Meghe Dhaka Tara - (2013)
(A film by Kamaleshwar Mukhopadhyay)
DVD Rip - 2.37 GB (½ DVD) - XviD/Avi - AC3 (5.1 Ch)
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Nilkantha Bagchi (Saswata Chatterjee) is a poet, filmmaker playwright and a leading figure in the left centric cultural movements of the 1940's. He is uncompromising in his work which draws inspiration from his roots in Eastern Bengal. Yet as he refuses to add entertainment value to his films and plays, they don't draw crowds. As time goes on, he becomes a pauper. The failure of his films is compunded by his unsocial habits. He lives on country liquor and tobacco. His health deteriorates and his mental equilibrium too falters.
The film begins with Nilkantha is taken to a mental asylum by his long-suffering wife Durga (Ananya Chatterjee). There as treatment starts, an extraordinary relationship develops between Nilkantha and his Doctor, Dr. Mukherjee. Nilkantha starts to write a play to be acted by the inmates of the asylum. Among the inmates is a tribal girl - a victim of rape, who does not speak. She fascinates him, for she represents the quintessence of Bengal for him. He coaxes her to act.
In the meantime, the treatment of Nilkantha's mental problem is not progressing satisfactorily.He is put on to shock therapy which leaves him dull and unresponsive. When the day for the final staging comes, he is taken for therapy.He returns in a zombie like state. As the play progresses and his protege starts to dance, he suddenly comes to life. He sees in her his beloved Bengal and she leads him to the peace and tranquility that he so craves.
Loosely based on the life and times of Ritwik Ghatak, This film pays tribute to that wayward genius, for he was indeed a Star whose genius was enveloped in a cloud. It was only when the cloud passed, that history has started recognising his brilliance. It's not just in the name, but also in references to his films and other creations as well as to his well known propensities - his never being able to accept the partition of Bengal is just one example. Its not a biopic. Its a fascinating tale of a genius unable to come to terms with changes around him. A genius who by nature cannot compromise his art for popularity. A genius who knows that he is one and is confident that posterity will acknowledge him as one. And, at the other end of the spectrum, a man who has no sense of responsibility, a man weighed down by his failures, a man who consumes alcohol and lets alcohol consume him.
It is one of the most complex screenplays I have seen in recent times. For the narrative unfolds through a series of almost random sequences. Some are flashbacks, both of sweet and bitter moments. Some are the flights of his imagination, some are straight narratives and yet some are just passing sequences. There is really no straightforward sequencing, yet, through this collage of clips, we can discern the story of Nilkantha the genius who has lost his way. Sometimes the clips are not very well organised. could not for example really appreciate the flashes from the past that intermingle with the staging of Nilkantha's play at the end. The message was clear enough without them and they simply break the narrative and our attention. But at other times the jump sequences are brilliantly done. I think this mixture of clips also adds to our sense of the waywardness of Nilkantha...
Acting by the three main protagonists is brilliant. I thought though that Saswata came across as a little more of a "bhadralok"than Nilkantha's character demanded, but Ananya Chatterjee is excellent as the wife who loves Nilkantha, but who rarely can show her feelings as poverty and stress has drained her out. It comes out in little glimpses of extraordinary gentle acting, as in the last sequences, wher Nilkantha is drooling and she uses her saree to clean the edges of his mouth. Abir Chatterjee also puts in an outstanding performance as the doctor in awe of his patient, but who must be firm with him.
I believe the film was shot in colour and converted into black and white. Notwithstanding that photography of Soumik Haldar is mesmerising. So is the music by Debojyoti Mishra. The use of different forms of music, from Beethoven's fifth symphony to Salil Choudhury's songs is brilliant. It is one of the best features of the film. Robi ranjan Moitra must have had a hard time editing this film. All said, this film is a bit too long at over two and a half hours. It should have been cut to a smaller length. At times we start losing interest, much as audience did in Ghatak's films (see the sample sequence)!
RijVnet promised you that I would upload this film some two weeks ago. Here it is. I have taken my time over this rip because I was fascinated with the beautiful shades of grey. To me the original was bad, because it had too many shadows and hid details. So, this rip concentrates of 'shadow gaining' - bringing out the details hidden by the dark patches. Its not just increasing brightness,. That would be disastrous. Its increasing luma where its low and decreasing it where its too bright in every frame. The comparative shots above show the difference. The original video is on the left and the rip on the right. You can see how details in the darker patches have come out. The colour section at the end has been enhanced too.
The rip is a little large. That's because the film itself is over two and a half hours long. Also I wanted to retain the original 6 Channel AC3 sound because the music by Debojyoti Mishra is so beautiful. Its also large because of the high bitrates used - the bitrate is variable so what you see is just the average. I thought that this rip would interest only those who want to play it on their TV. Even at full screen (32") there is no degradation of quality and so you should be able to enjoy good picture quality and sound.
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