A Weekend of Bengali Movies … Part 1

A couple of weekends ago I had attended the Hyderabad Bengali Film Festival that was organized by a bengali association in Hyderabad, called Bengalis in Hyderabad. It had a line up of eight new movies that was screened over a span of two and a half days and two screenings per movie. Along with the screening of the movies they had short Q&A sessions with a few of the directors, actors and the festival curator. Overall, it was a very well organized festival.

I can’t read or write bengali because of which I have lost out on reading spectacular literature. Having lived in Hyderabad my entire life and having parents who’ve lived outside Kolkata all their lives, it’s difficult for me to understand typical bengali. You will find a clear difference in the bengali Hyderabadi Bengalis speak and the bengali Calcuttans speak. And that’s the case with any language. Unless you’re raised in the original environment, the typical language will never take root in you. Anyway, the point is, I find it difficult to follow bengali movies because I don’t understand advanced bengali. Yet I was excited to watch these movies.

I got to watch three movies-

  • Chotoder Chobi
  • Nirbaak
  • Teen Kahon

I started the film festival with Chotoder Chobi. Honestly, I went for this movie solely because my friend wanted to watch it. And we thought it was a movie about kids. Because…you know, the name- Chotoder. Imagine my surprise when I find that this is not a movie about kids. It’s a movie about dwarves. 10 minutes into the movie and I understood exactly why bengalis are so revered for their creativity. The cinematography and screenplay were outstanding! Acting was great for the most part. However the story was very been there, done that. Maybe not the story itself, more like the concept. I would describe it as a movie that focuses on the sadness in the life of a marginalized community. Yes, I know the last three lines will not go down well with many readers. But that’s what it is. I have watched enough movies that focus specifically on the sadness of a marginalized community. Yeah it’s great for generating awareness but movies are a way to escape reality. I watch movies to have a good time, not to feel depressed. But again, that’s just my view. I like to walk out of a cinema feeling positive, not depressed. Just when I thought that the movie was going to end on a good note because it was a fun/happy scene, it turned out that there was more sadness to endure.

Would I watch Chotoder Chobi again- No.

Nirbaak– WHAT.A.MOVIE! I didn’t know what the movie was about when I chose it. I only knew that my distant cousin* Sushmita Sen was starring in it. Sometimes walking in blind is the best way to enjoy something. But walking in 20 minutes late is not so great. The concept of the movie is that there are different kinds of love that can happen between two entities. Notice how I said entities and not people.

Love for yourself | A tree’s love for a woman | A dog’s love for a man | A morgue attendant’s love for a dead body.

Four unique love stories that flow from one to the other through one person. The other thing that I loved was that at certain points in the movie I thought something very uncomfortable was going to happen and that feeling gripped me for a minute. But then the scene went another way and I felt a wave of relief wash over me. These are the kind of movies I love. They build an idea in your mind and then pivot in another direction. It doesn’t have a high rating on IMDB but critically brilliant films rarely do. Although be warned, the movie is a bit slow.

Oh and can we please dedicate a paragraph to Sushmita Sen?! OMFG. #WCW I tell you. If I was ever held to be tortured and I could be released only if I took on another person’s identity, I would choose Sushmita Sen’s identity. Age defies her and grace becomes her. What a woman! She had visited Facebook India office for an event and I kid you not, she’s more beautiful in person. She was absolutely brilliant in this movie. Even as a dead body. If you’ve been wondering where Sushmita Sen is these days, she’s in Bengali cinema.

Would I recommend watching Nirbaak – YES!

Teen Kahon – Three Obsessions……….To be continued (Part 2).

*She’s not really related to me. Was a joke in my office that we’re cousins and many people believed it also!

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