Sept 15, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Rang Milanti is a 2011 Bengali movie directed by Koushik Ganguly with Churni Ganguly, Saswata Chatterjee, Gaurav Chatterjee, Gaurav Chakraborty, Riddhima and others in the cast. Read the Bengali film review at Calcutta Tube.
RANG MILANTI – FUN FILM WITH A BIT OF DRAMA
Banner: Deepten Films
Story and Direction: Koushik Ganguly
Music: Rocket Mandal, Neel Dutt, Anupam Roy, Bonnie Chakraborty (Mumbai) and Chandrabindoo (Bangla Band)
Cinematography: Gopi Bhagat
Editor: Mainak Bhowmik
Sound Design: Anup Mukherjee
Décor: Mridul Baidya
Cast: Churni Ganguly, Saswata Chatterjee, Gaurav Chatterjee, Gaurav Chakraborty, Tanaji Dasgupta, Indrasheesh Ray and Riddhima
Date of release: September 9 2011
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[ReviewAZON asin=”B0051233MY” display=”inlinepost”]Kamalika (Riddhima Ghosh) is a young student of mass communications. She has four very close buddies, all of them boys. DJ (Gaurav Chatterjee) is actually a disc jockey who dedicates his songs to Kamalika. Laden (Tanaji Dasgupta) is a tailor who supplies uniforms to schools, hospitals and security personnel. Tito (Indrashish Ray) is a student of the SRFTI. He looks at the world through the lens of his imaginary camera and aspires to bag the Palm d’ Or some day. Rik (Gaurav Chakraborty) is the best looking of the lot, the most prized one, brilliant, disciplined and coming from a background of affluence. They have been buddies from childhood and go painting the city red. Problems crop as they become adults and find that they have fallen in love with Kamalika. She loves them all and does not know how to choose among them. That is when the fun called Rang Milanti begins.
Puzzled by this sudden crisis in her personal life, Kamalika’s problems are doubled when suddenly, her older sister Kamalini (Churni Ganguly), a famous film star married to Deep (Saswata Chatterjee) leaves her marital home in a huff because she is disgusted with the way he accepts his failure to become an actor so complacently. Deep conducts a talk show and listeners’ requests on a FM Channel in a female voice that leads to great amusement and fun. He hides his sadness and goes about his life as if nothing has happened. Kamalini in the meantime, has found a new love interest in Prakash, a snobbish film director (Riingo). All this drives Kamalika to a psychiatrist Deep strongly recommends who might be able to solve her problem.
The eccentric psychiatrist Anupam Ghatak with an Einstein hair-do, black-framed glasses and buck teeth is delighted to discover a sharp and intelligent girl. His clinic is in a dilapidated, seedy-looking old mansion in Kolkata with a balcony running right around the courtyard. He has a pretty secretary (Rachita) who is sometimes exasperated with his way of dealing with his patients. He bounces fruits laid out on a strange table. There is no couch, only a blackboard where he keeps writing gibberish on. Kamalika is a bit scared to begin with but warms up over time. He sets out the rules of the game, to be played in installments and pegs each of the ten segments to some famous film. This is a beautiful strategy Ganguly adopts as his way of paying tribute to great films, both mainstream and off-mainstream such as Amanush, Asukh, Father, Kapurush-Mahapurush and so on. The names of the films flash after each segment is explained in the form of a somewhat caricaturized poster of the film. “How responsible a father will he be?” for example is followed by a poster of the film Father, and so on.
The most hilarious element of the psychiatrist-patient relationship is that the entire audience can see through the man’s transparent disguise but Kamalika cannot because she is too busy with her problem. These parts create much more comedy than the rest of the film does. There is nothing loud, cheap, crude or vulgar about these episodes. They are interspersed with situations Kamalika either falls in accidentally or by design to test the boyfriend who happens to be present at the given time and place. In this sense, the story revolves more around the psychiatrist and his sessions with his favourite patient than with the girl and her four boyfriends.
