Tale of Second Sister

The chequered history of Bengali cinema which spans roughly a century has many notable triumphs.

The period between the 50s and the 70s were probably the Golden Era of the Bengali film industry, with films by veteran directors like Ritwik Ghatak, Satyajit Ray, Tapan Sinha and Mrinal Sen dominating the Bengali film space. The industry then nosedived during the 80s and has now risen like a phoenix again.

Inspired by Italian Neorealism, Parallel movement in Bengal began to take shape with the golden touch of some pioneer like Ritwik and Satyajit. Movies of this stringent periods are typically famous for its serious content, realism and naturalism, symbolic elements with a keen eye on the sociopolitical climate of the times, and for the rejection of the dance-and-song numbers that are typical of mainstream commercial Indian cinema.

The present time is basically a very interesting period for Bengali cinema. Genuine efforts are put in to compose more engaging and contemporary content. But the shrinking regional market over the years, the lack of innovation in film distribution and the rising buoyancy in investment has strongly affected the prospects. As a Bengali movie-lover, I can realize the necessity of research and survey to unleash the potential of Bengali cinema in terms of identifying new markets.

There was a time when Indian movie industry was led by Bengali cinema but after sudden death of Ghatak, it was only Ray who has been acknowledged as the father of parallel movie and after 1980 Bengali industry already began to submerge in lack of creativity, and when the only hope our first Indian Oscar winner signed his last, the official decay of Bengali cinema has been silently uttered from that day.

Undoubtedly the exoduses of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen have hurt the Bengali film industry incalculable, but that can’t persist a perpetual vindication. No film industry gets the services of its best artists forever. Phases of ups and downs are conjoint, but an industry doesn’t lose its way as a result of that. Given Bengal’s rich literary past, such pleas sound all the hollower.

But, if we analyze the ups and downs of Bengali industry, we can’t deny the contribution of a particular person who holds the entire industry since from the early 90s, and for whom Bengali industry is booming in recent years, is one and only Prasenjeet. And if you are a Bengali, then you can easily rank him after Uttam according to his fame and contribution to keeping alive this industry.

While discussing tolly’s history it would be a curse if we don’t take into account the contribution of Rituporno Ghosh, because we all can realize that after Ritwik he is the only one who can think deeply about different dimensions of human relationship and can express it in a layman’s language. Although we all know after his sudden death he eventually gave the key of Bengali cinema to national award winning directors like Kaushik Ganguly and Gautam Ghosh, who will keep this legacy.

But the bleak future of Bengali industry lies in the confliction of politics & culture. In the past few years, it has been seen that actors and actresses from the state, both current and past, have been more interested in politics, actively or passively. Artists should have their own ways of protesting a cause. Cinema can be a powerful medium to make a social or political statement. Wherever in this industry, a large number of veteran film artistes have expediently chosen to actively involve themselves in party politics for various blunt reasons or the hidden reasons may be best known to themselves.

The political parties also rope them in just to cash in on their popular appeal. Fundamentally there is no achievement in this entire isometrics, yet artists conveniently overlook their duty of helping their industry crawl back to proper shape and leave everything for the fabricated gumshoes to take care of.

This really let down an industry that had once led the nation!



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