Bengali Cinema has apparently started changing since 2000. But the question is, is it really changing or it′s only the old wine served in a new bottle?
Let us examine this with a few post 2000 new generation Bengali Films. The films under consideration are “Aamra”, “Anuranan”, “Bong Connection”, “Tollywood Focus”, “Eti”, “Chalo Let′s Go”. These six films have become the topic of discussion amongst the new generation Bengali audience.
Anuranan, Chalo Let′s Go,Bong Connection
Out of those six films three films are digitally produced. Out of those three, two are “Aamra” and “Eti”. Both the films deal with the young generation. Technically the two films are so poor that it is very difficult to sit through the entire film. Firstly, the filmmakers never thought about end product while they decided to make digital movies. Only they thought about the low production cost. Each film had a probable budget of maximum Rs. 10 - 20lacs. They never consider about the camera they used for the shooting. They were not at all sure whether the product has that minimum acceptable quality, so that audience will be able to see the movie in a regular theatre. The product which is suitable for television viewing is being shown in large theatre screens through a digital projector. The result: there is no color, no brightness, no good quality sound and nothing. It seems without knowing the technology of digital movies, the makers got involved in these ventures. The lesson learnt is no more digital movies for normal cinema halls. Buts the technology is there. Old makers did not bother to learn the technology.
The story line of “Aamra” and “Eti” are quite interesting. But the treatment is of the television. It never becomes a cinema at all. If these films were made with little bit of seriousness and knowledge of digital film making, these two films might have had a chance of being considered as path breaking films.
The 3rd digital film released during this period is ‘Tollywood Focus’. The technical quality of this film is also as poor as the other two digital movies. The reason is the same - not knowing the new technologies of film making. But, whereas, the earlier two films had something in the content, this film is void of any intelligent content. The film deals with the clichéd knowledge about a film industry. The film director never bothers to find anything new about a film industry. His story based on age-old concept of casting-couch, sex starved non-Bengali producer, devoid of English knowledge among heroines, simpleton new comers and names-dropping intellectual directors. So there is nothing new either in the story line or in the treatment.
This is one side of the new Bengali cinema, where new directors are venturing for new technology. On the other side there is big budget corporate styled Bengali film, ‘Anuranan’ is the example. Can anybody beat the USP of these new generation film? The USP was “First time a Bengali film shot in London”!! A cliched story, mainly a lift from a Hollywood old film “Falling In Love”, is the backbone of this film. And idiotic storyline, a non-sense philosophy, junta posed with very poor screenplay is all about “Anuranan”. Media hype tried to boost the sales of this film, but ultimately it failed. Middle class Bengali filmgoers primarily thought this multiplex released film as a sort of intelligent film. But after viewing they found there is no sign of intelligence at all.
So “Anuranan” though the most discussed - about film had nothing to deliver to the genre of new generation Bengali film. Whereas new generation filmmakers are making “Page 3”, “Traffic Signal”, “Bheja Fry”, “Laage Raho Munna Bhai”, “Mithya”, “Khosla Ka Ghosla”, “Life In A Metro…” in national arena, the new generation of Bengali filmmakers are still thinking about age old hackneyed love story. Next-gen Bengali film makers are not applying their brains like the national level counterpart.
But there is a change. This change is brought in the Bengali film area by director Anjan Dutt. His thoughts are old but the treatments are very very new. His “Bong Connection” is also widely discussed about film like “Anuranan” but “Bong Connection” is a far better film then “Anuranan” is. It′s about two Bengali youths who accidentally falls in two different cultures alien two them. How they tackle the situation is the crux of the story line. The director has tried his best to make the film more contemporary and to some extent he is successful. The criss-cross treatment of the two sides of the story is unique. The most unique part of the story is both the protagonist has no connection with each other, but seems that they both have an invisible connection - The Bong Connection.
Anjan′s other film “Chalo Let′s Go” is a story of four modern Bengali youths. They have started a travel business. The story involves a journey into the mountain. Interestingly the director has named his four friends in the names of Satyajit Ray′s four friends of “Aranyer Dinratri”, though there is no connection with Ray′s master piece. The use of old Bengali songs, peppy romantic songs and hardcore rock music attempt to capture the restless psyche of the young generation.
In both the films there is freshness of ideas and concept which give the film a definite height. So the changing faces of new Bengali Cinema have both sides - good and bad. And it′s not all old wine in a new bottle.