Wednesday 5 October 2011

Chowringhee [1968]

Chowringhee is the name of one of the most important and iconic thoroughfares in the city of Calcutta. The movie, which was an adaptation of Bengali writer Shankar’s renowned novel of the same name, had this road as the backdrop for its storyline; more accurately, it was based in a luxurious hotel called Hotel Shahjahan – an obvious reference to the famous Grand Hotel located there. The chronicle of life, camaraderie, love and loss is told by Shankar (Subhendu Chatterjee), the film’s simple-natured protaginist. The ensemble cast comprised of such colourful characters as Satyasundar Bose aka Sata, the hotel’s gregarious and charming receptionist (played with élan by the then-reigning superstar Uttam Kumar), Karabi Guha, a lonely misunderstood housekeeper (Supriya Choudhury), Anindya Pakrashi, the buoyant son of a wealthy businessman (Biswajit Chatterjee), Marco Polo, the hotel’s alcoholic manager (Utpal Dutt), among others. Despite the inherent strength in the script and depth in the characters that the novel gifted the maker with, the final outcome didn’t amount to much. The movie does have its moments, but on the whole it suffered from lackadaisical execution. It seemed more like a series of patchworks than a satisfying whole, perhaps on account of sub-par direction and poor editing. The gargantuan talent of Utpal Dutt too was largely wasted. The decent cinematography and the charismatic presence of Uttam Kumar were the factors that made it reasonably watchable.

Director: Pinaki Mukherjee
Genre: Drama/Urban Drama/Romantic Drama/Ensemble Film
Language: Bengali
Country: India

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