Chaturanga (2008): Bengali Film Review-starring Rituparna Sengupta

Chaturanga – Four Chapters a novel by Rabindranath Tagore, filmed by director Suman Mukhopadhyay featuring Rituparna Sengupta, Kabir Suman and more. Read review, Gallery, rating.

Chaturanga (2008)
Director: Suman Mukhopadhyay
Campfire Films
Cinematography: Indraneel Mukherjee
Editing: Arghyakamal Mitra
Music: Debjyoti Mishra
Production Design: Hiran Mitra
Costume Design: Suchismita Dasgupta
Genre: Drama
Story: Rabindranath Tagore
Dhritiman Chaterji, Rituparna Sengupta, Subrata Dutta, Joy Sengupta, Kabir Suman.

Rituparna Sengupta in Chaturanga
Rituparna Sengupta in Chaturanga

Official Webpage: (Extremely well developed website for a Bengali Films. We encourage all other bengali film producers and directors to have such a nice website for each film as “Chaturanga”. We encourage our visitors to visit the official webpage of Charutanga”).
Photogallery and Movie Stills from Chaturanga

Chaturanga is a Tagore Classic. The filmed version of the classic novel released in Calcutta on November 21st, 2008. Chaturanga had gone to the Montreal World Film Festival, where it was screened in the world competition section. Then it went to Toronto,but not to the festival but the local theatres. Now it is time to release in Calcutta. The film, featuring Rituparna Sengupta, Subrata Dutta, Joy Sengupta and Dhritiman Chatterjee, has already won critical acclaim on the festival circuit.It’s also the only Bengali film to be selected for the Indian National Panorama, and was the closing film at the recent 14th Kolkata International Film Festival 2008.

‘Chaturanga’ revolves around four characters- Jagamohan (uncle), Sachish, Damini and Sribilas. Shachish’s uncle Jagamohan, a hard core atheist, social worker and a positivist in philosophical orientation, has great influence over Sachish. Sachish can’t reconcile these ideals with the reality of the two women in his life. Damini, the widow, is played by Rituparna Sengupta while Nanibaba is played by Trina Nileena Banerjee. After the death of uncle, all the reformist zeal of Sachish dies down. He becomes a disciple of Vaishnav guru Lilananda Swami. Damini is a widow of one of the disciples of Lilananda Swami. The disciple had given all of his belongings including Damini to Lilananda Swami, before his death. Shachish always refuses Damini’s passionate love for him. Sribilas, a brilliant scholar joins Lilananda Swami’s group because of his love for soul mate Shachiah. At a point of time Shachish become disillusioned with religious faith and leaves Lilananda Swami. Sribilas and Damini fallows Shachish but he wants to be alone. Now Sribilas marries Damini and comes with her to live in Shachish’s uncle’s house. The owner of which is Shachish, Damini tries her best to love Sribilas but cannot forget Shachish. She dies of a broken heart. Sribilas lives to carry the burden of grief and solitude.

Storiline from The Official Website of Chaturanga:

The story is set in Calcutta during the first part of the twentieth century. The protagonist Sachish is the youngest scion of a prosperous Bengali Hindu upper caste family. Harimohan, Sachish’s father, is a religious bigot who spends a lot of money on superstitious ceremonies. Purander, his elder brother, is a hypocrite and a cad. Sachish on the other hand is drawn to the rational positivism and the reformist zeal of his uncle Jagmohan. Much to Harimohan and Purander’s ire, uncle and nephew scandalize the conservative Hindu neighborhood by feeding lower caste people and Muslims from the nearby slums. One day Sachish discovers that his married brother Purander has impregnated and abandoned a young girl called Nanibala. Sachish brings Nanibala to Jagmohan who gladly gives her shelter. Harimohan and Purander are shocked by this development. They constantly heckle Jagmohan to drive the ‘fallen woman’ out of the house. In order to ‘protect’ Nanibala, the idealistic Sachish gallantly offers to marry her. But despite his belief that he is marrying for purely altruistic reasons, Sachish is disturbed by the first glimmers of sexual desire in his body. However, Nanibala drinks poison on the eve of the marriage so that Sachish does not have to make this ‘sacrifice’.

Shortly after the tragic death of Nanibala, Jagmohan too passes away after contracting the plague while helping victims of an epidemic. A distraught Sachish disappears from Calcutta. Sribilash finally finds him after searching for many months, in the company of a religious cult headed by Guru Lilananda Swami. He is shocked to see the erstwhile atheist press the feet of the guru and obey all his orders in a servile manner. When confronted, Sachish says that he has realized that rationality cannot explain everything. Reason by itself could not prevent Nanibala’s death. Sribilash berates him for moving to the other extreme, but joins the cult to see the final outcome of Sachish’s experiments with truth.

