News - Bengali Tollywood

From 36 Chowringhee Lane To 15 Park Avenue – The Journey Of Bengali Cinema Over The Past Three Decades

Bengali film Actress Koyel Mallick

Image via Wikipedia

Calcutta, Nov 19, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) They say that change is the only constant in life. The same is applicable when we discuss films too. The movie industry of Bengal, or, Tollywood, as it is more well-known as, had already seen glory days in the 1950s and 1960s, with cinematic gems like Jalsaghar, The Apu Trilogy (The first Bengali movie franchise, if one can take the liberty of calling it so!), Devdas and Meghe Dhaka Tara wowing domestic audience and gaining recognition on the global stage as well. With directors like Bimal Roy, Ritwik Ghatak and, most notably, Satyajit Ray donning the director’s hat with regularity, Bengali cinema seemed poised for bigger and better things over time. So, has that journey been as smooth as it was once expected? Hardly so.



Premer Kothakoli (2011) Bengali Movie Review

Kolkata, India, 4 November, 2011(Washington Bangla Radio/Penning Creations) “Premer Kothakoli” is another venture of director Alok Roy to reflect the common man’s problems, his crisis and its outcome. Simply put, it’s a story of complications in relationships. Roy has been an accomplished filmmaker but has given the Bengali film industry some not-so-major hits like “Dujone Milibo Abar” (2011) and “Sukher Basha” (2009).



Sohan Roy's DAM 999 3D (2011) Hollywood Film India Theatrical Release:

A corrupt mayor builds a new dam for political gains and personal glory endangering millions of innocent lives; A mariner desperate to save his sister from evil; Two not-so-young lovers challenging destiny in a bid to unite; A woman on a mission to win her family back; A little boy battling a deadly disease; A devoted wife wants to be with her husband even in death; And the astrologer who has foreseen their ominous fate - Nine lives entwined by the impending disaster. Take the journey of a lifetime - Nine characters, Nine moods and a crumbling dam of emotions... DAM999 - experience it in 3D!

The theatrical release date of Sohan Roy's DAM 999 3D is Nov 25, 2011.

The Cast and the Characters

Film Poster: DAM 999 3D

Rajit Kapur: Rajit Kapur, the versatile Indian actor, is the winner of the National Film Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in the movie 'The Making of the Mahatma'. Rajit Kapur is a theatre actor as well as a director. In DAM999, the acting maestro dons the role of Shankaran who portrays Shantha rasa, the rasa of tranquility.

Joshua Fredric Smith (INTERVIEW): He plays Captain Fredrick Brown, a tongue-in-cheek Anglo-Indian mariner, an epitome of Hasya, the rasa of laughter. Joshua, who was born in Northern California, made it to Hollywood following his grandfather's desire to make him a 'star'. Through his passion and determination, he is slowly on his way to fulfill that dream. Joshua's recent films include 'Finding a Place' and 'The Road to Freedom' was screened in Cannes.

Megha Burman (INTERVIEW): Megha Burman the young Bengali beauty portrays Shringara rasa that stands for romance in the movie. She plays the character of Raziya; a Pakistani in DAM999.The young actress has been a part of various television commercials, promos and print campaigns.



RAATBHOR (1955) Uttam Kumar - Sabitri Chatterjee: The Classic Bengali Old Movie & Debut of Director Mrinal Sen

[image: Uttam Kumar-Sabitri Chatterjee - Tollywood Kolkata Bengali Movie]
Uttam Kumar & Sabitri Chatterjee

MRINAL SEN Indian Bengali Film DirectorCalcutta, Nov 6, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) The 1955 old Bengali black-and-white classic film Raat Bhor has the distinction of being noted Indian film-maker Mrinal Sen's debut movie. Sen started work on the film in 1951, and it opened in theaters in Kolkata just about 55 years ago.

The star cast of Ratbhor was lead by one of the best-known romantic pairs of the time of Uttam Kumar - Sabitri Chatterjee. Various other important roles were played by Chhaya Debi, Sobha Sen, Chhabi Biswas, Keshto Mukherjee , Kali Banerjee, Jahar Roy and more.

Equally importantly, Raat Bhor featured lyrics by Gauri Prasanna Majumdar set to music by Salil Chowdhury.

A Times of India report unfortunately laments the loss of any viewable print of the film. Reports indicate this first film of Sen might just be of historic value, the film itself was apparently nothing to write home about. It would take Sen two more films to cause a blip in the international film radar with Baishe Srabon.

The following films by Mrinal Sen are, however, available world-wide. You can buy these Bengali film DVDs in USA or other countries and have them delivered to your home - Click Here to Order Online.


