Hyderabad Bengali Film Fest –  Two movie Reviews

This post comes quite a bit late. Every year, Hyderabad witnesses Bengali Film Fest thanks to the very active Bengalis in Hyderabad community. They curate a good number of award winning and popular movies that satiate our eyes that do not have the pleasure of  watching Bengali films gbat often in this city. This year, my wife and I viewed Tope and Bibaho Diaries as part of this film festival. Here are my reviews of those movies.


There are many baits. Many trappings. Aren’t our desires a kind of trap? Are not they the idiomatic “carrot at the end of the stick”? There is this woman who dreams to meet her dream man, who could be a demigod rising from the depth of the village pond.  She desires to be that careless lass who once swam the pond with unbridled vivacity. Then, there are these trapiz artist family which survives on their daughters skills and hopes they will find someone to fill her shoes when she is married; afterall, they need financial security when old. Their daughter dreams of a better future where she would have a husband and kids,  and where she will not have to risk her life and tolerate obscene gestures to perform on a rope. The documemtary film maker wants to shoot the adventurous narrative of a tiger hunt. And finally, the king wants to grab on to the bait of older era by hunting the tiger. And beyond all these, there is Goja, who shuns all trappings and mocks every so called necessities and mingles easily with nature. Like all Buddhadeb Dasgupta movie, this one too has oodles of imageries created through images and sounds. Though the movie does not catch a chord all the time with me, and though I have ended the movie a few secs earlier than where it originally ends, I liked the interwoven human lives as they run after their own baits. I liked the perspective how one person’s desires work against him or her when someone else baits him/ her using those. Paoli was excellent in her acting so was the actor in the role of the king.

Bibaho Diaries 

Marital strifes, love, usual saas-bahu saga,  and friendship interwoven with sharp,  witty, and well punned dialogues – that’s what Bibaho Diaries showcases.

Many moments are cliched. But look around, aren’t we living in a society of cliches? What makes Mainak’s Bibaho Diaries so entertaining and exhilarating is his ability to find comic elements in all those mundane moments – be it a mom-in-law’s complain about her daughter-in-law’s inability to cook well or a father-in-law’s irritation about his son-in-laws inability to land a job. The clash between materialistic high salaried class and the idealistic, creative, and politically inclined group theatre members, in fact our protagonist is a member of the latter group.

The movie also shows how GenY handles marriage, family, and other complications. What happens to friendship and other relationships post marriage? The movie focuses on all that,  subtly. 

Ritwick as the male lead is awesome. He gets the chunk of the script and molds it with his own creative brilliance and presents to us a smart,  creative,  emotional, and charming character. Sohini is good overall and exceptional in the court argument scene (watch it). The not-so-surprising package is Vishwanath, who has long since proven his comic acting prowess. They are well supported by Dulal Lahiri, Mithu Chkraborty, Alakananda Roy,  and Vishwajit Chakraborty. 


The exciting world of animation!

Animation has always been a part of my childhood. I cannot recall when was the first time I started to watch series made in this medium, but it was love at first sight. The imageries, the drawings, the fascinating characters, and the amazing variety of plots have made animation my dearest. Be it He-man or Howl, Totoro or Kiki, each and every character has come with their own traits, their own flaws. I have always found this media a place where imagination can run really wild. “Paprika” is the greatest example of this. If one has to watch one animation movie in their lifetime, then this is the one!


Forgiveness is a myth. 

It is a lie that we tell ourselves to hide the fact that most of us do not have any choice except forgiving our bullies, letting go of criminals and forgetting their heinous actions, and thinking of other ‘better’ things because we either do not have enough wherewithal to fight a legal battle, which gets prolonged most of the times, or enough muscle to seek other course of action.

I have often heard good-natured institutionally educated people say that they should not get involved in a fight with thugs as it is not befitting to the reputation of the former! The truth is, many of the genteel are afraid of fights and are not accustomed to such physical aggression, especially with those who earn their bread and butter by physical violence. So, it is not moralitythat stops them but sheer lack of physical capabilities.

