girl of 18 she becomes a mature woman of 38! She is a housewife and a mother. Koushik Sen plays my husband. Abir Chaterjee  plays Anish. There’s a 20-year leap in the story. So the young Anish is a north Calcutta boy who is quite daanpite (naughty) and full of masti. Then there’s the mature Anish, with thick glasses and salt-and-pepper hair, the editor of a newspaper. Tridha plays Aaheli, a girl from Delhi who comes down to Calcutta in search of her roots. Ananya Chatterjee plays her mother. She sports a very different look complete with bindi, junk jewellery, sari and also salwar kameez. It’s very ethnic. Though she is modern and has lived in Delhi all her life, she loves to sport the Bangali look. Arjun plays Tridha’s love interest. ArjunChakrabarty plays Mainak, an assistant director, paired opposite Tridha.

Writer and Director:Atanu Ghosh
Producer:Firdausul Hassan &ProbalHalder
Cast:Soumitra Chatterjee (Sisir Roy), Sohini Sarkar ( Ahana) , GourabChakrabarty ( Prasit), Koushik Sen (Saswata) , RadhikaApte (Sananda), Rahul ( Biswanath), Nina Chakrabarty(Reena)

Sisir Roy (Soumitra Chatterjee) is a 72-year-old man, long retired from a government office as Upper Division Clerk. His family consists of his son Prasanta (Bhaskar Banerjee) and daughter-in-law Mandira (Soma Chakrabarty). Everyday Sisir goes to the park and interacts with different people. Over a period of time, five young people get acquainted with him – Ahana (Sohini Sarkar), a newly married girl, restless and immature, who repeatedly flees from her in-law’s place, much to the anxiety of people close to her. Her newly married husband Prasit (GourabChakrabarty) is quite baffled about her behaviour and is desperately on the lookout for a solution. Saswata (Koushik Sen) is a 35-year-old man who teaches Mathematics in a boy’s school. For the last eleven years, he has been entrusted to teach Calculus. Saswata has no thrill in life and is desperately in search of that. Sananda (RadhikaApte), a 30 year-old IT engineer, is a single mother of a 3-year old child. Sananda has a dreadful past, which keeps haunting her. Biswanath (Rahul) is a typist who sits on one side of the park, quite aware of that the number of customers is rapidly dwindling, as more and more people prefer electronic type using computers, but he does not have the means to buy a computer. Reena (Nina Chakrabarty) is a young girl, working at a petrol pump,who is struggling against an uncertain future and insecurity. All these five people are either going through or on the verge of a crisis in their lives. In midst of such a situation, Sisir’s son and daughter-in-law leave for Meerut. And now Sisir is left completely alone. Detached from his own kin, Sisir now reaches out to his extended family by involving himself more intimately with the four new people in his life. He touches upon their minds trying to change their thoughts, and in turn, their lives. But in the process, he puts his own life into a vortex of complexities.

Writer and Director:IndranilRoychowdhury
Producer:Chitrabeekshan Audio Visual PVT LTD
Cast:Ritwick Chakraborty, Sohini Sarkar, Shankar Debnath, Akash Adhikary, Dwijen Banerjee, SejutiRoymukherjee, SouravBasak

An adolescent boy (Phoring, for "Dragonfly") grows up in a back-of-beyond township in North Bengal. Surrounded by the lush Dooars countryside, the town barely survives the shutdown of a factory. Maladjusted and a born loser, Phoring fights the voices in his head which he calls God. A new teacher (Doel) arrives in school, and opens up his mind to things unknown. Just when Phoring starts to believe that this is not a dream, Doel disappears abruptly leaving behind a trail of doubt and suspicion. Phoring decides to go looking for her in Kolkata.

Take One
Writer and Director:MainakBhaumik
Producers:Firdausul Hassan &ProbalHalder
Cast: Swastika Mukherjee (DoelMitra), Rahul Banerjee, VikramjitChaudhury, Anwesha Mukherjee, ArindamSil

An Indian Actress DoelMitra, shoots to overnight infamity igniting the wrath of conservative Indian society when a bold sex-scene from one of her foreign films is leaked on the internet, when the public scandal happens. Doel is in the middle of shooting an Indian film in which she plays the part of the mythological Hindu character,Sita.

Sita, considered the epitome of chastity and purity is ironically now being represented by a woman branded as a 'porn star'. Just like with Doel, Sita's moral fiber too was questioned by a hypocritical Indian Society which denounces her as 'fallen' due the threat of her sexuality. Doel's daughter Tushi (Anwesha Mukherjee)is Swastika's real life daughter and beautifully portrays mother-daughter chemistry on screen with Swastika.

This year, the film fest is back again, with 8 other movies from contemporary directors. Be there at Prasada’s Preview Theatre between 26th-28th June to savour the experience of watching modern Bengali and interact with like minded people.