ROMEO (2011) Bengali Movie Review - Size-Zero Subhasree Returns with a Bang to a Glamorous Dev Movie

Dev and Subhasree Starrer ROMEO Poster in Cinemal Hall in Kolkata

Priya Cinema Kolkata

Calcutta, Nov 5, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) These are good times for the Bengali film industry. Money is being splashed around by film-makers in an honest effort to raise the production values of their movies, and it sure shows on-screen. The interest of viewers to watch Bengali movies in theaters is back too, thanks to the marketing blitz that precedes every big-budget film release. As yours truly stood in the ticket queue for ‘Romeo’, the latest offering from Shree Venkatesh Films, it was indeed heartening to see the demand for tickets for the movie to be almost at par with the one-week old Bolly biggie, ‘Ra.One’. So, does the film live up to the enormous hype it had created prior to release? It does, but only in parts.

Dev and Subhasree Starrer ROMEO Poster in Cinemal Hall in Kolkata

‘Romeo’ does not offer much novelty in its plot. Dev plays a young Casanova, a diligent MBA student, who, apparently, has enough time to shake a leg with PYTs (Pretty Young Things, silly!) and woo his lady love. The latter is played by Subhashree, making a comeback to the big screen after a hiatus of four years. The twists and turns in the story are rather predictable too, proving the fact that N. K. Salil, while a master at rolling out clap-inducing dialogues, still has a long way to go as far as story-writing is concerned.

Dev and Subhasree Starrer ROMEO Poster in Cinemal Hall in Kolkata

What makes ‘Romeo’ tick, however, are its stars. The head of a leading chain of theaters recently referred to Dev as ‘the SRK of Bengal’ and the ‘Khokababu’ shows his mettle as a superstar. There is nothing in the movie that Dev has not done before on-screen, but his boyish charm and sheer screen presence add a new dimension to his performances. And yes, going by the reactions of the group of young ladies in the front row, the man can indeed be called a ‘teen heartthrob’.

Subhashree is back with a bang, and that too, in an all-new, ‘size-zero’ avatar. Oozing glamor in every frame that she appears in, the leading lady of ‘Romeo’ pitches in with a strong performance, showing how much she has improved since her ‘Challenge’ and ‘Poran Jaay Jolia Re’ days. The close friendship of the leading couple shows up in the movie too, where they share a sparkling chemistry. The others are well-casted and are adequate in their roles.

Probably the biggest highlight of ‘Romeo’ is its cinematography. In Kumud Verma, Tollywood finally has a person who knows how to wield a camera, with the best possible results. The entire movie looks easy on the eye, so much so that, when the audience is asked to take rather outlandish leaps of faith (I won’t be providing any spoilers here!), they are only too happy to do so.

The hit-machine called Jeet Ganguly scores yet again with ‘Romeo’. While ‘Ami holam Romeo’ and ‘Mala Re’ have already become chart-busters, ‘Ei Mon Toke Dilam’ also stays with you, with its touching lyrics and lilting melody. The film captures the breathtaking locales of South Africa and Namibia quite beautifully. ‘Romeo’ is director Sujit Mondol’s third film with Dev, and the comfort level that the two share, helps the cause of the movie too.

The title-track of the movie, shot at Mumbai’s Esel Studio, is worth a special mention. The track features the usage of Motion Control Camera, or MILO cam, for the first time in the Bengali film industry. For those wondering what on earth is this all about, throw your mind back to the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’ a few years back. MILO cam was used to show the hero change shirts during the title track in that movie and is used here to show multiple Dev-s on screen. Yes, Tollywood is indeed fast catching up with its big brother in Mumbai.

Finally, ‘Romeo’ is Dev’s film all the way. He carries the movie on his young shoulders with elan, and boy, the guy sure knows how to move it. The title track brings out the best of Dev’s dancing prowess, with Baba Yadav, the choreographer, proving as efficient as over. The film showcases a leaner Dev, who looks totally credible as a young MBA. However, he still needs to work on his emoting skills.

Dev and Subhasree Starrer ROMEO Poster in Cinemal Hall in Kolkata

The production values of ‘Romeo’ are excellent, and every penny of the Rs. 50 crore budget of the movie has been utilized to enhance the look and feel of the movie in the best manner possible. With the entire cast putting in sincere performances, what the movie could have done with was a stronger storyline. While Dev’s fans won’t mind this shortcoming, we can only sigh. If only...

Rating: 3/5

All text and pictures © WBRi Inc, Germantown, MD, USA


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