LABOUR OF LOVE/ ASHA JAWAR MAJHE: A Good Film, indeed

A scene from Asha Jawar Majhe

A Bengali Film which is largely overshadowed by a Continental name, has hardly been able to come to the attention of the common Bengali film watchers. Being a debutante venture of Aditya Vikram Sengupta, it is worth the acclamation that it has been bringing to its profit bank (aesthetically).

 This has been the latest trend with parallel filmmakers in Bengal to step out to the crowd after being acclaimed at International Film Fests. Earlier, the same was identified as the mannerisms of Kaushik Ganguly, Rituparno Ghosh etc.

 Labour of Love tediously brings out the efforts that are put up by a man and a woman in pursuit of a comfortable married life that may or may not come up in the near future. The original title of this film is Asha Jawar Majhe. It implies the intermediary phase between the leaving and returning of home. Firstly, we will discuss the difference between the actual (subtitled) title and the literal translation of its original name.

 

Asha Jawar Majhe Vs Labour of Love: Analyzing the Title

 The film begins with a cost-effective, but ‘easy to interpret’ way to define the industrial phase of Kolkata. It depicts the issues of unemployment and inflation adding to the existing crisis of the city. Here, the director can be claimed to refer to the style that had been in popular use by Mrinal Sen in his stereotypical Ala-Carte- Calcutta 71 films; however, the style is barely, but confined to the mere art-director’s creations.

 Aditya (the auteur) has contained a subtle balance between the English and the original title of this film. Asha Jawar Majhe symbolizes a slight growth toward the tendency of attributing a film to the most simplified terms and here, Asha Jawar Majhe means the phase that exists between two important events i.e. leaving and returning. The man has been shown to be involved in a night-shift job, while the vice-versa exists for his wife. Hence, there is a sweet, delicate moment that is supposed to arise when either of them finds the house empty and devoid of the better half.

 The title, Labour of Love is a more practical and direct way of naming the film that clearly indicates the film to be showcasing a laboured effort to survive with and in love. It can be another way of expressing the film in a pitching manner (pitch refers to the overall telling of a script in 15-20 mins) to the global audience, regarding the existing global village.

 

Analyzing the concept of Labour of Love

 Through the sorrow lanes of Bengal, the film discloses a scenic journey, which refers more to the one from gloom to life, as if death is always the direct antonym for happiness and contentment. However, in this piece, the female protagonist prefers to wear the contentment of love. In contrast, the male protagonist can be seen coping up with household stuffs in sun. This might look a bit disturbing for all those  who have preferred male dominance as the sole form of independence on earth. Soon, the scenario gets justified with the ‘hero’ finds it satisfactory to lend his hands to the house. The best part that has been depicted in the film is when Ritwick (male protagonist) drapes himself in his wife’s saree, covering up his lower portion. This represents the feminism cover or enclosure of the male-ego (represented by his reproductive organs) with his better half’s attributes. This can also be explained as the perfect example of the diminishing ego.

 There have been continuous usage of devices of miscommunication in the film, which has been shown with the visage of a disturbing noise taking place at the workplace. This can easily be compared to the disruption in communication in personal life as well. The same scene reminds of La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini. However, such elements do not seem to disrupt the marital harmony in their lives. There is a minute sticker in the piece that runs up the news of suicide of a mill worker; this has brought out the concern that resides in the hearts of both. More striking is the one shown through the wife’s expressions, who on entering the house stares (astonishingly) at a pair of trousers hanging from a place above her viewpoint. It seems to represent as if a person is hanging from the ceiling, which has been conveniently perceived by the wife as her husband with a suicidal note.

 The climax is an extension of the husband’s day dream; this screens the moment when the husband meets his wife and gets travelled to a Utopian land. The same can be seem to be the disclosure of marital moments.

Labor of Love can certainly as a good quality film; however, the same could have been made as a short feature. The director has showcased a prepared talent with an expertise in Cinematography and Editing; however, storytelling could have been a bit more subjective. Overall, a 6 out of 10 piece and a must watch!

 

 

Kinkini Sen on the film and its director : Canvas of a Son

Kinkini Sen writes…

Being a cinema lover, I always take a keen interest on films, starting from script to direction, everything related to it. Earlier I used to work for a small independent production house, *Studio15*as a PR and content writer. As this cinema world is a large circuit, I got to know the director from then. That was a big time for Aneek as the film *The wife’s letter* went global and got a high deal of appreciate.

canvas-1

On a sudden day, he called me up and told that he will work on his upcoming project very soon. And he wants me to act in his film but it is a not a feature movie like the previous one (as he knew after a small conversation that I am interested in acting and films).I was quite shocked and happy at the same time. I was in shock because getting such an offer from such a reputed film person was next to impossible in my life. And was happy because I could not believe my ears that Aneek is approaching me to do a film.

