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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Angshumaner Chhobi

Every time a new director arrives on the scene, there is always a lot of excitement among the cine-viewing public, especially among the enthusiasts. It is even more palpable in the Bangla film scenario, more so in the so-called new wave Bangla cinema. And here comes the debut of director Atanu Ghosh, with his offering "Angshumaner Chhobi" released on Friday across Kolkata. He has arrived in style, his debut film is nothing less than impressive. And I am delighted to feature this review of mine on the same.

"Angshumaner Chhobi" is an impressive directorial debut largely because of the competence with which the director has engaged his viewers in an intriguing, and somewhat complex narrative. In spite of all the complex layers that the film offers, it is not at all a pseudo-cerebral film. Rather it makes us go through a multi-layered ride in explorations in the hues of filmmaking. It is not so much of the much-used film-within-a-film device, than it is a depiction of the filming rigours experienced by a young filmmaker protagonist named Angshuman, and the complex struggles undergone by the leading characters in his film (called Anandi Katha). And there is a crime angle too.

The director has already delivered multiple acclaimed tele-films, and hence he has been able to avoid the indulgences common in first-time directors. He has been able to use a terrific ensemble cast that blends perfectly into the narrative. The screenplay is shorn of excesses. The cinematography has been made use of in the right manner to help us rightly focus on the emotional curves of the characters. The music (by Rocket Mandal) is apt, and so is the editing.

The stellar performances, that happen to be the essential hallmark of "Angshumaner Chhobi", feature the nuanced portrayal of the veteran egoist actor Pradyut Mukherjee by none other than Soumitra Chatterjee; Indrani Halder as Madhura Sen - the one time National award winning actress who has had an unsatisfactory career and even acts in jatra for a living. Indraneil Sengupta, from Mumbai, has been cast as Angshuman, the director who has come from Italy only to make his dream feature film debut in his mother-tongue. While Indraneil's voice has been dubbed by Aabir Chatterjee, I must say that the model-turned-actor does look convincing in the role. Tota Roy Choudhury is the surprise package among the actors, donning the role of a gigolo with aplomb. Others in the cast include: Rudranil Ghosh, Ananya Chatterjee, Bhaskar Banerjee, Shoma Chakraborty, Pijush Ganguly, Anjana Basu & Sabyasachi Chakraborty.

The cast makes us so much involved that we cannot escape being drenched by the climaxing of the powerful feelings. That is a rarity in many a parallel film or one that treads the middle path, trying to yield a sensible treatise. Personally, I applaud the efforts of the makers of such films which offer entertainment as well as food for thought. It is so tough to achieve! And Atanu Ghosh succeeds; mostly. The psychological probings are not diluted by the dramatic elements. Yet, there isn't an overburdening of the narrative with a 'more intelligent than thou' execution.

At the core, there is a simple tale, or rather there are simple tales, of vulnerability, insecurity, camouflaging, clinging, longing & transgressing. There is even death - which acts like a hook, and which gets probed almost like it happens in a whodunit. The characters in the film made by Angshuman & the protagonists playing the leads in Angshuman's film, viz. Pradyut and Madhura, merge beautifully towards the end.

I wish Atanu Ghosh all the success. May he get all the success that he deserves, and more importantly, may we get more such sensible & sensitive films.
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Aniruddh said...

I hope Indraneil Sengupta fills the void in Bengali films, as far as a stunning male lead is concerned.
I do not know why the director felt that his voice should be dubbed by someone else. Anyways, the dubbing job was top-notch. I felt that the director has purposely left much of the primary and secondary characters' complexities to our imagination. I do not know if that will gel with the general audience.

Satyaki said...

Indraneil Sengupta was born in Assam and raised in Ahmedabad. He had been a finalist in the Gladrags Manhunt contest 1999, and since then we have seen him in several successful ad campaigns, as well as in television serials in Hindi. His first movie role was in 'Mumbai Salsa' which sank without a trace. I hope 'Angshumaner Chhobi' and 'Janala' (the Buddhadeb Dasgupta film he'd be soon seen in) become his big ticket to fame.

saurabh said...

Am impressed to learn about this film, dude! I think it had a somewhat low-key release. But, anyways, I would surely try to check it out. Thanks for the review. Hope my feedback, post-viewing, would be favorable too!;)

Pratyush Mukhopadhyaya said...

I am glad to know about this piece, will soon check out this one. Hope the film will create a worthy time when watched. Its really cool to watch something nice n diferent ofcourse...Thanx for ur review it gave a lot of info about this one ...

a said...

Nice review. A wonderful film that did & should get noticed. It stimulates and makes us probe the diverse issues related to relationships. It is able to weave an accessible narrative for a comprehensive & compelling watch, thanks to the lean screenplay & competent acting. Cameraman Sandip Sen and art director Joy Chandra have made the look of the film interesting.

Imran said...

I saw the film just yesterday! After having read your take on it.... and I am glad I checked it out, although I have to say that I am not too keen on the middle-of-the-road Bangla movies! "Angshumaner Chhobi" is very much the result of a confident filmmaker's creative vision.
I was pleasantly surprised by Indraneil Sengupta, who plays Angshuman in the film. I will eagerly look out for his film with Kaushik Ganguly (Arekti Premer Galpo) where he is paired with Rituparno Ghosh (in his first film as an actor)!

arunima said...

wow..the movie sounds interesting and ur review as usual is rivetting..hope 2 catch it wen i am in kolkata or get the dvd of it..

Sharmee said...

Nice review of a really stimulating film. Haven't seen such an engaging Bengali film in a really long time. I hope that the enthusiasm in reviving Bengali cinema does not die down soon, may this not be an isolated good work, rather I would like to see many such brilliant films by fresh makers.
'Angshumaner Chhobi' has a nice soundtrack too. The song by Shubhomita, "Kaake tumi chaao..." says it all about thetheme, it is yet such a nice song, I loved it.
The many different subtle references to the film industry are so real that they are sure to evoke responses of association among the audience, yet I commend the director to do a cheap sensationalising with specific allusions to any particular celebrity or news-story.

abhishek said...

The film should have been subtitled for all the non-Bengali viewers (in fact all regional films should have English or Hindi subtitles, that'll definitely make all regional film industries grow). I am sure it would cut across all kinds of audiences, all over, for its universal appeal.
A brilliant first film.
Strangely, I have found that most filmmakers who strike it big with their first film (critically or commercially), have a tough task to match up through their successive offerings. As had been the case with actress Madhura Sen, the heroine of the film within this very film!
I hope that does not happen to director Atanu; all the best to him!

Siddharth said...

It is very different from the run-of-the-mill Bengali films. The technique & the content are both refreshing. Nice review.