#DirectorsCut Pradipta Bhattacharya’s ‘Bakita Byaktigato’, where fantasy meets realism – Times of India

What the golden era of Bengali cinema has left us is an inheritance of endless possibilities. If today, the films of
Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen,
Ritwik Ghatak, Buddhadeb Dasgupta or Tapan Sinha are part of our consciousness, then it is due to their ability to enlighten the “dark rooms of our souls” and offer us an outlook – to live and let live. These cinematic works with rich history and heritage continue to influence our discourse and consciousness. The ‘essential humanism’ of these master filmmakers has lived on through time and space. It’s a treasure trove of cult classics but then there is a certain section of films which are criminally underrated.

In this new series of #DirectorsCut, ETimes talks about these relatively lesser-known and yet brilliant films by iconic directors that were overshadowed by their more popular filmworks. This week, we take a look at Pradipta Bhattacharya’s National Award-winning film ‘Bakita Byaktigato’ (2013).

The puzzle called love

‘Bakita Byaktigato’ is fresh in its approach and that’s what makes it different
Pramit, an amateur documentary filmmaker, is tired of girls rejecting his propositions. Prem ki? Ki kore prem hoye? Troubled by such questions, he takes it upon himself to solve the puzzle anyhow. And this time around, he plans to make a documentary film on love.

We see an excited Pramit, and his cameraperson, Amit, set sail on a journey of a lifetime. On the way, they meet several people — an astrologer, an elderly teacher, his student — who share their romantic escapades with them. Pramit’s exploration of the subject finally leads him to the premer graam, Mohini. Obviously, there are echoes of Odysseus’ epic journey to the land of Lotus-eaters here. As you can guess by now, the village, not known to many, is believed to have magical powers. It is said that one who manages to reach there, cannot steer clear of the cupid’s arrow. Love, in its several shades — both platonic and physical — doesn’t disappoint him either, or, does it? Now, that’s personal!

Real blends into surreal

As the story progresses, the director guides you through a mysterious realm where the real blends into the surreal seamlessly. Music by Anindya Sundar Chakraborty — mostly folk but sometimes interspersed with strumming of guitar in the background — adds to the film’s rural and urban mood. A few dialogues and situations actually make you laugh, and for a change, the humour is not stale. Series of chances and coincidences render an interesting twist to the plot. Don’t miss the scene where the director pays his tribute to Satyajit Ray.

The first half is gripping enough and leaves you asking for more and the second half, too, leaves a lasting impression on the audience. As the camera meanders through lanes and by-lanes of the city — also capturing the beautiful village landscapes later — sans any artificial light, the frames look natural and much closer to life.

Powerhouse actors

Besides, the audience gets to see some good performances by actors like Supriyo Dutta, Sudipa Basu, Debesh Roy Choudhury, Monu Mukherjee and Churni Ganguly. Aparajita Ghosh Das — the naughty and chirpy village girl — is convincing as Shampa. But it is Ritwik Chakraborty as Pramit, who shoulders the film with his effortless acting till the end. The actor’s body language, expression and comic timing are just brilliant. His camaraderie with Amit, essayed by Amit Saha, is heartwarming. Even Amit, on his part, goes with the flow. Senior actress Madhabi Mukherjee’s presence on screen as Shampa’s grandmother brings a smile on your face.


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