For me, making shorts films are more tough because I know it is quite challenging for a director to tell the whole story to the audience in such a short span of time. I loved his script at the first instance because he wants to show the difference between the vague and clear image of *mother-son relationship*.

A person’s sense of right and wrong depends on the picture happening around them. So aneek wants to convey a message through this short film *Canvas of a son* that everything that is nude is not vulgar. He wants to entrench the fact that nudity is nothing but art. So I liked his script a lot. His obscure ideas regarding the film are impressive.

Coming to the shooting day, I was too nervous as I was suppose to give my best. But then again, Aneek made it all easy for me. Thanks to other actors for the needful cooperation. The whole team was very dedicated.

Aneek tried his best to make me comfortable as the character he chose for me was tough and a little different from others. There was a scene where I had to lay back in a relaxed position, so aneek helped me doing that also.

I really cannot recount those things. He scrutinized my wrong acts and helped me, rectifying it. I am lucky that I came across such a connoisseur who will help me to grow as an actor in the long run. This is how I made my debut and now, looking forward to many more.

A Few Words on Streer Potro from Aneek Chaudhuri

Just a few days prior to the National Premiere of The Wife’s Letter or Streer Potro, I would like to notify the guests or viewers of the things that arrive with a caution in this film; this is indeed a film meant for serious buffs and I mean it.

The film spans for over two hours where the viewers will be exposed to three worlds of cinematic brilliance and hence, one would actually observe things that are not desired always. One would be exposed to mundane routines, which has been aptly used in this film with references to the Tagore-ish text. But, at the end of the day, one should not forget that the film has just utilized the Tagore’s piece as a prop.

Monotonous! I would rather say that the film is realistic without the prime motive to entertain audiences; perhaps, this is a film that puts the audience to test their novice attitude toward cinema. Therefore, patience is the phenomenon to interpret The Wife’s Letter.

Following are the things that one should be draped in before watching this movie:
One should be patient for the depiction
One should not attend the screening to be entertained
One should respect the integrity of Cinema
One should be realistic enough to interpret the film

the-wifes-letter

A Tiring ‘Afternoon with Julia’: 2/5

Aneek Chaudhuri, the critic for this review is a Research Professor in Film Studies at IOSR with more than a dozen research papers published in International Journals of repute. Moreover, he has been awarded thrice for excellence in Film Reviewing. Beside this, he has been associated with authorship of five books including Cinema’ Three Layers and Bazin, and one of them been considered at Whistling Woods International as External Study Material. He is also an acclaimed filmmaker with his films getting screened at film festivals of repute and currently representing India in Canada and Albania.

 

Afternoon with Julia! When I prefer to start writing a piece reviewing the actual ‘cinematic elements’ in this film, I would utter, “How much is it representing Indian Cinema?” Through this review, the readers are expected to know more about the attribute.

The film stars Samadarshi and Neha Panda; rather than commenting on the acting part first, I would start by penning down a few lines on the technical aspects of this film. Black and White, yes it is! Love for World Cinema, okay granted! But dare one mistakes it for a Jim Jarmusch identity! This is highly inspired by a certain genre of Cinema and hence, fails to make a statement on its own.

Neha Panda with an accent that seems to be carried with unease, fails to match the overworked stylization of the film. Yes, it is overworked upon! Samadarshi too does not seem to be too convincing. Although, the cinematography has been very subtle and projected in a style that sits somewhere between Cinema Verite and Parisian Joie de Vivre. Moreover, the style seems to overpower other utilizable departments such as acting, screenplay etc. One could actually guess that the director is trying to prove himself to be a lover of French Cinema than anything else.

There are things that could have been used to a much better extent, for e.g. the transition from black and white to color mode. By the way, one does not need to paint the screen in monochrome mode to be able to match the Goddard-ish or Truffaut-ish theme; however, a brave attempt from Abhiroop Basu. He has shown niche maturity in projecting a homage to a creme genre of Cinema, I must say.

