I might be a very weak authority on judging Bengali movies provided that I was brought up everywhere except Bengal. However, the hectic 10 days spent in Calcutta almost every year since I was born, packed with visits to enumerable didas, masis and mamas; somewhere implanted the seed of Bengali films in me.
I remember sitting through long Bengali movies that weren’t up to my taste, with emotional background and stories full of turmoil when I was merely 5. I still don’t know what made me do that? Is it the fact that I wanted to be near to my dida(‘Nani’) who was so deeply engrossed in the movies while making my ‘biruni’ (braided plait) or just the pure language which I was devoid of throughout the year.
I started watching Bengali movies while in college. That too suddenly, which my friends thought was pretty strange since they knew none of my immediate family members spoke that much of Bengali and neither watched Bengali movies. I started watching Bengali movies, enjoyed it and how.
So just a few hours back I saw Praktan. This has been yet another success story in the series of my ‘bangla boi’(movies) watch list. The script has been beautifully written and directed in the form of a train journey. Something I have always marveled but have failed to articulate in words about these Bengali movies is the way they perceive human characters and emotions.
They address the grey area which has always been hidden behind the extremities – either black or white. I love the way most of these scripts take into account each aspect of human behavior. For example, in the movie ‘Praktan’, there is a major part of the relationship between a divorced couple who have remarried since and are meeting after 10 years.
You can say I am being too judgmental about this but pardon me, if this had been any Bollywood mainstream commercial film the whole story would have been very different. Filled with either hatred or some twisted tale of unfulfilled passion, the intricacies of human interaction would have been thoroughly trampled beneath the quest to make it dramatic and pleasing to the majority.
I am not saying Bengali films are the best, No not at all. I have seen amazing Hindi movies like ‘Dhobi ghat’, which captured the multiple shades of human character easily in the frame. However most of us still fail to understand how grey our daily relationships are. Most of us fail to recognize the reality. Nothing is white and black. Nothing is easy to distinguish and nothing is ideal. It is our choices which make a difference.