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Tag: Bengali Cinema

In search of a gestalt in Ray’s cinema

Published @ Critical Collective
Satyajit Ray’s colossal presence in Indian cinema is in no need of commendation. His centenary is expected to further illuminate Ray as a storyteller, author, graphic-artist, publicist and illustrator. Despite sporadic efforts, the different manifestations of Ray’s work have so far been seen in segregation, refusing as it were, to probe into an omniscient meta-narrative that could have, undetected, informed his harvest. Are we only to contend then, with the different faces of a polygonal genius? Or is there in…

The Enigma of Arrival: Uttam Kumar Profile – Part 1

Published @ Critical Collective
In 1951, a cartoon – Bengal’s Hero  appeared in the satirical periodical Achalpotro. The cartoon showed a waddling baby with the face of a struggling actor, who was seen holding within his embrace the neck of his much-older beloved, and uttering, with saccharine smugness,  ‘Dear, do you love me?’ The baby’s face was that of Uttam Kumar, about 25 at that time. In 1951, Uttam was working as a clerk at a Calcutta Port office and was moonlighting as a…

Bengali Cinema is Moribund and Smug in its Comfort Zone

Published @ The Wire
Poster of Tapan Sinha’s landmark Jotugriga, (The House of Wax, 1964). Bengali cinema has long lost its Madeleine and has also forgotten that it has lost it. With the new film Prakton, the forgetting is now complete. After watching Sairat, a Bengali professional based in Bombay posted a moving comment on his Facebook wall. The post said how the Marathi film reminded him of his parents – refugees and also ardent Communists in post-colonial India – who had an inter-caste marriage in…

The Man Who Would Be King

Published @ The Caravan
Soumitra Chatterjee on stage as Lear in Raja Lear. How an actor’s never-ending quest for the perfect role produced a lifetime’s worth of great cinema. 1959. APUR SANSAR. A man in his early 20s, a loner and drifter, a struggling writer, a reluctant father and a fretful widower, finally finds home in his estranged little son. His departure into the horizon with his son on his shoulders is also the moment which marks his arrival on the scene. 2011.