Archive for May, 2013

dosar

Rituparno Ghosh’s 2006 film Dosar starts with an accident. A man and a woman in a car. She gets killed. He survives. His wife, and we – the audience, get to know that the man had gone out with his mistress. While returning back after spending the weekend together, they met with a fatal accident.

It’s a strange scenario for the couple. At the moment when the wife gets to know that her husband has survived a fatal accident, she also figures out that he was cheating on her. And at time when the husband doesn’t want to face the wife, he is severely injured, completely bed-ridden, and desperately needs her help for day to day basics. Now, what? How would they react? What would they do? Place yourself in the shoes of either of the characters, and you will realise what a daunting task it is to answer that question – now what?

Now, comes Rituparno Ghosh with his most powerful tool – conversation. It seems like the director puts his invisible camera there without disturbing the space between the husband and wife. In stark black and white, he captures them confronting the worst possible scenario in their relationship. With two other sub-plots in the film, these are essentially three man-woman stories set in different scenarios but with intersecting tracks. And Ghosh was a master at that. Give him a couple and he will give you conversation that will keep you easily hooked for two hours.

Remember, Raincoat? Another stunning work of his where ex-lovers meet to spend an afternoon together and fake their stories to make the other person believe that they are doing good and are happy. Another man-woman pair with an afternoon full on conversation. And another couple in a sub-plot to give a different perspective to a similar scenario. Interestingly, i saw the film in an afternoon show, and i felt like i was in the room with Mannu and Neeru, and when i came out of the theatre hall it was just “Before Sunset”. What felt like fly-on-the-wall direction is a mature, non-intrusive, deft and sensitive hand at work.

Ex-lovers met in Titli too. But there was a new twist in the tale – a terrific coming of age story of a young girl which starts with mother-daughter on the same side of the fence to soon becoming rivals in love. If you are used to closure or conclusive ending, Ghosh never gave that comfort. It was always about confronting it and have a conversation. Sometimes exploitative too, like it was in his heartfelt Bariwali, where a lonely middle-aged widow starts enjoying the company of a young charming filmmaker who comes to shoot a film at her old and sprawling house. Love has a habit of dying young, but rarely does it leave people so lonely, gloomy and hopeless in the woods. It was heartbreaking.

Chokher Bali, Antarmahal, Khela, Shob Charitro Kalpanik – you can see similar motifs in all his films. Man, Woman, and that conflicted space that needs a conversation. Antarmahal got mixed reviews when it released. But i think it is his bravest and most interesting film till date. The way he mixed religion, sexuality and humour, it’s a deadly cocktail, and i doubt anyone will even dare to think about it in today’s times. If you haven’t seen the film, just see the opening few minutes here (with english subs) – it’s sad, funny, and strangely, full of coital-conversation amidst the sound of a creaking bed.

Rituparno GhoshIn the last few years, he shifted his focus more towards acting and gave mainstream space to characters of marginalised or alternate sexuality. Arekti Premer Golpo (Just Another Love Story), Memories In March and Chitrangada – all dealt with gender themes. Compared to his earlier films, these looked weak but he was making strong statements about sexual politics. And perhaps the only one who was doing it in mainstream media. Also it became difficult to separate the real and reel Rituparno. There were many rumors floating around but he never bothered. His attire changed drastically. If you looked at the pics in this post, you can see his extreme makeover – from middle class Bengali attire to flamboyant cross-dressing. He was aware of what people were talking about him and he openly discussed these issues too. What he always hated was the labeling – why only man or woman? Sex and gender – they are always not so simple what we are taught in school books. So we will leave it at that, the way he wanted – not man, or woman, just Rituparno.

@CilemaSnob

(stills from Satyanweshi)

In a completely shocking news, filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh died of heart attack today morning. He was working on his latest film Satyanweshi – a Byomkesh Bakshi story starring filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh.

Easily one of the best filmmakers in the country, nobody explored the intimate space between two people like Ghosh did. All those film fanatics who are mad about world cinema, i hope they do get time to watch Ghosh’s films. His entire filmography is worth watching. Embedding the video of one of my favourite film – Titli – a terrific coming of age film. And easily the best desi film in that genre. It stars Mithun Chakraborty, Aparna Sen, Konkona SenSharma, and is with English subs. Do watch.

RIP Mister Ghosh.