The two friends meet the enigmatic widow Damini. Her departed husband was a disciple of Lilananda Swami. Before his death, he had submitted the family property and Damini herself to the custody of the religious guru. Damini is not much interested in Lilananda Swami’s other worldly teachings, but soon it becomes clear that there are unstated passions brewing between her and Sachish. Sachish is torn between his spiritual ideals and the calls of the flesh; the tempestuous Damini on the other hand is ready to break all social conventions and stage a rebellion against a social order that has denied her everything. The more Sachish tries to distance himself, the more she disturbs his single mindedness by flirting with Sribilash. An intricate web of crisscrossing desires develops between the three. A disillusioned Sachish finally leaves the company of Lilananda Swami after a tragic death in the group. Damini and Sribilash accompany him. Under an elemental and stormy sky, in a stark landscape beyond human laws, there is a final playing out of the conflict between ideas and desires.

Music Tracks of Chaturanga:

After click on “Start” button please wait for songs loading.

Song Title


1. Allah Ke Nur Shafqat Amaanat Ali & Chorus
2. Din Thakte Tiner Sadhan Kartick Das Baul
3. Bhajo Patito Udhadharana Arijit Chakraborty & Chorus
4. Hara Gauri Prananath Dohar
5. Esraj Instrumental
6. Hari Haraye Nama Monomoy Chakraborty & Chorus
7. Jagohu Brishobhanu Sri Bani Kumar Chatterjee & Chorus
8. Hese Khele Nao Re Jogu Neel Mukherjee & Chorus
9. Rupo Lagi Aankhi Jhure Raghab Chatterjee
10. Joy Radhe Radhe Arijit Chakraborty & Chorus
11. Moula Tere Bina Shafqat Amaanat Ali & Chorus
12. Nirodo Nayane Santa Das
13. Background Music Instrumental
14. Praner Majhe Sudha (Hum) Parama Banerjee
15. Radha Madhabo Kabir Suman & Chorus
16. Aalo Je Amar Gaan Kore Parama Banerjee



At Kolkata, West Bengal, India

17th November 2008
Time: 7pm
Venue: Nandan 1, Kolkata

Release all over Kolkata and West Bengal from 21st November 2008

Kolkata Timing Print
Nandan 2:00/4:15/6:30 PM PRINT
Metro 3:00 PM UFO
Inox – Forum 12:00 PM PRINT
Inox – City Centre 5:15 PM PRINT
Inox – Swabhumi 8:00 PM PRINT
Fame – South City 11:30/8:15 PM PRINT
Fame – Hiland Park 12:00/6:45 PM UFO
Basushree 6:00 PM UFO
Radha 3:00 PM UFO
Jaya 5:10 PM UFO
Ajanta 2:30/5:30 PM UFO
West Bengal Timing Print
Inox – Burdaman 1:00/7:10 pm CUBE
Inox – Durgapur 2:50 PM UFO
Urvashi – Siliguri 5:00 PM UFO

At Goa, India

26th November 2008
Goa, IFFI 2008


At the 32nd Sao Paulo International Film festival 2008, Sao Paulo, Brazil

October 21, 2008 – 13:30:00
Espace Unibanco Augusta 3

October 22, 2008 – 18:00:00
IG Cine

October 28, 2008 – 18:00:00
Centro Cultural Sao Paulo

At Toronto, Canada

September 7, 2008 – 5:30 pm
Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto

At the Montreal World Film Festival 2008. Montreal, Canada

August 27, 2008 – 21:30:00
THÉATRE MAISONNEUVE • TM.27.2 • Bengali s.t.a. & s.t.f.

August 28, 2008 – 16:30:00
CINÉMA IMPÉRIAL • CI.28.4 • Bengali s.t.a. & s.t.f.

September 01, 2008 – 21:30:00

CINÉMA IMPÉRIAL • CI.01.6 • Bengali s.t.a. & s.t.f

director’s statement (From Press Release Kit)

Since my university days, the novel has been provoking me, disturbing me.

Chaturanga deals with questions, which are contemporary and timeless. It interrogates our perception of the human evolution. Chaturanga does not provide a single reference to the contemporary political situation. I believe that Rabindranath was trying to address deeper concerns regarding human ethos and codes of our existence. In the film, protagonist Sachish metamorphoses from a staunch rationalist to a devout spiritualist.

Nonetheless, there is an immense reversal in Sachish’s viewpoint at the end of the film. We, as social beings, have tried to solve all our moral, social and political dilemmas in accordance to the model of diametric opposites. East-West, Left-Right, Normal-Abnormal, Discipline-Punish for example. Rabindranath himself, at one point of time, was a victim of the similar ideological closures. Nevertheless, Rabindranath undertook many journeys in his life, journeys that allowed him to transcend his previous position.

We have shamefully observed the disasters of experimentations with human beings. In our archeology of knowledge, we have seen the quest of human mind to attain an order through religion or benevolence or coercion or moderation or collectivism. We are yet to reach any durable ‘resolution.’ Nevertheless, any attempt to harness the spirit of human nature, any effort to negate the undefined areas of our inner world only reveals the holes in the ideological models. Therefore, Chaturanga proposes an unending journey, timeless quest.

Resources: Director Suman Mukhopadhyay talks about Chaturanga to T2

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