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DVD/VCD reviews

Goutam Ghose’s National Award winning film of 2001, Dekha (Angel; DVD Rs 299) deals with blindness, not just physical but metaphorical too. The main protagonist, an aged Soumitra Chatterjee, is blind for 17 years and his life revolves around those years when he had vision. He is still trying to cope with his state of blindness. He used to be a good poet but he writes no more. He clutches on to his past and keeps remembering his estranged wife, Roopa Ganguly, the prostitute he had brought home, the song his mother sang.... Indrani Halder, a dynamic girl who runs a poetry magazine gets in touch with him and slowly inspires him to get back to his art. The film has many layers and moves away from a single focus. There’s Debashree Roy with her 10-year-old son living in Soumitra’s house after leaving her husband Anjan Dutta, later a blind orphan Kamal Kanjilal comes into her life. Ghose has co-written the story and the dialogues with Sunil Gangopadhyay and projects his film as the ‘cinema of ideas’. Ghose deliberately doesn’t want to tell a story here and has created moments and intensified them making this film an experience worth living.

Krantikaal (Chacha Video; VCD, Rs 249) is Sekhar Das’ second feature film after the much-acclaimed debut, Mohulbonir Sereng. Here he puts terrorism that’s plaguing different parts of the Northeast as the backdrop. Shilajit Majumdar, a militant on the run, takes refuge in a dilapidated mansion. Roopa Ganguly stays there with her father-in-law Soumitra Chatterjee and his father Haradhan Banerjee who’s confined to bed and is unable to speak. This film focuses on the friction and undercurrent of tension between the lady of the house and the terrorist. It leads to a brief mutual self-discovery that gives rise to compassion. The performances of Soumitra Chatterjee and Roopa Ganguly are worth mentioning. Haradhan Banerjee’s is an award-winning role; the oldest among the winners, at 92 he won the best supporting actor award (57th National Film Award) for Krantikaal. Bagging a host of awards including the National Award for Best Bengali Film 2004 this film is based on a story by Prafulla Roy. It brings to the fore some questions on nationalism and identity.

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