FIRST LOOK: ACHIN PAKHI (2010) Bengali Movie by Anjan Das to release soon.
Anjan Das’ first film, Sainik (1976), was screened at 6 International Film Festivals across the world – Berlinale, Tehran, Mannheim, Cracow, Yugoslavia and Mongolia. While the film print was being flown from Tehran to Rome, it got lost in transit. He did not have a second copy of the print, so no negative of the film remains. It took him 27 long years to make his second film, Saanjhbatir Roopkathara based on Joy Goswami’s novel. Phaltu was a good film but bad marketing and release ensured its washout. He then made Iti Sreekanto, a condensed film adaptation of a four-volume novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay which saw the debut of Soha Ali Khan on the big screen. The film was not released properly and disappeared without a trace. He adapted Joy Goswami’s famous long poem Jara Bristite Bhijechhilo (Walking in the Rain), critically acclaimed but not a commercial success. Another release tragedy lay in wait for Swarger Neechey Manush based on a Sunil Gangopadhyay novel. The film was premiered at the Osians’ festival in 2008. But animal rights’ organizations raised objections and though the issue was later solved, the film remains in the cans till date.
Luck has finally smiled on the low-profile, soft-spoken Anjan Das because his new film Achin Pakhi is scheduled for release at the end of this month. “Achin Pakhi is the remake of a Bangladeshi film called Monpura which released in Bangladesh in February 2009 and became a super hit. I roped in Gias Uddin Selim who directed Monpura to write the script of Achin Pakhi. I have made some changes to suit Indian sensibilities but the story remains the same. Monpura was dramatic but Achin Pakhi is subtle and low-key,” says Das of his new film. R.D. Bansal has produced the film which carries the songs from Monpura composed by Joel Kabir of Bangladesh. The five songs include two folk numbers. Som Dasgupta has written the background score.
Achin Pakhi is a tragic love story that touches on a father-son relationship. It explores to what extent a father can go to protect his mentally deranged son. Achin, a servant in the home of the affluent and powerful Rai Saheb, is accused of a murder he did not commit. It is a cooked up case. Achin takes shelter in an island inhabited by fishermen. He meets the young and innocent Pakhi and they fall in love. Just when Achin chooses love over sacrifice, he is arrested and imprisoned while Pakhi is forcibly married off to Tanu, Rai Saheb’s deranged son. She commits suicide. The story of love ends in tragedy. Achin Pakhi is the first full-blown commercial film Anjan Das has attempted “because it is very difficult to find producers to back my kind of film. But I look upon Achin Pakhi as an experiment for me as I have never tackled such commercial films before. It is necessary to make these films if one wants to survive in the industry,” he adds.
Subrat Dutta, who has won State, National and international awards for his acting in Hindi and Bengali films, has essayed the role of Achin while Manali Dey, a sweet young girl who is very famous for her portrayal of the title role in a popular television serial has played Pakhi. Others in the cast are – Sudip Chakroborty, Barun Chakroborty, Madhumita Dutta, Chhanda Chatterjee, Tapan Ganguly and Tapas Singha. Achin Pakhi has been shot in beautiful locales by veteran cinematographer Aseem Bose. “We shot in Machranga Dweep in Taki, very close to the Indo-Bangla border. I needed some shots against a river backdrop and the Ichamoti River that divides West Bengal and Bangladesh on that side offered another rich visual opportunity. For the house in which Achin takes shelter, we got a dilapidated structure that once was a government guest house. Many shots have been taken on a boat on the Ichamoti River. We had to seek permission from the BSF to shoot on Ichamoti till five in the evening because the water level on the river rises up to 15 feet at high tide. We would sail to the location by boat everyday. It was very exciting and adventurous but gruelling as well,” Das elaborates.
While this is being posted, he is busy shooting in Purulia for his under-production film Bedeni, based on Tarashankar Bandopadhyay’s story, being produced under Rituparna Sengupta’s banner Bhabna Aaaj O Kal. Rituparna is doing the title role in the film. It is about a woman’s lust for a man and has a tragic ending.
by: Shoma A. Chatterji
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