(Pics courtesy – The Telegraph)

guide gufraan official poster

This came in our mailbox. We don’t know anyone connected with this film, but it looks damn interesting – the poster and the trailer. So we are featuring the first look of this 50min long feature Guide Gufraan here. Directed by Ayushman Mitra, a graduate from Calcutta’s St Xavier’s  College. It’s made with the help of his friends from Xavier’s who have formed a group called Backgate Studio. Have a look.

Synopsis:

Raas, the cosmic meeting of opposite energies, is the cornerstone of all creation. Raas is widely illustrated as a celebration of love with an important involvement of dance and music. A few stories of love live beyond the boundaries of time and society; Krishna’s ‘raas’ is a timeless tale of erotica and passion. For most, he is more human than god. What is amazing is the acceptance that he receives from a conservative society like ours.

Guide Gufraan is Pasha’s journey from repression to acceptance of his own self. As he enters the city of Calcutta to retrace his past and seek spiritual asylum, where questions are asked and many are left unanswered, he begins an exploration of the self, the self he is desperately running away from, challenging his quest for peace. Finally, a city guide acts as the catalyst and pushes him to the limits till he embraces his true self. It is a celebration of acceptance, as people choose to live liberated lives shunning the social stigmas on love, sex and relationships. People come together and tear apart, some are fondly remembered, while some disappear into the chaotic rhythm of the ‘raas’. It is only natural that Krishna in the Mahabharata essays the role of a ‘sarathi’, in other words, a guide.

Cast & credit :

Cast: Ayushman Mitra, Sreemoyee Kasturi Banerjee, Neeraj Dugar, Sneha Ghosh, Zoheb Akbar, Yashodhara Basu Mallick, Sharmistha Jha, Urmila Subhadra Majumdar, Gautam Vir Prashad and Gosto Kumar

Director: Ayushman Mitra

Story & Screenplay: Ayushman Mitra , Sreemoyee Kasturi Banerjee

Director of Photography: Gairik Sarkar, Rusha Bose

Editor: Gairik Sarkar Creative

Producer: Rohini Ghosh

Music: Sambit Chatterjee, Yudhajit Biswas, Ronodeep Bose

Production Designer: Ayushman Mitra

Production Manager: Anirvan Sengupta

Costumes: Sneha Ghosh

Co-Producers: Sumit Mitra, Srijon Kaushik Banerjee

—> For any queries about the film, you can write to anirvansengupta91@gmail.com

Lunchbox

Aha, this is what you call a break out film. First, premiere at Cannes Film Festival in International Critics Week. Followed up by rave reviews. Then the Grand Rail d’Or Award. And now, the big news – Sony Classic Pictures picks up the US rights of the film.

According to this report in Variety,Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all U.S. rights to Ritesh Batra’s feature debut “The Lunchbox”,  a Cannes Critics’ Week standout.

Copy-pasting excerpts from the report…..

Repped by Germany’s The Match Factory, the Mumbai-set crowd-pleaser got a standing ovation following its Cannes unspooling.

At Cannes, SPC also acquired all U.S. rights to Iranian helmer Asghar Farhadi’s Paris-set drama “The Past,” starring Berenice Bejo and Tahar Rahim, which is vying for a Palme d’Or.

SPC has a strong track record when it comes to acquiring foreign arthouse films with strong Oscar potential. Last year, it nabbed Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” which was nominated for five Oscar nods and won best foreign-language film.

Gaul’s Happiness Distribution also picked up ”Lunchbox.” It is one of four Indian entries that bowed at Cannes, which is celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema.

No wonder many critics already termed it as a film with crossover appeal. Click here to read the reviews here.

The Lunhcbox.jpg large

Also, the film recently bagged the Grand Rail d’Or Award at Cannes.  According to DearCinema, since 1995, a group of rail worker film enthusiasts presents the Golden Rail awards to two films in Cannes Critics’ Week: Petit Rail d’Or for best short film and Grand Rail d’Or  for best feature. So it’s kind of viewers choice award.

Written and directed by Ritesh Batra, the film stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Denzil Smith and Bharati Achrekar. To read its official synopsis and full cast/crew details, click here.

With UTV and Kiran Rao in the picture now, Ship Of Theseus is getting a new campaign. It started with UTV and Kiran’s branding all over, then a new teaser came out, and now finally the full trailer is out. Have a look.

3.16! That’s quite long. They have put out almost a smaller version of the film. As we have been shouting out from rooftops, it’s easily going to be one of the best films of the year. Mark the release date – 19th July.

To read it’s official synopsis, cast & crew list, and our take on the film, click here.

Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox (Dabba) and Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout had their premiere screenings at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. Lunchbox is selected in International Critics Week section and Monsoon Shootout had a midnight screening. Some early reviews of both the films have been pouring in. For curious folks like us, here are the excerpts and links to the reviews.

Variety review is here

A feel-good movie that touches the heart while steering clear of expectation, “The Lunchbox” signals a notable debut from tyro helmer-scripter Ritesh Batra. The ingredients on their own are nearly fail-proof, yet it’s the way Batra combines food with an epistolary romance between a nearly retired number cruncher and a neglected wife that hits all the right tastebuds. An indie Indian pic with the crossover appeal of “Monsoon Wedding,” it’s sure to be gobbled up by audience-friendly fests before heading into niche cinemas.

Screen Daily review is here

A wistful, elegant love story played out across the streets of Mumbai, The Lunchbox is an unexpectedly aromatic charmer from first-time film-maker Ritesh Batra. Eschewing the pitfalls of what appears, on face value, to be a highly schematic set-up, Batra infuses his film with warmth and humanity, while cameraman Michael Simmonds steps up to deliver delicate visuals of modern Mumbai.

Film Business Asia’s review is here

There’s hardly a shot, line or gesture out of place in The Lunchbox, a hugely impressive feature debut by Mumbai-born, partly New York-based Ritesh Batra that starts out like a foodie film but spins a simple idea into a whole mini-universe of feelings.

– To watch the presentation ceremony video, click here

– To watch Ritesh Batra’s interview, click here

– Two clips from the film

Cast and crew list

Directed, written by Ritesh Batra.
Camera (color, widescreen) – Michael Simmonds
Editor – John Lyons
Music – Max Richter
Production designer – Shruti Gupte
Costume designer – Niharika Bhasin Khan
Sound (Dolby Digital) – Michael Kaczmarek, Ramesh Birajdar, Joerg Theil, Tom Korr
Line producers – Meraj Shaikh, Smriti Jain
Assistant director – Prerna Saigal
Casting – Seher Latif.
Cast – Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Denzil Smith, Bharati Achrekar, Nakul Vaid, Yashvi Puneet Nagar, Lillette Dubey

And here are the reviews of Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout.

Peter Bradshaw’s review is here

It’s a moody, broody downbeat drama for most of the time, a rainy noir. But along with the plot trickery, there are some unexpected turns…..It’s an entertaining popcorn-movie with a twist, for which commercial success is on the cards. There should be space for pictures like it in Cannes.

The Hollywood Reporter review is here.

A cunningly intricate first film from India, Monsoon Shootout combines the best of two worlds – a ferocious Mumbai cops and gangsters drama, and a satisfyingly arty plot that turns in on itself to examine the outcome of three possible choices a rookie cop might make when he confronts a ruthless killer. Three times the story returns to a key moment: a boy with a gun uncertain whether to pull the trigger. Though the idea of Dirty Harry meeting Sliding Doors may sound abstract, writer-director Amit Kumar pulls it off gracefully, without losing the sense of heightened drama that earned the film a Midnight Movie slot in Cannes. The Fortissimo release should make good headway in territories open to India and exotic genre fare and put Kumar on festival radar.

Screen Daily review is here.

Serving up a portion of Rashomon with a side of Sliding Doors, this tasty Mumbai crime story offers multiple outcomes of one fateful decision in a rookie cop’s professional life. Though it sounds like a potentially experimental premise, Monsoon Shootout is a glossy ethical drama designed to appeal equally to more upscale Indian audiences and worldwide genre fans.

Film School rejects review is here

The Upside: Nicely photographed; boasts decent enough lead performances, specifically the presence of Thapa as Adi’s beau; sound editing is also strikingly effective

The Downside: Aspirations towards existentialism don’t pay off well because it lazily recycles some grand ideas, but without the same level of ingenuity and entertainment value; atrocious editing stifles the action beats, which are themselves too sparse and brief to satisfy.

Here’s the Variety review:

“Monsoon Shootout” is a racy mash-up of Tarantino-esque ultra-violence and-gritty but-hip contempo Indian actioners. Amit Kumar invests a schematic police-thriller structure with a compelling moral dilemma hinging on a standoff between a cop and his suspect.

And here’s the Rope of Silicon podcast on the film.