In the near-end of the film, when one is exposed to the sms of the male protagonist, it reveals something but once again with novice camera angles looks unconvincing. The display of illusion and one’s apparent presence has been diluted with the overuse of storyboard elements (breaking down one sequence into multiple scenes). Moreover, speaking of being realistic, the director seemed to please the audience too much with SMS language been equated to a language that one uses in writing a proper letter.

There have been a huge lack of coordination between actors, although one may claim it to be intentional or deliberate, at times, this appeared to be cliched. Be it the conversation between the leading actors, or the waiter or when the film ends in color mode with a couple arguing over a bit. Apart from this, the word ‘cappuccino’ could have been used in a much better and intelligent way considering its literal significance which was indeed needed in such a short piece to make indicative statements. This could have been the ultimate charmer in the story. There was indeed no need to bring the couple in the end who appeared to be preposterous indeed; hence, one must say that if one is actually inspired by the French Auteurs, should also refer to Stanislavski once when it comes to directing the actors.

I would be rating it 2 out 5!

Sougata Bhattacharjee – On collaborating with Aneek in Streer Potro

Sougata Bhattacharjee was the co-cinematographer of Aneek Chaudhuri in Streer Potro.

I am Sougata Bhattacharjee and here, I am about to say a few words about my work.

The film ‘Streer Potro’ is very special for me. Aneek and me are great admirers of Rabindranath Tagore and Salvador Dali, the film is dedicated to them. Different form of art is involved with cinema and it is itself an art form. So I think that’s the medium where Tagore and Dali can share a stage. That’s why cinematography of the film was very challenging as the film is partly based on the story of Rabindranath Tagore in the modern time and also inspired by Dali. We completed shooting of the film in a very busy schedule and tried to give our best. So it is just the beginning of a new chapter for me but the prologue of my story was not very easy and smooth.

13417592_798001396967518_4134166789708741680_n
I was born at a small village of Birbhum. There was a solitary peaceful world of mine on the lap of nature. So I had many things to observe, to heal my eyes and soul. I believe those unconscious memories of childhood somehow unknowingly helps me in cinematography and I feel lucky that I was born in a village.
Then I came to Kolkata for study. There are so many private institutions for students. They promise a dozen like a political leader before the election to attract. The institution don’t think something different and creative, they just try to make produce so called smart handsome and educated students, good in communication skills and very formal like the corporate world who will also butter or adulate them for placement. It is nothing but a dishonest business on the name of education. We are not into corporate world so we should not be a parrot or a mannequin like them. There must be a difference. But the difference was not so small to ignore. I was bad at communication, lil bit introvert and used to stay alone in solidity, sometimes I love it sometimes but I hate it too. Although, I used to listen to and observe people or things around me. So I chose the art medium of cinematography and sometimes I draw some abstract sketches. There are no rivalry between these two mediums, in fact one helps the other and there are no need to speak directly in those medium, my work should speak a thousand words for me.
But after I finished my course I was struggling here. I was trying to build up contacts as I had no godfather in Kolkata, only had some friends who were also struggling. Many of them were leaving Kolkata as you know there are less opportunity in Kolkata than other metro cities of India. It feels really bad when people tell you it’s very hard for a fresher in Kolkata. All those drama of guild and sometimes fresher is not even paid event after working hard. So that is not very professional. Meanwhile I had a job offer from a production company based in New Delhi for the post of cinematographer. My friend Kalpataru and Avishek were there and they were very helpful, so I went there. It was a good job for any cinematographer. We used to travel a lot during shooting and experiment with the new cameras and equipments. But after they left the office I faced some really bad office politics with my junior colleagues and the behavior of some people of Delhi are very different. I realized how much united India is and the long history of neglecting eastern and north-eastern India. However I also realized that no one in that production house was passionate about documentary or fiction. Though they did some documentaries in past but it was just because of profit not out of passion. So I left the job and decided to come back to Kolkata even after knowing its again going to be a struggle. One of the rare good memory of Delhi was I met with a very passionate film maker Rajnees, from Ranchi. He had also left his job. Before coming back to Kolkata we did a documentary on famous Kathputli colony of Delhi associated with a production house based in Mumbai.
So I was back to Kolkata. There is something unique about the city, that is better to feel than telling it and tougher to forget than remembering. I was again trying to contact with people. I got to contact Abhirup da(Sen) of KMDB, he was very helpful to post about me through the virtual portal. Then I received a call from Aneek and I was keen to work on ‘Streer Potro’. We finally did it and now it’s time to get your feedback and move ahead to struggle more, work more. The struggle should be always on till the last breath.