This Sunday became a movie day for me. It so happened that I was clearing my shelf and stumbled upon a bunch of CDs/DVDs which I bought from Kolkata but had safely forgotten. So I discovered that the bunch had two unopened films namely Ballygunge Court and Padakhep. So I picked them up with Antaheen(family’s choice as I have already seen it) the film which seems to have swept the national awards this year. Infact lead actor of Padakhep Soumitra Chatterjee won a National Award for Best Actor and the director of Ballygunge Court Pinaki Chowdhury won the National Award for Best Director in previous years.
Ballygunge Court is a film based on Bani Bose’s story. The film deals with a problem that India and Kolkata in particular is facing for past few years. That is the mass exodus of youngsters for greener pastures. Which is creating a serious social problem of empty nests with elderly people left all alone to fend for themselves. Add to that the crimes committed against these helpless senior citizens. The movie struck a cord with me and my family as we could relate to it straightaway. Today when I go to Kolkata the apartment where I grew up bears a deserted look, a complex that once was bustling with lively children screaming around holds an eerie silence. I just want to add here that like the movie showed people are not always happy to move far away from their roots looking for better opportunities but what do you do if you have no options left. I am not going to do an elaborate review as you can get them on internet if interested.
Next was Padakhep. This film is the story of a middle-class, retired, widowed, banker(Soumitra Chatterjee). A man who potters around home arranging calenders, candle stands and reading books/Newspapers. His life comes to a full circle when a NRI family comes to live as their neighbors and their little daughter becomes the center of Soumitra’s life. We see that the old man too starts behaving like the child. In one of the interviews the director Suman Ghosh mentioned that he was inspired by Curious Case of Benjamin Button which is a story of a man who ages backward. In Padakhep we have the story of a man who’s mental age reverses. Truly how many times you have felt that your parent or grandparent is behaving like a child. These two movies back to back were dealing with similar issues.
What I liked about them is that both films were not sermonizing and were very balanced in its approach to the respective subjects. While in Ballygunge Court we have one character who encourages and guides his children to fly away whereas we have another character who stops his son from following his career. At the same time in Padakhep the old father stoops down on floor to watch ants and be intrigued by their activity. Yet gets into an argument about her daughter’s boyfriend being a Muslim. After two films portraying reality I felt we need some change so we put on Antaheen.
Though I had seen it earlier but did sit through it for the second time. What do I say about Antaheen this movie is all over internet. With experts dissecting and a lot of talk around it most of which are in line with my feelings too about the film. Like the endorsements I mean Nihar Coconut oil, Cafe Coffee Day, Reliance Mobile, Reliance Money actually we were not missing the commercial breaks but I guess even a thoughtful cinema director has to keep the financiers happy as well so its perfectly fine. One more thing the music was very high point of this film its beyond doubt that Shantanu Moitra(whose 3Idiots is making waves ) did a fantastic job and in my Common Man opinion he deserved a National Award for the music. Also understood some portions of Chandreel/Anindo’s lyrics after watching the movie second time(Bengalis who listen to Chandrabindoo should know how difficult it is to interpret their lyrics for dumb-asses like me). The National award for Best Cinematography too was well deserved by Avik Mukherjee as I have never seen such beautiful shots of Kolkata. You want to know more about plot, cast etc then please jump to this Wiki page.
Finally just to add this Saturday watched Ishqiya. Free advice go watch this movie if you want to see a mature yet not as complicated as Kaminey , bold and humouros movie. Another wone this movie has some of most elaborate yet aesthetically shot deep mouthed smooches of bollywood till date and some raw language spoken by a woman(which may not bleed your ears) so people with kids watch it as per your comfort level with them.