Mridul Baidya’s décor (art direction?) is incredibly beautiful especially in its reconstruction or discovery of the Mullick Bazar bylane where Laden lives, the mansion where Anupam Ghatak sets up his clinic and the beautiful ancestral mansion of the two sisters where their nonegarian grandparents still live. The interiors are not big deal. Gopi Baidya’s camera captures the streets of Kolkata realistically without trying to bring in technical gizmos the film does not need. The scenes shot on top of a Kolkata skyscraper in the evening where the four boys meet overlooking the lights shimmering through the buildings beyond weave their own story. The camera captures the spirit of Kolkata at its multi-layered best specially in the scenes where the cabbie gets into a fight with the owner of another car and Kamalika begins her game. The two hard kissing scenes between Kamalika and Rik are captured with a frankness and intimacy rarely seen in Bengali cinema. But Kamalika spoils it the first time round when she pretends she has never been kissed before and had romantic fantasies about her first kiss! Come on Kaushik, how can an intelligent story-writer like you be so naïve?
Mainak Bhowmick had to juggle around a great deal with the different segments of the story peopled with too many characters almost springing out of the woodwork but thankfully, he controls the clips and the snips very well supported by the lack of flashbacks that might have queered his pitch. However, he could have persuaded Kaushik to call ‘CUT’ at least 30 minutes before ‘THE END’ flashed on screen.
Saswata Chatterjee runs away with the trophy for the best performance in a three-tiered role –Deep the house-husband who has no qualms about being a failure as an actor though his wife is successful; Anupam Ghatak, the eccentric psychiatrist who runs a clinc that reflects his eccentricity; the man who runs talk shows and request programmes on the FM channel in a female voice! He is one of the most under-rated actors in Bengali cinema and this film underscores this. Churni is very good as the somewhat self-conscious, emotionally confused and good-hearted Kamalini. Riingo is wonderful as the snobbish but basically good-natured Prakash. Among the four boys, Tanaji Sengupta is outstanding as the only boy among the four whose past is explored well and whose depth of character comes across very well indeed. The other three get pretty short shrift but within that, Indrashish Ray portrays his obsession with films very well. Gaurav Chatterjee and Gaurav Chakraborty remain shallow without a little probing into their back stories. The former is Uttam Kumar’s grandson while the latter is Sabyasachi Chakraborty’s son.
The swayamvara of Draupadi from the Mahabharata appears in a completely new avatar in Rang Milanti. Rang Milanti is actually a fictitious game invented and devised by the script. It comprises of ‘matching’ and ‘ticking’ the right ‘colour’ of a pretty girl’s would-be life partner from ten different ‘tests’ each with equal degree of difficulty There are four contenders to her hand. Unlike mythology’s Draupadi who really liked only Arjuna who won the difficult test to win her hand, Kamalika loves all four of them. It is tough which also means a lot of fun in a patriarchal world where the girl is asked to choose from four possible grooms in a modern, upbeat version of the swayamvara.
This leads to a lot of fun punched with one marital dilemma and one sob story in two interesting and not so interesting sub-plots. The not-so-interesting sub-plot about the Italian girl from Goa chased by the police for her drug-pushing and deserted by a married boyfriend in a Kolkata nursing home is both cliché-ridden and absurd. But Kaushik cleverly links it to the main story and rounds it up smoothly. The good-natured but snobbish Prakash is ditched rather unceremoniously and without a by-your-leave by Kamalini who, having seen through her husband’s way of coping with failures in his own way, decides to go back to him.
The feminist bit, if it is there at all, is undercut by the fact that this game has been devised by a man and the ten tests, each one pegged to a famous Bengali film, have no valid base. If A scores over the rest in the first part, he is a lowest scorer in the second one and B has overtaken him to take the lead. Besides, each test includes a great deal of anticipation by the girl about how the others will respond to the test when she is applying it to one of them. Such ‘anticipations’ do not and cannot form the foundation of any test anywhere in the world where scoring is based on abstract and projected values, not concrete figures. But they hit the intended target – entertaining the audience by stretching logic and reason to as far as they will go. Good work Kaushik. It would have been even better if you had put the full-stop a bit earlier than you did.
– Shoma A. Chatterji