Monday, 19 January 2009

Chalchitra (The Kaleidoscope) [1981]


Auteur extraordinaire and angry man of Bengali cinema, Mrinal Sen has always been daringly provocative in the potshots that he loves taking at the petite bourgeoisie. However, even by his exalted standards, the incisive and pointed observations in Chalchitra are truly extraordinary, and in a way quite akin to his Interview. Made in a template that has a strong Godard-ian feel about it in terms of its irreverent style and an almost absurdist sense of black humour, the movie crackles with incredible wit, dare and energy. Anjan Dutt, long before he became a wonderful songwriter and a filmmaker, acted in a few of Sen’s movies. Here he has played the role of a young, cynical and glibly apolitical guy, who is asked by a newspaper owner (Utpal Dutt in a cameo) to write an intimate though sellable article on the ‘middle class milieu’ within two days to prove his prowess as a writer. Searching for a spark at every corner and event, a simple question asked by his brother as to how many coal burners are there in Calcutta acts as the catalyst he was frantically looking for. And then a Fellini-esque dream about repressed and deeply subconscious anger at the bourgeoisie acts as the clincher. The movie isn’t just an example of bravura filmmaking, it is also a brilliant commentary on social structure and urban life. Finely acted and aided by a terrific script and an observant camera, Chalchitra is a must watch, and not just for Sen aficionados.








Director: Mrinal Sen
Genre: Drama/Social Satire/Avant-Garde
Language: Bengali
Country: India

7 comments:

theseventhart.info said...

Wow, sounds fascinating. Availability outside the state?

Shubhajit said...

No idea bro. It would really be disappointing if even master filmmakers are not accessible nationally. Come down to Calcutta sometime, I assure you that I'll show you the places where you can get hold of these movies.

Adrenaline and all that Jazzz said...

I deemed that information to be classified!

Shubhajit said...

Well, in this world, nothing really remains classified forever ;)

Adrenaline and all that Jazzz said...

Next up 'Bhuvan Shome' right?

supriasuri said...

Its true how our indian cinema lacks in distribution where we cant find movies outside the popular cinema. However I have in delhi pretty much manages to come across the Dvds of bengal cinema. Among which Mrinal Sen and Budhadeb dasgupta rmeain my favorite

Shubhajit said...

@Adrenaline - no idea buddy, lets see :)

@Supria - You're absolutely right. And this is for the simple reason that most people in India fail to look beyond the commercial angle or mass appeal of movies. Very few care to appreciate that cinema is a form of art, and a great one at that.