A look at the film:

Cast and crew list

Production companies: Yaffle Films, Sikhya Entertainment in association with Pardesi Films AKFPL, Dar Motion Pictures

Cast: Vijay Varma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Neeraj Kabi, Geetanjali Thapa

Director: Amit Kumar

Screenwriter: Amit Kumar,

Producers: Trevor Ingman, Guneet Monga, Martijn De Grunt

Co-producers: Anurag Kashyap, Arun Rangachari

Director of photography: Rajeev Ravi

Production designer: Mayur Sharma

Editor: Atanu Mukherjee, Ewa Lind

Music: Gingger Shankarv Sales Agent: Fortissimo Films

88 minutes

(Pics taken from various online sources/social media)

Update: TWITTER BUZZ…

Since reviews for Indian films are scarce, we decided to add some tweets into the mix.

On The Lunchbox:

THE LUNCHBOX (R Batra): Like a bonsai tree, modest but magnificent. Standout performances. Bit cloying, but only if you want to find faults. — @bgji May 20, 2013

A very well-deserved, sustained, standing ovation for The Lunchbox at Cannes. Congratulations, Ritesh!! — @Shripriya May 19, 2013

On Monsoon Shootout:

MONSOON SHOOTOUT is the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ of crime actioners. I’m not completely convinced, but I do respect the ambition. #Cannes — @RylandAldrich May 19, 2013

MONSOON SHOOTOUT (D-) 3 versions of the same story, except it’s not as the filmmakers abandon the logic of the conceit. Morally dubious too — @CSkinner May 19, 2013

MONSOON SHOOTOUT does somehow seem to have become the defining film of the Festival. #cannes2013 — @JonathanRomney May 18, 2013

MONSOON SHOOTOUT (A Kumar): Thoroughly ordinary. Heavy handed 3 pronged narrative structure/metaphor. More imagination re: Bombay, please. — @bgji May 19, 2013

Monsoon Shootout is the Sliding Doors of cop thrillers. Fleetingly entertaining but the alt-outcomes narrative wears thin… #Cannes2013 — @totalfilm May 19, 2013

Monsoon Shootout – 2/5. Slumdog Millionaire meets Run Lola Run (Run Slumdog Run?) in fecklessly bloodless gimmick thriller #Cannes2013 — @ShaunMunroFilm May 19, 2013

MONSOON SHOOTOUT is the Indian RUN LOLA RUN if RUN LOLA RUN were a predictable cop drama. #Cannes2013 #cannes — @FredTopel May 19, 2013

On Ugly:

UGLY (A Kashyap): A Blaft-like pulp thriller with @ankash1009 bravely pushing his style to the limits. Depressingly hilarious & brilliant. — @bgji May 18, 2013

And finally…

UGLY and MONSOON SHOOTOUT taught me not to be a person who works for, needs help from, or who is wanted by police in India. #cannes2013— @marshalclark) May 19, 2013

Jai Ho. 🙂

meghe

Ever since Sashwata Chatterjee made his mark on national radar as Bob Biswas in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani, suddenly we have been seeing more of him. Or maybe he is getting interesting roles since then. Recently he was in Aparna Sen’s hilarious film Goynor Baksho, and now he is playing the lead role of Ritwik Ghatak in Kamaleswar Mukherjee’s Meghe Dhaka Tara (The Cloud-Capped Star).

When i heard about the title of the film, the first thought in my head was blasphemy, blasphemy! But thankfully, the black and white trailer looks interesting. And seems like Sashwata is going to steal the show again, especially towards the end, when he portrays the madness.

Have a look. It’s with English subs. Hope more producers learn from this and realise that they have a market beyond their state. It’s a slow process but that’s how you build your audience. So do release your trailer, promos, songs with subs.

Official synopsis

Kamaleswar Mukherjee’s Meghe Dhaka Tara is inspired in every way possible from the legendary director Ritwik Ghatak’s life. From putting together bits and pieces of his eventful life to using the title of one of his most famous movies, and to naming the characters from his last film Jukti Tokko Goppo, Kamaleswar’s movie is an apt tribute to the great director.

Although inspired from Ghatak’s life, Meghe Dhaka Tara is neither a biopic on him, nor a remake of his famous film. To Kamaleswar, Ritwik is a true star, a legend, with immense contributions to the world of cinema. And yet he is still quite the unsung hero. Hence, he is the “Meghe Dhaka Tara”.

Credits

Starring : Saswata Chatterjee, Ananya Chatterjee, Abir Chatterjee & others
Producer : Shree Venkatesh Films
Presenter : Shrikant Mohta & Mahendra Soni
Direction : Kamleswar Mukherjee
Screenplay : Kamaleswar Mukherjee
DOP: Soumik Halder
Music : Debojyoti Mishra

– For more updates, it’s Facebook page is here.