For small and regional films, social networking platforms can be quite a boon. If anything is good, one doesn’t need to worry about its audience. When people become your ambassador, you don’t need advertising or pr. I discovered the wonderful trailer of Bhooter Bhobishyot on FB and was instantly hooked. Have been following it since then and it’s finally getting a limited release in Mumbai today. So here’s a recco post on the film by Aniruddha Chatterjee. But first watch the trailer. Wish they had released it with subtitles.
Imagine this. Two ghosts, one a zamindar who got killed by the dacaits, and the other, a British officer who served in pre-independent India, are auditioning other ghosts to fill the zamindar’s abandoned mansion. This is because most old mansions and houses are demolished and turned to shopping malls and multiplexes by money hungry promoters and are ruining the culture and heritage of the city. So the ghosts all over the world, especially in Kolkata, are finding it very difficult to find a place to live in. Interestingly, even the ghosts are worried about their food, entertainment and security. The selections in the audition are made accordingly. This is the crux of debutant director Anik Dutta’s delicious bengali film Bhooter Bhobishyot.
Siraj-ud-Daulah’s trusted cook who gave his life in the Battle of Plassey, an Indian army officer who got killed during the Kargil war, an actress cum singing Kanan Devi-isque sensation of the 1940s who committed suicide after her producer boyfriend ditched her and married someone else, a Bangla rock band member who overdosed himself to death, a Bihari rickshaw puller who was killed due to reckless driving by a rich brat, a Hindu refugee from Bangladesh who was killed during partition, and a modern day city girl who jumped from her apartment terrace when her industrialist father refused to let her marry a Muslim boy – all of them get selected after the audition. The thread connecting all the ghosts is that they all died unusual deaths.
The ghosts sing, dance, romance, go to picnic, argue over hilsa and prawn, and when endangered, unite to fight against a promoter who wants to destroy Choudhury mansion and build a mall.
The script is unique and original, and is one of the most satisfying satirical comedies of late. The filmmaker takes a dig at everything that is Bengali – the intellectual filmmakers who only prefer Godard, Fellini and Ray, the pseudo communist rebel who thinks wearing Che Guevara t-shirt proves everything, the Dada and Didi of Bengali politics including the Rizwanur Rahman incident, and the everlasting fight between ghoti and bangal. It is refreshing to see usage of Spookbook, Facebook for ghosts, to find a suitable match for an item number.
Interestingly, the narrative is a tribute to Ray’s Hirak Rajar Deshe, as almost every character in the film speaks by rhyming their lines. The humour is subtle and situational. Literal and political references are plenty, and so it needs to be seen whether non-Bengalis find the humour appealing or not.
Another aspect that must be mentioned is the music. Raja Narayan Deb has created one of a kind soundtrack with influences from every genre possible – rock, pop, rabindra sangeet, jazz, folk or qawwali, and also from the different eras the characters belong to. (Click here to watch a terrific song medley from the film)
Also, it has excellent performances by the entire ensemble cast, but Sumit Samaddar as the Bangladeshi refugee and Swastika Mukherjee as Kadalibala, the actress cum singer of the black and white era, are the scene stealers.
Anik Dutta, the writer-director of the film is a renowned ad-filmmaker. This is his first feature film and for that he deserves every bit of accolade he is receiving for creating such an entertaining film.
Currently, the film is playing in theaters all over West Bengal. It’s getting a limited release in Mumbai on 27th April. Don’t miss it!