RANG MILANTI (Bengali, 2011) - The Back Story of the Bengali Film

By Shoma A. Chatterji

The Indian national award-winning film writer and researcher takes a deep look into the Bengali film Rang Milanti for this article sponsored by Databazaar Media Ventures. You can also listen online to our exclusive interviews with director Kaushik Ganguly and cast members including Tanaji Dasgupta and others in our features section.

Calcutta, September 22, 2011 (Databazaar Media Ventures) Youth films these days are conspicuous by their absence in Bengali cinema. The last film one got to see that was really focussed on the changing angst of the urban, upbeat Bengali youngster was Aamra (2007) and then, nothing worthwhile came across. The film had a very interesting structure. Someone is making a documentary film where he asks his young subjects – the characters of Aamra –to define love as spontaneously into the camera (within the film) as they can. The documentary film-being-made-within-the-larger fiction film invests the structure with the dual characteristics of the talking heads documentary and the conflicts of feature films at the same time. Produced by Nitesh Sharma and directed by Moinak Bhowmick, Aamra created an indigenous way of promoting and marketing the film by spreading it across colleges of Kolkata.

But 2011 is five years later where the scenario has changed considerably in terms of relationships between youngsters in Kolkata with its innumerable skyscrapers, shopping malls, disco music, information-technology and film schools. Koushik Ganguly’s new film Rangmilanti explores the mindsets of a small group of five young people – four boys of different backgrounds and one girl, and takes them along on a rollicking and adventurous journey through scrapes and hurdles zeroing on love, romance  and marriage in its varied manifestations. Interestingly, Rang Milanti has been acquired for screening, telecasting and streaming rights by Databazaar Media Ventures for North America and Canada.

Produced by an incredibly young Deepten Das who marks his entry into the tinsel world with Rangmilanti, the story claims to be a modern day version of the custom of swayamvara found in our epics and scriptures such as the Ramayana. Swayam in Sanskrit means ‘self’ while vara means choice or desire. In aristocratic families in ancient times, usually of regal lineage, the girl’s father would decide on am auspicious day, time and venue to conduct his daughter’s swayamvara where she would decide from among a group of contenders for her hand, which would be the ideal life partner. Both Sita in the Ramayana and Draupadi in Mahabharata chose their life partners through swayamvara.

But how would the contenders get to know of the swayamvara sabha? Messengers would be sent by the King to different parts of the kingdom and neighbouring areas while the subjects would spread the information through word-of-mouth among the local gentry.

In Rangmilanti, four young guys who have practically grown together but belong to different backgrounds and professions, have a soft spot for the only girl in their group, Kamalika and all of them want to marry her. The pretty student of communications however, is in a quandary – she loves all four so who will she choose as marriage partner? An eccentric psychiatrist she approaches as she thinks there is something seriously wrong with her, gives her the idea of playing a ten-part game of proficiency of the four guys in different areas of life. This serves indirectly but dramatically, as a modern version of the swayamvara. The guys have no clue about what is going on. That is where the fun lies. The topsy-turvy game based partly on hypothesis and partly on real life encounters – incidental or by design forms the crux of the narrative. Married to this, is Kamalika’s confusion relating to the sudden separation between her older sister Kamalini, a famous actress and her husband Deep, a failed actor whose talents in several areas come across wonderfully in this film.


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