‘Ichchhe’ in the backdrop of new wave in Bengali Movie (Film Review)

Icche Bengali Movie PosterAugust 8, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): You simply watch Bengali movies of 2011 released so far and fathom the magnitude of metamorphosis of Bengali films in recent times. Definitely it’s neither a ‘new wave’ nor a so called ‘art film’, but it’s a sharp change. Change in choosing the problems and the method of sorting out the same, change in casting pattern and acting style and change by and large in cinematography as well. You can well understand that these changes did not happen suddenly in 2011 only, as it was in fifties with Satyajit Ray’s ‘Pather Panchali’ or ’Devi’ or Ritwik Ghatak’s ‘Ajantrik’ or ’SubarnaRekha’. These two film personalities were completely different from the then film makers and the then market as well. And so with gulf of difference between Roy-Ghatak and others at that time, the environment for good film was not built at all. So Roy and Ghatak were isolated from the rest of the film makers during their prime time. The only Indian film maker who could have been their companion was Barin Saha who showed his talent in his only making ‘Tero Nadir Pare’ in early fifties. Though comparatively dwarf, Mrinal Sen, Gautam Ghosh, and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya joined them afterwards.

But at the moment there is a real wave of good films, the market for good films is opening day by day and though there is no brand talent, brilliant film makers are emerging one after another and at the same time olds having their new films as well. As for example in one hand Gaurav Pandey made his excellent debut with ‘Shukno Lanka’ in 2010, in 2011 Arun Ray came up with his fantastic ‘Egaro’ and Nandita Roy plus Shiboprasad Mukherjee made their magnificent debut with ‘Ichchhe’. On the other, ‘Iti Mrinalini’ by Aparna Sen who started her directorial carrier in 1981 with ‘36 Chowringhee Lane’, has released on 29th July only and ‘Janala’ by veteran film maker Buddhadeb Dasgupta is also a 2011 release. 2011 also presented ‘Ranjana Ami Ar Asbo Na’– the best of Anjan Dutta and ‘Takhon Teish’– the best of Atanu Ghosh. Along with them in this year we experienced Bappaditya Banerjee’s ‘Kagojer Bau’, Shekhar Das’sNecklace’, Aniket Chaterjee’s ‘Bye Bye Bankok’.

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[ReviewAZON asin=”B0057XXJKI” display=”inlinepost”]In this context let us have few words about ‘Ichchhe’, where after a long gap of 11years we get amazing Sohini Sengupta as an obsessed mother. In her debut in Aparna Sen’s ‘Paramitar Ekdin’ in 2000, Sohini simply startled us with her acting talent. Frankly speaking ‘Ichchhe’ is a film of Sohini. Without Sohini we cannot dream of ‘Ichchhe’. In this film Sohini is Mamata, the wife of Manas (Bratya Basu) and mother of Soumik (Samadarshi Dutta ) who used to live in husband’s ancestral house along with her spouse and being an ambitious mother and disappointed in her husband’s outlook, she nurtures many dreams for her only son and is determined to bring him up in a different way in this highly competitive world . On the other hand, Manas is an insurance agent with an easy going personality being satisfied with his job and having practically no ambition. We now and then here and there find the disgusting Mamata in every nook and corner of our society. At one time mothers like Mamata were restricted to middle class, more specifically in lower-middle, namely as wives of clerks, petty officers, teachers, professors, doctors etc . These Mamatas have so many unfulfilled desires within themselves, may be along with Eugin O’Nil’s ‘Desire Under The Elms’ also. Sexually these people are negatively obsessed. They have been taught to consider sex as a criminal offence and so the adolescent immaculate love. All middle class Soumiks at one time were helpless prey before this thought process. But now people like Mamata are not confined to middle class only. It has been extrapolated to very lower middle class and even to the poor like maid servants, rickshaw pullers, cooks, rag pickers, vendors etc. as well. This is horrible.

This burning subject which sprouted from aggressive rat race has never been so seriously dealt with in our cinema. The tangible relationship between an obsessive mother and her son has been sympathetically shown from all angles. At the end you can never accuse anybody. You are ought to be sympathetic to all characters- Mamata herself, her son Soumik, husband Manas, the two fiancé of Soumik –Debjani (Rupolekha Mitra) and Jayanti (Bidita Nag) will gather your passionate support. This is the crux of the screenplay and that of the directorial work as well where Nandita Roy and Shibprasad Mukhopadhyay in their debut have shown their excellence. It is needless to talk more about the story teller great Suchitra Bhattacharya. In two consecutive films of this time ‘Ichchhe’ and ‘Ranjana Ami Ar Asbo Na’ we are overwhelmed by the Bangla Band singers and the way they have been used (Music – Surajit). In ‘Ichchhe’ play back singers are Rupam Islam, Surajit, Anindya Chatterjee, Sidhu and Shubhajit from Fossils, Bhumi, Chandrabindu, Cactus and Lakkhichahara respectively along with a lady with wonderful voice Anuseh from Bangladesh. As effect music the use of specially two songs ‘somber sakale…’ and ‘amar mon sarakkhon…’ are marvelous. Ruplekha, Bidita, Samadarshi, Mithu Chakraborty, Biswajit Chakraborty and Bratya Basu acted nicely. Though excepting Samadarshi and Bratya, others had very little to do.
We are coming back to the story line again. All laid out plans of Mamata are dislodged when Soumik in his secondary school starts romance with Debjani thrusting his mother’s dominance for the first time. Understanding the danger, Soumik’s romance is nipped in the bud by his mother in a most filthy way, for which he never ever excuses his mom. Thus trust between the mother and the son is wiped out once for all. When in college life he falls in love with Jayanti, he is afraid of her mother again. Mamata learns of this new relationship after suddenly opening the door of his son’s room one day, discovering Soumik and Jayanti passionately kissing each other. To combat this most unpleasant situation Mamata takes another nasty path. But this time she could not repeat the history. Soumik and Jayanti get married, they together left home, left West Bengal and left alone Mamata hapless. She is left alone – mentally, physically, socially and possibly sexually as well.

Cast: Sohini Sengupta, Samadarshi Dutt, Ruplekha Mitra, Bratyo Basu, Bidita Nag, Biswajit Chakraborty, Mithu Chakarabort;
Rating: 6 / 10
Screen play/Dialogue/Direction: Nandita Roy and Shibprasad Mukhopadhyay
Producer Rituparna Sengupta
Music, Lyrics: Surajit
Story: Suchitra Bhattacharya
Cinematographer: Soumik Haldar
Editor: Moloy Laha

– Pachu Ray

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