This inefficiency to settle scores most of the times forces us to get philosophical about the whole matter. Now imagine, you have ample money and muscle, will you still forgive your enemy? Will you still depend on law alone to get justice or your pound of flesh that you deem to be your right? Most powerful people worldwide either build their own personal security force or hire one.

In the Asaram Bapu case, many witnesses who braved all odds and came forward got slaughtered. Some of them were dependent on  government for their security. None of them could afford a private bodyguard. This is the reality. Their families will mourn their losses but will not be able to do much about it as they do not have the power. They are dependent on police and government. And the system too does not care for them.

Once my uncle told me that non-violence is not lack of violence but the decision to not use violence by a person who is skilled to use it. Most of us are not that person. We are too scared. We are too worried about the pain and retributions such an action will bring to our comfortable lives. Will big MNCs hire such a rebellious and ‘violent’ person? Will you choose to resign from your managerial post and seek justice?

And then there are those who are just too tired to fight or take on the powerful. They have lost all hope in the system and just want to lick their wounds and move on.

Change is life

Change is an important part of life. Or, it could be said that change is life. The whole universe is changing every moment. To human eye, due to galactic distance, a star remains alive even after years of its demise. Similarly, the cycle of transformation, change, and mobility is happening always around us. We are simply unaware of those changes.

But in human life, it is sometimes difficult to accept change with ease. We often face a tussel among the need of change, the desire of change, and the challenge of accepting the change as it pushes us out of our comfort zones. After establishing our 21st century urban civilization, we are not ready to let go of all its comforts. That is why no matter how much we shout for saving the environment, we are quite reluctant to consider the ecology or stop our urban developments to accommodate ecological balance. On another note, change of designation or change in reporting manager also create an unease or wariness in some professionals. They remain unsure about the outcome of the change.

This brings us to our next problem-expectation. We humans expect things to yield certain results. It is this expectation that often makes us disappointed when things turn out different or opposite to the expected outcome. You expect a fast-moving queue, but it moves glacier slow;  you expect a duty-bound public servant but face with a corrupt one. Expectation and reality often are different. So, for such a species accepting change if it does not match the expected betterment, the promised land, becomes very difficult, if not impossible. 

And yet, change happens. Change is nature. Change is universal. No matter how uneasy we feel about it, we have to accept it and adapt to it at the end of the day.

Time and healing

I am not a believer in time-is-a-healer concept. I believe, with every passing time you realise that certain things have chnaged; you realise of the minuscule control you have over the chnaged circumstances as you can’t revert things to their earlier state; you learn slowly to accept this; this acceptance makes the pain and suffering bearable, a bit less excruciating and mind numbing. But it remains. It remains like an old wound that does not bleed any more but leaves a scar. An when you are alone, bare, and in the dark – the scar is visible. It does not pain anymore. But it is there, now a part of your body. Even the trauma of the hurt has also lost its sting, but instead it has become a part of your memory. Nevertheless, it remains. They remain. Now, they are a part of your story.


They started their journey at a brisk pace. No one knew about their destination. Then suddenly, they picked up pace and took a sharp turn and from there they started running.  It seemed as if someone had opened a flood gate ushering a barrage of water. They jumped; they twisted their forms like a gymnast; they laughed; they cried; they embraced each other, and soon they touched the sky. There they hovered; they danced; they matured. And with equal grace then came down and landed on the soft surface of the earth as a new born would reach out to the opened arms of its mother. Then everything went silent.
He opened his eyes. His fingers were still resting on the strings of his sitar. The soft  breeze and the slowly moving tree branches approved of his music. He smiled.

The Resolution

Blood was trickling out of the mouth, wings, and the body of the sparrow. The shards have penetrated just where its heart and lungs should have been. The air gun bullet has destroyed one of its wings. Shalini shivered. What a start to her new year! She looked at the cardboard that is now covering the broken part of her window. She thought of the tiny grave in her backyard. Her eyes welled up with tears. She looked at the “Note” app and deleted all entries under “New Year Resolution”. Then, she typed one word– “Care”.