Posts tagged ‘film festival’

Ek Nadir Galpo (Tale of a River) review

A lot of people come here looking for Ekti Nadir Galpo or Ek Nadir galpo. If that’s why you came here let me assure you, it’s a good film, worth your time. A short review follows.

Ek Nadir Galpo (Tale of a River) is a Bengali feature film, by first time director Samir Chanda. The story is so simple that to reveal anything would give the film away. It is set in a small village in a remote area of Bengal. To step outside, a river needs to be crossed. The other connection to the outer world is a small post office supervised by the head clerk Mr. Bhattacharya. Mr. Bhattacharya’s daughter, Anjana, is about to begin college, the first person from her village to do so. This prospect is both exciting and frightening for Bhattacharya, who seems to have spent his entire life in his secluded village. Anjana’s brush with the outside world is not well recieved by Bhattacharya. This little friction, between a politically reclusive father and his budding politically excited daughter is beautifully essayed. An unfortunate incident leaves Bhattacharya shattered. The reality of it is too harsh for him to accept. He resolves to compensate his loss by making a bizarre request out of the government. Driven by his daughter’s ardor and energy, and his own personal grief, he campaigns, without the benefit of “public support”, to have this unusual request fulfilled. Will he succeed?

Besides being a touching story of a father and a daughter, the film is also a revealing commentary on the Indian citizens tryst with politics and the government. For instance, Anjana is both excited and cynical about the political activities at her college. It is clear that she desires change, but does not agree with the disruptive methods of her compatriots. Then there is Bhattacharya. His cynicism of public support is reversed when his demands are not filled. His request itself is symbolic. Lost in grief, he selfishly demands emotional gratification instead of corrective action. It shows us how deep the emotions of personal loss run, and how the law and its machinations provide no space for it. This idea is captured well by the character of a District Magistrate, who listens to Bhattacharya and resolves to help him out. Soon however he is frustrated by Bhattacharya’s stubbornness and his reluctance to pursue the matter with a logical approach. The conclusion makes us question the desiarbility of this approach for some, given its inability to satiate personal loss.

The film is powered by excellent performances by Mithun Chakraborty (veternan actor, National Award winner, B grade star, and Ooty hotelier) and the talented Shweta Prasad (previously seen in Vishal Bharadwaj’s Makdee). The visuals are stunning right from the starting credits to the beautifully shot climax. I don’t have much to say about the music, as it appeared very simple to me. There are some songs in the first half which seem to slow the film down, but otherwise the film is perfect.

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January 31, 2008 at 10:03 pm 20 comments

Radical films: Kaalchakra and Ratrimazha

With all the talk about Taare Zameen Par, I think it is a good time to look back at two other films released last year. Like TZP these two films also deal with some problematic social issues, albeit with adults. They have recieved little exposure, probably because they are not in Hindi. The films are Ratri Mazha by Lenin Rajedran in Malyalam and Kaalchakra by Vishal Bhandari in Marathi.

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January 13, 2008 at 12:33 am 1 comment

Some thoughts on film festivals

Does someone actually watch each and every film before selecting them? Me don’t think so. Maybe they make prisoners watch them. Like in Clockwork…hee hee.

Those people. Late teens, early twenties. Cool haircuts. Bohemians. Are film students right? Why do they leave before half the film is over. And these presswaale. Ten minutes into the film, and these guys are already making their way to the Kingfisher Lounge. I am not going to trust anything they write anymore.

What are Q&A sessions supposed to be like? I had this idea of filmmakers, critics,buffs grilling the director. Unfortunately, the ones I attended were like paper presentations in engineering days. You see, in my college (non-IIT) some people thought they were too smart to make their presence felt. Some were too dumb to understand anything. A large majority simply didn’t care. And the few that attended, had little or nothing to ask. One thing I am sure about, is that most directors were very eager to take questions. Do directors feel disappointed when 300 leave and six remain for Q&A? Or when the questions asked are pretty naive?

I am always surprised with the Indian films in these festivals. Apparently, better films are being made in India, but they are not being made in Hindi. That is no reason to disregard them. Each film that I saw spoke to me. Different languages and different states but so much in common with the rest of the country. My picks : Kaalchakra, Ratri Mazha, Naalu Pennungal, Ek Nadir Galpo, and my favorite Ami, Iyasin ar amar Madhubala. It was also nice to see some movies from the North East. Jaatinga Ityaadi was good, but kind of predictable and loose. Also this Manipuri film Morning and Dew, looked interesting but had to leave mid way.

In A Wounded Civilization (or maybe in An Area of Darkness), Naipaul writes about a book, Samskara. I can’t remember what he said exactly but he praised it. Since I liked his book, I thought it would be interesting to read a book he liked. I never did. I did not know that it had been adapted for the screen. Was excited to find it listed here. Saw it, was struck. How, just how did they manage to make film like that? In the 70s, goddammit.

Why do people sleep during a screening. Dude, if you are tired go home, take a nap and come back later. MUltiplex seats are comfortable but only to a certain degree. Definitely not a replacement for a nice soft bed.

December 8, 2007 at 9:26 pm Leave a comment


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