Saturday, June 09, 2012

Charulata (1964) - Bengali Movie

Whenever and wherever I have read anything about Satyajit Ray - they always said that he was beyond his time. He was one guy who was too advanced to the time he was born. Now, after seeing his 12 movies back to back from his very first - I can understand what they meant by that. If one isnt told of the year he made these movies - you wont be able to guess the year - if it wasnt for the black and white movies. Right from his first movie "Pather Panchali (1955)" till his 12th "Charulata (1964)" they were all black and white. I havent yet come to a point where they have started making colored movies - at least in India. But I can guarantee you, the content these movies has - is beyond color and gloss of today's movies. If there was a quality control in movies - even today - these movies will certainly pass with flying colors without getting edited even once. You've got to see some of his works to understand what I mean.

The movie that I saw today "Charulata" is no exception. I am at a loss of words how to explain the feeling we got after we saw this today. Me and my wife, both were totally bowled over by the subject, handling, camera work, music, song, cast, you name a thing and it had the best. I mean there is this one particular shot in which the protagonist is sitting on a swing tied on a tree trunk and you will be amazed to see the camera focused on her face - extreme close up and the swing goes up and down, atleast a dozen times with the camera and lady both, yet her facial expressions are mindblowing. In the same shot - she shows atleast 3 different feelings in a 30 second shot - Ultimate Beautifule moment for cinema. And then we remember the year - it was 1964 :) - I guess my dad gruduated that year.

One hell of a story - although very simple yet captivating. This isnt any day any lesser than a perfect thriller with suspense building up ever moment, you look forward to what happens next and are too keen to guess and know the ending. Its a simple story based in the year 1879, about the life of an Intellect Husband who owns a priting press and is very passionate about his news paper "The Sentinel". He is highly against the culture of Masala News and hell bent on keeping his paper strictly straight and to the point - even at the cost of incurring loses. To make it work - he is totally ignorant of his personal life, a beautiful and educated wife who craves for his company but he has no time for all that. To keep his wife busy and entertained - he calls his own sister and her husband to live with them. His Sister's husband starts assisting him in the business too but he is of a different mentality and wants to move with the time and always pushes him to make "The Sentinel" more of a commercial paper than Political and as expected he is always turned down.

His cousin Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee) joins them out of nowhere as a breath of fresh air, even his arrival is shown on screen with the arrival of thundering showers. Its such a classic scene, everything is going haywire cause of the winds and our Hero arrives. After seeing a dozen Satyajit Ray movies - I serious cant imagine a movie of him without Soumitra Chatterjee in it. His arrival changes everything. Charulata's husband tells Amal, to mould her to start writing as he believes she is a good writer and he wants to keep her busy too. Amal himself was an amateur writer and wanted to try his own hand in writing. There, comes the twist - as they start spending time together - being of same age, they fall for each other. The handling of cast this point onward is simply mind blowing and amazing. Without saying a word they say a lot by their expressions and body language. How it all goes out of hand and again falls in place is the rest of the movie. It indeed made us think hard that what direction this movie was going and wasnt this a very controversial topic based on the time it was projected and the way it is handled is praise worthy. Not for one moment you feel that you have seen something objectionable. How it all ends is too good and again this time too like so many times earlier - we actually failed to guess the ending. That - Ladies and Gentleman - was the genius called - Satyajit Ray for all of us.

It is one of the best movies I ever saw and will very highly recommend to all classic movie lovers.
One added bonus in this one was a damn good song by Kishore Kumar, we were totally surprised to see and hear the song here. Not to be missed. A must must watch for all.

1 comment:

Felix Jackson said...

Excellent Review. This movie truly is a gem.