Secondly, I am no movie critic.
It’s just that I am overwhelmed by the cinematic experience called ‘Kahaani’. What a movie! What a city! and what an actor(s)! (sic.)
There is absolutely no doubt that I am a devout Calcutta fan. Needless to say there are many more in the blogosphere or for that matter, in this small place whose mystery is still being investigated by a certian Sheldon Cooper ;), but ‘Kahaani’ has shook me…after a long, long time.
Nobody, and this includes the over emphasis of the Howrah Bridge, the phuchka in front of Victoria and Moulin Rouge in Parineeta, has shown my city, the only city in this whole wide world I call ‘home’ so beautifully…unadulterated, pure, charming, graceful, pregnant with expectation, warmth…and lethal. The women organisations may debate on and on…but Kolkata and ‘Calcutta’ you are truly ‘sexy’ and a ‘siren’. A ‘sex-bomb’ I say.
The best part about the film is the fact that in doesn’t show Calcutta in that very stereotypical mould of the city of the past. It is about today. It is about the constant optimism that we Calcuttan’s live with…..probably the only city that balances of its ‘korchi na korbo na’ tradition with the new found lingo of Sector V and Rajarhat. (It’s completely different that I find Camac Street a class apart :))
You know what? I think Sujoy Ghosh is a pucca Calcuttan….not any other non resident Bong…he doesn’t make that stupidest mistake that anybody commits nowadays and which makes Calcuttans like me turn back and retort- “Salt Lake is not Kolkata.” I know you will cringe but the fact remains- it’s still a satellite township which doesn’t fall within the limits of the city. Sujoy Ghosh actually moves ahead and don’t fall into that beaten formula of showing yesteryear’s Kolkata means- Victoria Memorial, Park Street, Trincas and Cabaret. Today’s Kolkata is- Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge and decorated pieces in some sleepy neighbourhood of Salt Lake. That mould is broken! Most importantly, Sujoy Ghosh and the DoP, Setu, thank you for showing Calcutta moments in a mainstream collage without adding any hanky panky which is so very associated with the cities timeline.
His Calcutta is very much the Nonapukur or Kumortuli we know. Or the bylanes of a smellingly old Central Calcutta house. And the very evident and bustling South Calcutta. Kalighat, Triangular Park, Ballygunge Cultural er pujo….uuf!! ki nei.
And Durga Pujo!!!! What a montage, what a use of Dhaaks in the climax. The very religious symbolisms turn into the imagery of woman power which kills and protects. Hats off! for even thinking like this.
And I will not talk about the performances. Vidya Balan, my dear Palaghat Iyer lady, you are an honorary bong or rather a Calcuttan now…you know that right? Thank you for being so subtle and so unapologetic and proud about being full….film after film. In today’s world of heroines (not actresses) so very obsessed with their frail frames, you are a worthy exception. And so very seductive. The film also showcases the goldmine of talented actors that Bengali cinema treasures. Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Saswata, Kharaj….each and everyone. The ‘kahaani’ of the film is it’s true hero and the scriptwriting is- to use a teenager’s way of expressing her first Valentine moment- out of the world!
And then there is that one person who has probably given words to all my emotions…every single time 🙂 His song written probably quite a few years ago binds the thematic representation of the story at a level where we all identify. Probably he doesn’t need any more reckoning and we are minions to give him so…..but once again he proves, and a point well proved, that those who call him outdated are so very obsolete and poor (the word couldn’t possibly match up to the emotional content of the bengali word ‘deen’).
The only character who overshadows all this and rises much beyond is the lady who is better known as the city of laughter, joy, warmth and tinkle- Calcutta!