Pa Ma Ga Re Sa (2009) Bengali Movie Review

Pa Ma Ga Re Sa is a 2009 Bengali Film directed by Surajit Dhar starring Rohit Roy, Reshmi Ghosh, Bikram Ghosh, Gauri Karnik, Tanushree Shankar, Biswajit Chakraborty, Saswata Chatterjee and more.

Pa Ma Ga Re Sa (2009) Bengali Movie Review
Pa Ma Ga Re Sa is a 2009 Bengali Film directed by Surajit Dhar starring Rohit Roy, Reshmi Ghosh, Bikram Ghosh, Gauri Karnik, Tanushree Shankar, Biswajit Chakraborty, Saswata Chatterjee and more.

Pa Ma Ga Re Sa 2009 Bengali Movie Review
Pa Ma Ga Re Sa 2009 Bengali Movie Review

Pa Ma Ga Re Sa instantly reminds you about the popular reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa where singers compete for the best scores. Surajit Dhar tries to capture the reality of the popular band and pop culture with his charecters portrayed by Rohit Roy, Reshmi Ghosh and Gauri Karnik.

  • Released on :     11 December 2009
  • Language/Type :     Bengali /U
  • Casting :     Rohit Roy, Reshmi Ghosh, Bikram Ghosh, Gauri Karnik, Tanushree Shankar, Biswajit Chakraborty, Saswata Chatterjee.
  • Directed by :     Surajit dhar
  • Music Director :     Rajesh Roy
  • Lyrics     : Goutam Sushmit
  • Producer :     Bunch of Buddies Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.

By: Shoma A. Chatterji

  • Banner: Bunch of Buddies Entertainment Pvt.Ltd.
  • Story and direction: Surajit Dhar
  • Music director: Rajesh Roy
  • Cinematography: Mrinmoy Nandi
  • Cast: Rohit Roy, Reshmi Ghosh, Gouri Karnik, Biswajit Chakraborty, Tanusree Shankar, Saswata Chatterjee, Barun Chanda, Rupam Chakraborty and others.
  • Date of release: December 11, 2009
  • Rating: 4/10

Bunch of Buddies has been formed by six famous television and screen personalities of Mumbai cinema, aimed at providing wholesome entertainment to the Bengali audience. With the sophisticated technical infra-structure of Bollywood and the glamour of its small-screen celebrities, the horizons of Bengali cinema would widen and transcend the narrowness that dogs regionality within cinema. Pa Ma Ga Re Sa is Bunch of Buddies’ maiden venture into this unchartered area. The concept is not new. Shakti Samanta tried it out before with double-version films like Amanush and Anand Ashram.

Pa Ma Ga Re Sa Bengali Cinema
Pa Ma Ga Re Sa Bengali Cinema

Problems arise with Pa Ma Ga Re Sa because of its wobbly script and a storyline that weaves in too many angles to what was designed exclusively to be a musical romance. The film opens with a television interview conducted between a wooden-faced interviewer and Bickram Ghosh, the famous percussionist. He is narrating the story of a once-famous idol of Bengali pop/Rock/what-have-you to the viewers. The camera cuts back to the past. The interview cuts in once in the middle and then again in the end as a framing device or a structural support. The time span of the story being retold is 30 years!

Samrat Sen (Rohit Roy) is a renowned singer of Bengali pop songs; he is particular about singing his own lyrics and compositions and therefore, the biggest music company keeps away from him. Once, after a hit performance in Shillong, he gets drawn to a beautiful voice somewhere. He follows the musical trail to discover a beautiful young girl Paromita (Reshmi Ghosh) teaching music to a bunch of students of the local convent. He falls in love and persuades her to come back to Kolkata because with such musical talent, she should not stay on in the hills. Paromita’s mother Pragya Devi (Tanushree Shankar) warns her against taking such a momentous decision but she goes with Samrat. Her first musical composition for a song is beautiful. But she insists that someone else will have to sing it.

Bangla Chobi Pa Ma Ga Re Sa One
Bangla Chobi Pa Ma Ga Re Sa One

Rai Acharya (Gouri Karnik), daughter of Hindustani classical music scholar Pandit Surya Shekhar Sen (Barun Chanda), flies to Kolkata to get the ‘feel’ of her roots. She readily lends her voice to Paromita’s composition while Paromita has to rush off to Pune for a six-week musical workshop. The duet hits the top of the charts and breaks all records, turning Rai into an overnight musical star. But Paromita is very unhappy to find that her composition has been tampered with by the two, adulterated with fast numbers. She cannot accept this corruption of pure music and goes back to Shillong, heart-broken. She gives up her music for good. Samrat is heart-broken too and though his musical career is on the upswing, his emotional life is in tatters. Rai falls in love with him but he rebuffs her. How this love-triangle-jigsaw-puzzle peppered with generous doses of music is finally put together with all strings tied to make a happy ending forms the rest of this film.

The biggest flaw of Pa Ma Ga Re Sa is that the story lacks focus. Is it a film that defines a debate between the purity of classical music and the ‘impurity’ of diluting it with other hybrid forms of Western music? Or, is it a film about the purity of love that reaches beyond worldly ambitions of affluence, award and fame? Or, rather, is it a thinly veiled dig at our own famous sitar maestro who decided to live and work abroad, and has a couple of daughters, also musicians, born of two different women? If it is a film that intended to make music its backbone, then it merely scratches the surface of the music world. Apart from several songs peppering the cinematic narrative amidst the scenic hillscape of Shillong, it fails to go deeper. Only two songs will remain memorable – one is the title song and the other is the nostalgia song Paromita sings at the final concert with both her parents as audience. Kalyan Sen Barat’s background score is very good  Though four main characters are seriously into music, there is no attempt to go deeper into the politics, the skullduggery, the high-end life, the drugs, the crazy fans, the Grammy or other awards at all. Even an essential thing like riyaaz is missing.

Technically, the film has good production values – the lavish mounting, the brilliant cinematography, the imaginatively designed costumes and the fitting production design. The same goes for the acting, the honours divided evenly among most of the cast – Rohit Roy, Reshmi Ghosh, Saswata Chatterjee, Rupam Chakraborty and Biswajit Chakraborty. Gouri Karnik is excellent with the subtle nuances of the character she brings out so effortlessly. But there is a catch. Most of the actors’s dialogues have been dubbed. It is okay for Gouri Karnik as she is not a Bengali but what about the others? Shouldn’t Rohit brush up his Bengali before venturing into a Bengali film? It is his mother tongue after all! But the worst quality is the completely anglicized Bengali spoken by Barun Chanda and Tanushree Shankar who live and work in Kolkata and act in Bengali films here. With their musical background (within the film) their diction should have been authentic Bengali. The other actors who speak their own lines stand out in their spontaneity. Examples are – Saswata Chatterjee as Rangan, Samrat’s secretary-friend-photographer, Rupam has his wife and Biswajit Chakraborty as the owner of the biggest music company.

A gaffe in the time logic – when the television interview ends, the time-slog shows 30 years. Rai is teaching Hindustani classical music in NY to American students. The only sign of age are a pair of glasses and a few strands of white in her hair. Cut to Shillong where Paromita has spread out a picnic basket and Samrat walks down to her with his son in tow. The son is hardly eight or nine! For a once-famous pop singer, would couch potatoes really be interested in his love story 30 years hence?

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