Feb 10 (Calcutta Tube): Kolkatar Doityo is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Prosenjit Ghosh, Biswajit Ghosh with Bibek, Sreetama, Sumanta Ghosh, Bankim Chatterjee, Mousumi Barua in the cast. Read the Bengali movie review at Calcutta Tube.
Banner: White Horse Pictures
Direction: Prosenjit Ghosh and Biswajit Ghosh
Story: Biswajit Ghosh
Lyrics: Siddhartha Sinha
Cast: Bibek, Sreetama, Sumanta Ghosh, Bankim Chatterjee, Mousumi Barua
[ReviewAZON asin=”B003M5P9GK” display=”inlinepost”]Does Kolkatar Doityo deserve a review? Should this film ever have been made? Or, if made, released for public exhibition? I am writing this review to point out what makes producers shower funding on directors who probably do not know the spelling of ‘direction’ much less the process, the skill, the training and the experience directing demands. Kolkatar Doityo is an insult to cinema. It is a model lesson for aspiring filmmakers to see how a film if made without research, thought, skill, homework and experience, can be an assault on its audience who must suffer torture if it wants to sit through the entire film. It is also a betrayal of the producer who has put in his hard-earned money into the project. It is a dream-shattering experience for the actors, most of who have made their debut with this film. If they ever had a chance to make it in films, this one film would have signed their death warrant.
The directors did not bother to put across some kind of a story to back the film. It is shocking to find an entire team paying scant or no respect to the art, science and craft of filmmaking. If you ask whether a critic knows much about the film-making process, my argument is that a critic can at least judge, from experience and acquired skill, which film should reach the audience and which film should not.
[ReviewAZON asin=”B0044FDPA4″ display=”inlinepost”]The film has been shot on digicam with a hand-held camera and the camera-mike has been used to record the sound which becomes loud or soft or jarring or incomprehensible depending on the closeness of the camera to the characters. Almost every single frame is shot either in big close-up framing a single character and photographing him or her in any which way, or, holding just two or three characters, also in close-up, occasionally. The big close-ups strip the film of any kind of spatial and geographical perspective. The colours go haywire revealing that post-production and colour correction do not fall within the ambit of the Ghosh brothers.
The place could be anywhere in India. Kolkata is recognizable because the title mentions the city by name. The story about a crusader, who fights all social and economic evils to save the poor and the downtrodden, the sick and the dying, has no history of good work. In fact, he is unemployed and one does not know if he is educated at all or not. He has no history to speak of. The ‘giant’s disguise he wears is worse than the disguise worn by the extra-terrestrial in Satabdi Roy’s Friends. In terms of acting, the director has asked his main cast to keep just one expression on his or her face. So Bablu is forever glaring into the camera with his unkempt long hair sans make-up wile Ronny, the villain, makes terrible faces in big close-up and Tumpa, the giant (doitya)’s lady love, wears a perennial expression that is somewhere in the middle of a coy smile and a drool. The artists are not given any make-up and probably brought their own costumes from home.
The camera is on a merry dance right through the film, shaking the images that come across. The film has been shot on actual locations in some bastis of the city with a ladder impeding vision for no reason, at the hiding place where Bablu holds Tumpa captive to extort Rs.5 lakh for the villain’s friend’s mother’s operation from her corrupt councillor father! No wonder the names of the cinematographer and the art director are missing from the credits in the p.r. piece. Tumpa falls in love with a doityo whose face she has never seen! Poor young lady has not been given any make-up or dress to give her a screen presence.
Why did I give the film a rating of one on ten? I gave it because of the sheer audacity of the filmmakers to inflict such torture on an invited audience in a small theatre where a section of the viewers had to stand along the aisles to watch the film. Did they? I cannot tell because I walked out of the theatre when the ‘Intervel’ came on for the third time in over 30 years!
Shoma A. Chatterji