There is a new genre in Bangla music called ‘Jibonmukhi Gaan’. Jibonmukhi gaan means ‘songs about life’. Suman Chattapaddhay(now Kabir Suman) first started this type of music by writing songs about everyday life and ordinary people. Eventually Nachiketa , Anjan Dutta, Shilajit and many others followed.Anjan Dutt in his latest film’Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbo Na’ has tried to put forward this message which states that Suman started the trend and the rest followed only that Suman is called ‘Stanley Bose’ and Anjan ‘Abani Sen’ and it is about a whole lot of other things as well other than both of them.
‘Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbo Na’ is about a very successful aging popstar who has become an alcoholic as he considers himself responsible for the death of is wife in an accident. He is also a complete debauch as he sleeps around with young promising female singers on the pretext of promising them recordings with him and then dumps them once he has used them .He has his man Friday Elvis who stand by him at all times. He has 3 of his band members Rano, MI and Hiltu who are also his drinking partners and also his very close friends. Enter Ranjana, a very promising singer whom he comes across at a show at Siligiri.He tries the same trick with her and she also lands up at his place, but he doesn’t get to proceed further as she is different. He also sees potential in her. She decides to stand by him when he falls sick as she believes that they both have something to give to each other.Abani also gives tune to Ranjana’s compositions and gives them a new life. His friend also become very close to Ranjana.Abani has two things to contend with, one his inner demons –feelings which he expresses to Stanley, his mentor and his brother-in-law and his closeness to Ranjana not in other terms but because he sees her as her protégé .He even helps to get her first C.D(based on a single song) released(which is not an initial success, but later becomes a phenomenon once she is interviewed on a channel and it starts playing all over town)and even her first gig at a renowned pub is a complete flop. The tragic part-On the day of Ranjana’s first big show where Abani’s friends accompany her as part of her band, Abani has a seizure and passes away.
‘Ranjana’… is a film which is a tribute to the era which produced musicians like Anjan, Suman, Nachiketa and told us about life and were philosophical in nature. That is also reflected in the film in a big way.Anjan and all his musician friends in the film(Nandan Bagchi,Lew Hilt and Amyt Dutta, all very established musicians of Kolkata) as well as Kabir Suman are very good primarily because their roles are a cakewalk for them as they seem to be playing themselves and seem to be enacting a part of their lives.(it doesn’t mean that Anjan was like that in real life though(the philandering part!).Anjan looks, behaves and acts like the aging popstar Abani Sen. His entire body language is so good and he has even dyed his hair blond for this film. The find of this film is small TV actress Parno Mittra(shot to fame with ‘Bou Katha Kao’.As Ranjana, the naive, innocent small towner who takes to Abani in spite of his philandering ways because she thinks in spite of everything he rocks, She is excellent. She looks very convincing in her role and has put in tons of hard work. Watch out for the part where she encounters Abani at his birthday party.Brilliant! The film is very high on it’s performances and acting .Lew Hilt or ‘Hiltu ‘is delightful as is Nandan Bagchi in the scene where he along with his band members go to rescue Ranjana from a hotel and he claims to be from the N.Y.P.D, Hiltu from Lalbazar and Abani from I.S.I.Simply hilarious and one of the best moments of the film!
The film captures images of Kolkata including which are very close to us, including the lakes, Park Street(Yup!included the mecca of music in town, Someplace Else and a song has even been shot there), Tiretti Bazar in the morning during breakfast time, the Howrah Bridge and the Ganges all of which makes it interesting viewing and draws up a picture of Kolkata which is very close to us.The film has several tracks , most of them old hits of Anjan including ‘Ranjana’,’Brishti’,’Tumi Aashbay Bolay Tai’ all of which have been presented in a ‘little’ new way and sound good.’Jagorone Jai Bibhabari’,a Rabindrasangeet has been presented in a slightly modern version with drums and guitars included and sound very nice. Other than Parno, the other find of the film is playback singer Somlata who makes her debut as a playback singer with this film. Whether Tumi Aashbay, Jagorone or any of other songs, she has a good clear voice, has a range and has been able to express herself freely with her songs which makes it very good listening material.Kabir Suman also gets to sing his famous 'O Gaanwala' in the film.
The film is a gem for all who are fans of Anjan and co or are familiar with his songs and can associate themselves with the mood and feel of the film! It rocks!