Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Nayak (The Hero) 
In Nayak Ray, in an inspired casting decision, worked with the reigning superstar of Bengali cinema Uttam Kumar for the 1st time, and the result befitted the stellar collaboration. This intense and gripping road movie provided a revelatory behind-the-scenes peek at a movie star with all the baggage that comes with stardom – guilt, insecurity, loneliness, false braggadocio, heart-breaks, ego, inner turmoil – but needs to remain cloaked under the fragile veneer of smug confidence. The narrative follows the journey of Arindam Mukherjee (Kumar), a superstar of the silver screen, who’s aboard a train from Calcutta to Delhi to receive a national award He plans to spend the time with himself, but his acquaintance with co-traveller Aditi (Sharmila Tagore), a beautiful and independent-minded journalist, acts as a disruptive element in his journey. Despite not being an admirer of the star or formulaic cinema, she coaxes him for an interview; their interactions gradually take him out of his cocoon and comfort zone as he introspects, re-lives the memories haunting him and reveals details from his life hitherto unknown to the public – his transition from theatre to cinema against the wishes of his mentor, his trysts with a volatile former star during and post his days of fame, his changing friendship with a Leftist friend, the constant fear of failure, certain scandal-worthy episodes, etc. Meanwhile other secondary characters added dimensions to the slice of life portrayed herein. Kumar, who knew a thing about superstardom, gave a tour de force and multi-faceted turn as the complex protagonist, while Tagore was also good as the enigmatic lady who starts empathizing with the man behind the mask, in this compelling and brilliantly cinematographed scoop.
Note: My earlier review of Nayak can be found here.
Director: Satyajit Ray
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Road Movie/Showbiz Drama/Ensemble Film