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DVD/VCD reviews

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 28.04.06

Revisiting Classics (Shemaroo; DVD Rs 199) is a collection of 20 songs from three classic films, Mughal-E-Azam, Pakeezah and Nikaah. This 89-minute DVD features all the Mughal-e-Azam songs in colour. We saw the Azam’s coloured version after decades, then the DVD of the coloured version film. Now, it has created history again by being premiered in Pakistan, breaking 40-year ice. The two bonus films add up to push the adrenaline.

Chokh (Angel; VCD Rs 299) is a story set during Emergency, December 1975. The story, script and direction is by Utpalendu Chakraborty. It’s about a labour union leader, Om Puri, who has been given capital punishment. Before death he voices his wish that his eyes should be donated to a blind worker. But as soon as the news of his donation becomes known, the powerful jute mill owner starts using his clout to get both the eyes for his blind son. The doctor, Anil Chatterjee, probes to find the truth and if the papers provided by the jute mill owner have been doctored. The workers along with the dead leader’s widow brings out a protest rally against this injustice ensuing a renewed struggle. Symbolically, the fight goes on.

Ek Mutho Chhobi (Shradha; VCD Rs 199, DVD Rs 299) is a unique venture in Bengali cinema, quite on the lines of RGV’s experimental Darna Mana Hai and the forthcoming Darna Zaroori Hai. Here too are six stories, six directors, one film as says the tagline. Each of the six stories highlights some basic human emotion such as lust, greed,obsession, pride and jealousy. Argyakamal Mitra’s Janmodin, Partha Sen’s Pakshiraj, Indranil Roychowdhury’s Tapan Babu, Prabhat Roy’s Ragun Babur Galpo, Anjan Dutta’s Tarpor Bhalobasha and Kaushik Ganguly’s Progress Report make up the package of six.

Byomkesh Bakshi is as popular a detective as Satyajit Ray’s Feluda in Bengali fiction. In Chiriakhana (Angel; VCD Rs 299, DVD 399), Ray films a murder mystery based on Saradindu Bandopadhyay’s Satyaneshi Byomkesh. This is a gripping tale that involves a long-forgotten actress who had shot to fame with a film and a song sung in her own voice. After she became the prime suspect in a murder case she went into hiding and was never heard of thereafter. A retired judge suspecting her presence in his colony appoints Byomkesh. Soon some more dead bodies and scandals come tumbling out of the closet. Ray saw Byomkesh Bakshi in none other than Uttam Kumar and quite rightly so. Uttam Kumar is excellent in the character of Byomkesh onscreen, witty yet unassuming, very sharp, a master of disguise, and with an uncanny power of sensing the truth.