By Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Editor's Note: The author is a young and popular film-maker from Kolkata with a remarkably diverse set of interests (film-making is just one of them); he is a creative writer and poet from very early on, an avid photographer, an artist, and has professional experience as a teacher of the English language in India and foreign countries. His prior films include THE MOVE (2008) screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival, “Hero” in Dhivehi (the national language of the Republic of Maldives) with a Maldivian cast and crew, a one minute film "TOMORROW" made for an online film festival and “100” (ONE ZERO ZERO) - a short film on rural development, funded by the Government of West Bengal. Sounak is currently working on his full length feature film "PREMM ET AL" (প্রেম et al) and the experimental independent film "CHILLI CRAB" in which the experimentation extends to innovative financing of the film by a large number of small donations.
We have had the pleasure of chatting with Sounak in our interview series - the recording is available online in this post.
Kolkata, Aug 26, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Bengali cinema will never be the same again after “Chaplin”. Period.
Rudranil, Soham, Rachita
Mir, Rudranil and Soham
Anindo Banerjee, Director, Chaplin - Pictures © WBRi
Let’s admit the fact: this is a thorny world. Modern day thoughts and expressions are far from being simple and straight forward. Adults get in to complex relationships. There is so much filth visible everywhere. It’s a sheer wonder how Anindo Banerjee creates such an innocent film like Chaplin which is, arguably, the most remarkable debut of a Bengali filmmaker post “Pather Panchali”.
In the beginning of one’s career, there are always two options. One is become a paid servant. The other is to be a paid artist. No matter how small the pay is, an artist is an artist is an artist. Chaplin is a story of such a man. Bangshi Das is an impersonator of Charlie Chaplin. He earns peanuts by being the ‘joker’ at birthday parties. However, he prefers to call himself an actor rather than a worker. His life circles around his son who is the greatest critic of his performances. Poverty never seems bitter as the father-son duo knows how to make fun of it.
Trailer: Chaplin (Bengali, 2011)
Padmanabha Dasgupta, as a screenwriter, has saved his best all these years. “Chaplin” is unquestionably unveils the pink of his creativity. The dialogues at times give us goose-bumps. A fantastic range of background score takes the movie to a different level. Kausiki Desikan’s ‘Patton ka hai jism jaanam’, composed by Indradeep Dasgupta and written by Srijato, is going to haunt us for many decades. Soumik Haldar’s camera is ‘invisible’. That’s where he excels as a cinematographer. The humble lighting gets eloquent.
Mir, the celebrated anchor and mimic, is reintroduced in this film as an actor. If this was his endeavor to break free from his popular light-hearted image, he’s definitely succeeded. Debutante Rachita Bhattacharya is like a breath of fresh air amid the visible ordinariness in Bangshi’s life. Young Sohom personifies childlike innocence. When almost every reality show on Bengali television encourages today’s children to behave like over-ripened adults, Sohom’s smile oozes childlike ease.
Rudranil Ghosh. “Chaplin” belongs to him. There is not a single actor, except Rudranil, in Bengali film industry right now, who could be considered for this role. How many times does it happen for any film?
Rudranil, in this film, tried to make us laugh for several times but he failed miserably as those are the times we cried the most. Rudranil’s eyes have never spoken so much before. Far beyond his mannerisms, Rudranil reaches a new high as an actor, as a performer and as an artist. After watching “Chaplin”, I don’t know any other Bengali actor who is more versatile than this little master.
A film like “Chaplin” has never happened before in Bengali films. It’s a momentous film which must be watched by everyone who wishes to see a new dawn in Bengali films. Yes, Rudranil is the sun.