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Aparajito

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Bengali film Aparajito streaming on Zee5. And I was particularly looking forward to this film as it showcased the histrionics behind the making of the all time classic Pather Panchali. I am quite sure there are many Satyajit Ray fans and cinephiles around the world who say that Pather Panchali would probably rank in the 10 Best Films of All Times!

There are so many trivias about the film on how it ran into trouble financially only to be resurrected, to Satyajit Ray unknowingly breaking the cinematic rule thus paving way fod new age cinema or even inspiring the then budding filmmaker Martin Scorsese who is now renowned across the globe. So we have all grown up hearing these tales and I was quite keen on witnessing and studying the various aspects onscreen. Just to put it across, the makers did not get the rights to use the actual names associated with this story and so the names in the film have been changed (thank you and a big shoutout to my friend Jayashree for letting me know this piece of trivia). So then I finished watching Aparajito on Zee5 and here are my two cents on the film.

Story & Screenplay

Aparajito tells you the story behind the making of the all time classic Pather Panchali directed by Satyajit Ray. And the story is an absolute winner despite the fact that the real names aren’t used. If you have watched Pather Panchali or even remotely acquainted with, you will be able to relate to it so well. The screenplay standing at about 130 minutes makes for a brisk and engrossing watch.

All the film critics and reviewers are either budding actors or filmmakers(and those who say they are neither are either lying or they are in the wrong profession, there I said it). And so films based on actual stories behind the making of films is something that I would watch and study any day! Just to put it on record, this isn’t a documentary but an account of the challenges faced while making the classic Pather Panchali. The drama opens with the protagonist giving an account to the AIR interviewer and there are so many insights to be had.

I must admit that I wasn’t aware of all the facts shown in the film and so I did find the proceedings engrossing. Just like in the Hindi film 83 which had a keen eye for detailing, the detailing is spot on here which will appeal to both the people who already know the little trivias here and there as well as bring new people in with the intention to watch(or rewatch) the classic. I am the happiest when I get to watch something lovely. All I would need is a laptop(or mobile) with wifi and OTT subscription and you could keep me locked inside a room and I will have the best time. It is because films are love for me and I enjoy witnessing how the creative juices of different people come together on what we call celluloid. And that is beautifully shown here.

Right from working in an advertising firm to be almost pushed to read the book Pather Panchali and adapt it into a film. And from assembling a team of passionate newbies to running into logistical issues like the lack of funds or even taking a break from his job makes for a compelling viewing. The entire process of filmmaking from casting to music to cinematography and to its ultimate release has been deconstructed in this beautifully penned screenplay. It ain’t wise to sit and crib about obstacles rather to look for solutions, and that is excellently depicted. Any budding film student should take some time out and watch this film(needless to say the classic Pather Panchali too) to learn about the various aspects of filmmaking including the lighting or the frames or even the unconventionality or the ‘anti’ grammer of filmmaking.

I really enjoyed how balanced the screenplay is here. There was no sugar coating done especially towards the end wherein the portions involving a famous critic walking out during the Cannes premiere was retained(Pather Panchali was India’s first entry to the Cannes Film Festival). And that rousing final act including that phone call that just gave me goosebumps. What an outstanding screenplay and I cannot fault even a minute of it.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are conversational but extremely engaging and they definitely leave an impact. The music and BGM are beautiful perfectly synchronizing its tones with the mood of the drama. The cinematography is excellent and I loved the fact that the entire film was shot in monochrome which did give it an aesthetic feel to the drama thereby retaining its old world charm. Director Anik Datta has done a phenomenal job in literally documenting so many important aspects behind the making of Pather Panchali and in a very effective and engaging manner. His direction is absolutely top notch!

Performances

The performances are outstanding here. Debashis Roy as Subir is first rate. Anusha Vishwanathan as Uma is excellent and has so many moments to recreate the original iconic character. Saayoni Ghosh as Bimala is very well restrained and a perfect foil for the protagonist. She is the silent support which makes her character so endearing. Jeetu Kamal as Aparajito(aka Satyajit Ray) is in top form here. He gets the mannerisms of the veteran so well and he is simply exceptional here in a towering act!

Conclusion

Aparajito is probably the best film of the year across languages which brilliantly showcases the histrionics behind the making of the classic Pather Panchali. Available on Zee5 and Highly Highly Highly Recommended! Do Not Miss This!

As an ode to Satyajit Ray, I would like to say a small thank you on behalf of Popcorn Reviewss for inspiring generations across the globe. I cannot say how honoured I am as a proud cinephile to witness the magic of cinema, a large part of which I do attribute to Satyajit Ray!

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