The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A take on 'Kia and Cosmos'

Language: English
Director: Sudipto Roy
Cast: Ritwika Pal, Swastika Mukherjee, Joy Sengupta, Sraman Chatterjee, Zahid Hussain, Mita Chatterjee
Length: 2 hours 6 minutes
Release date: 29th March 2019

Kia and Cosmos is a heart-warming story of a specially abled child's (Kia) quest to find out who killed her cat Cosmos who was pregnant and in the bargain, taking a leap in becoming independent. The story is from Kia's point of view, which makes for an interesting watch, and it's brilliantly crafted by director Sudipto Roy. Aditya Varma's cinematography helps create Kia's world with finesse and elevates the film. Ritwika is astonishingly good as she brings Kia to life. Kudos to the immense potential of this young debutante! Swastika is brilliant as Kia's mother- the vulnerable and loving Dia. Joy Sengupta is very good as her musician father Kabir and so are Sraman Chatterjee and Zahid Hussain (Kia's teacher). Neel Adhikari's music and minimal background score take the storytelling forward. I just thought there was a problem with pacing in places and it could be tighter. Overall, a memorable cinematic experience which explains why this film was an official selection in film festivals in Glasgow, Milan, Barcelona and Madrid.

#KiaAndCosmos #SwastikaMukherjee

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

A take on ‘Mahalaya'

Language: Bengali
Director: Soumik Sen
Cast: Jisshu Sengupta, Subhashis Mukherjee, Prosenjit, Saptarshi Roy, Subhomoy Chatterjee
Length: 1 hour 48 minutes
Release date: 1st February 2019

Mahalaya takes us back to the historical incident etched in Bengali’s cultural history when an iconic radio programme on the day of Mahalaya famous for the chants of Birendra Krishna Bhadra was audaciously replaced by Akashvani with another program with the biggest ever filmstar Uttam Kumar as the star attraction.

Mahalaya had an interesting premise but the execution left a lot to be desired. The first few minutes involving a senior and powerful All India Radio official who catalyses the change of the iconic Mahalaya programme set the tone and texture of the film which rules out finesse. Prosenjit who plays the official Shashi Sinha delivers an exceptionally weak performance thanks to an unconvincing diction of Hindi and over-the-top portrayal full of familiar mannerisms. The same loudness is noticed in a key character Banerjee (Kanchan) and partly in Kolkata station director Stevenson (Jayant Kripalni).

In terms of direction, the narrative ends up as more documentative and less drama as it talks too much through dialogue and shows too less going against a hallmark of good cinema. Apart from some melodramatic bits, what mars the watching experience is unnecessary or careless intrusions of celebrities like Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey and even Rabindranath Tagore who is shown in a scene. I seriously wonder, couldn't the makers find out an artist who
would at least sound like Kishore Kumar?

Thankfully, Subhashish shows his class bringing to life Birendra Krishna Bhadra in a nuanced and understated performance and Jisshu does a somewhat decent job as Uttam Kumar (though more care should have been taken by the director to bring alive the biggest star in Bengali cinema).  Subhomoy Chatterjee as Pankaj Kumar Mullick is a laudable act and Saptarshi Roy as Hemanta Mukherjee is good too. One however wonders if the director has taken a little too much of creative liberty in developing the character of Hemanta making him overconfident and setting a wrong precedence of a guru-shishya relationship (with Pankaj in this context).

#Mahalaya #BanglaCinema #BanglaCinema2019 #BengaliCinema #UttamKumar

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