What to expect in Shukno Lanka

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By Five reasons why this mithun-starrer is worth a watch
  • Published 3.07.10

Starring: Mithun Chakraborty, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Debasree Roy, Angona Basu, Emma Brown Garrett

Directed by: Gaurav Pandey

1) The story. Shukno Lanka is about the tinsel town, not on its star inhabitants. For the protagonist, Pandey has picked an unlikely candidate — a junior artiste who watches all the action from the sidelines, swallowing his pride and stifling his wishes.

Gleaned from real-life characters and situations, Shukno Lanka shows vignettes of a world that is compassionate and caustic, humorous and dark, moving and cruel. So, you’ve the reigning star (Kunal Mitra) elbowing out junior artiste Chinu Nandi (Mithun) from a minor role because he feels threatened by Chinu’s acting skills; a critically acclaimed director (Sabyasachi) completely absorbed in his cinema while his frustrated wife (Debasree) is on the verge of a breakdown; Chinu haggling with the production in-charge to hike his daily pay by a mere Rs 100...

2) Mithun Chakraborty. Gone is the Fatakesto swagger, the hardened jowls and the glowering look. Here’s a self-effacing man in his fifties with very kind eyes and a goodness of character that makes you like him instantly. This Mithun is the common man you see on the streets, brows knitted in worry or head hung in dejection. This Mithun blends into the crowd like one of them.

3) The supporting cast. As the aloof but always-in-control art filmmaker, Sabyasachi is as believable as Debasree, his attention-seeking wife. Angona Basu, Chinu’s middle-class wife, is a discovery. The late Kunal Mitra’s portrayal of a cocky filmstar is funny yet realistic, so is Shaheb as an upcoming star. Australian model Emma shows great ease in front of the camera as an actress-turned-producer.

4) The camerawork. Mahesh Aney, the National Award-winning cinematographer of Swades, has worked his magic again. Aney’s camera paints a different picture of the Calcutta skyline. The Howrah bridge, the trams and the busy streets look beautiful yet mundane.

5) The music. With two remixes — Sundari Kamala and Sing nei tobu — and the Asha jaowa track, composer Debojyoti Mishra has created quite an eclectic sound.

The glitch: The scenes involving Joy Sundar (Sabyasachi) and Isabella (Emma) with the Berlin film festival in the backdrop look noticeably fake. After accepting an award in Berlin, Joy Sundar and Isabella stroll in a lawn which is supposedly Berlin but very clearly Calcutta!

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