The colour and culture of Bengalis was also beautifully depicted in films like Parineeta and Devdas. Most recently, the famous Howrah Bridge, the trams, language, dress, mannerisms and the British influence on the Bengali culture played indispensable roles in Barfi!.
With recent films, either based in Bengal or on Bengali culture, having met with praise at the BO and the critics’ court, is the Bong-connect the new secret hit formula?Director Anurag Basu thinks so. “West Bengal can be a lucky charm at times. In the last one year, there have been directors who have really explored Kolkata and areas like Darjeeling. People are opening up to the culture like the way they did to the Punjabi culture a few years back,” he says. But this is not the first time that films based on Kolkata or the Bengali culture have worked. As actor Prosenjit Chatterjee rightly points out, “There was a time when Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee and Shakti Samanta were masters of the game. Now, these boys are all set to carry their legacy forward.”
Bollywood is going through a very interesting phase, he feels. And so is the regional cinema, adds Parambrata Chatterjee of Kahaani fame. He explains, “Earlier, there were only two kinds of cinema in Bengal — art films and commercial films. But now there is something called mid-length cinema which has found a lot of national and international takers. I guess it is this genre which has paved the way for further discovery of the Bengali culture.”
Ask director Shoojit Sircar if Bengal is becoming the lucky charm for B-Town filmmakers and he says he would rather label it as a ‘paradise for framing’. “You don’t need to frame in Kolkata,” he says, adding, “You can just put your camera on the shooting mode and become a cameraman without even deciding on the frames.” This factor seems to work well in the films.
Filmmaker Shujoy Ghosh maintains that a script will always hold the lucky charm post, but he also says, “There are so many other locations which we need to explore. But, at the same time, I have to agree that Kolkata and West Bengal come with an added advantage of having a set of world class film technicians.”
Actress Bipasha Basu feels that there is a lot of talent in Bengal. “Bengalis are deeply rooted when it comes to cinema. The culture, attire and food are equally fascinating. Sujoy aptly brought out the interesting visuals which Bengal boasts of in his film.” Well, it’s to be seen if other filmmakers too carry this trend forward.
(Report: The Times of India)