What's new

When a Bangladeshi played the main lead in Satyajit Ray's world famous film!

Riyad

FULL MEMBER
Jul 30, 2015
1,425
-5
1,683
Country
Bangladesh
Location
Bangladesh
Bangladeshi film industry is in crisis moment but there was a time when Bangladeshi artist played central role in Oscar winning director Satyajit Ray's film.

Ashani Sanket is one of the most acclaimed film of Satyajit Ray. This film won Golden Bear Award for Best Film, also the actress Bobita who is a Bangladeshi actress won Best actress award in Indian Bengal Film Award.




Distant Thunder
(Bengali: অশনি সংকেত; translit. Oshoni Shongket) is a 1973 Bengali film by the renowned Indian director Satyajit Ray, based on the novel by the same name by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay.[1] Unlike most of Ray's earlier films, Distant Thunder was filmed in colour. It stars Soumitra Chatterjee, who headlined numerous Ray films, and the Bangladeshi actress Bobita in her only prominent international role. Today the film features in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.[2] It marked the debut of the theatre star Mrityunjay Sil.[2]



Overview[edit]
The film is set in a village in the Indian province of Bengal during World War II, and examines the effect of the Great Famine of 1943 on the villages of Bengal through the eyes of a young Brahmin doctor-teacher, Gangacharan, and his wife, Ananga. Ray shows the human scale of a cataclysmic event that killed more than 3 million people. The film unfolds at a leisurely pace that reflects the rhythms of village life, but gradually shows the breakdown of traditional village norms under the pressure of hunger and starvation.[3][4]

Cast[edit]
  • Soumitra Chatterjee as Gangacharan Chakravarti
  • Bobita as Angana/Gangacharan's wife
  • Chitra Banerjee as Moti
  • Govinda Chakravarti - Dinabandhu
  • Anil Ganguly as Nibaran
  • Noni Ganguly as Scarface' Jadu
  • Debatosh Ghosh as Adhar
  • Ramesh Mukherjee as Biswas
  • Sheli Pal as Mokshada
  • Suchita Ray Chaudhury as Khenti
  • Sandhya Roy as Chutki
  • Mrityunjay Sil as Ajay (Cameo)[2]
  • Reception[edit]


Vincent Canby of The New York Times called the film "moving" and "elegiac". He remarks that the film "has the impact of an epic without seeming to mean to" and noted various connections with Ray's own Apu Trilogy (in its casting of Chatterjee and in it being an adaptation of another Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay novel). "It is, however, very different from those early films" he writes, "It is the work of a director who has learned the value of narrative economy to such an extent that "Distant Thunder," which is set against the backdrop of the "manmade" famine that wiped out 5 million people in 1943, has the simplicity of a fable."[4] Tom Milne of Time Out calls the film "[d]istant thunder, indeed; a superb film."[5] Dennis Schwartz gave the film an A- and called it "[a] gentle humanist film that informs the world that over five million died of starvation and epidemics in Bengal."[6] Jay Cocks writing for TIME echoes Canby's assessment of it as a "fable", writing: "Distant Thunder has the deliberate, unadorned reality of a folk tale, a fable of encroaching, enlarging catastrophe." He calls the film "superb and achingly simple [...] Numbers as huge as ["5 million"] can be dangerous. A tragedy of such magnitude becomes an event abstracted by arithmetic. But Ray's artistry alters the scale. His concentrating on just a few victims of the famine causes such massive loss to become real, immediate. Ray makes numbers count."[7]


Legacy[edit]

In 2012, filmmaker Amit Dutta included the film in his personal top ten (for "The Sight & Sound Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time" poll).[8]

Awards[edit]
Berlin International Film Festival
 
Last edited:

PradoTLC

SENIOR MEMBER
Mar 17, 2007
3,504
1
4,110
Country
Pakistan
Location
United Arab Emirates
cool... I taught they supplied under wear garments to the film or something
 

Riyad

FULL MEMBER
Jul 30, 2015
1,425
-5
1,683
Country
Bangladesh
Location
Bangladesh
The actress Bobita played central character. This was the proud moment for Bangladeshis when such a high profile internationally famous director cast her in central role. She is pride of Bangladesh.



Ashani Sanket: Satyajit Ray's study of Bengal's great famine, and vulnerability of human spirit
Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

Jan 07, 2018 11:53:31 IST


Editor's note: In a prolific career spanning nearly four decades, Satyajit Ray directed 36 films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts. His films have received worldwide critical acclaim and won him several awards, honours and recognition — both in India and elsewhere. In this column starting 25 June 2017, we discuss and dissect the films of Satyajit Ray (whose 96th birth anniversary was this May), in a bid to understand what really makes him one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century.

**

Satyajit Ray began his film career with Pather Panchali, an adaptation of a section of the novel of the same name by veteran Bengali writer Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay — who Ray often described as the perfect novelist, primarily because in adapting the latter’s works, Ray had to do very little. Bibhutibhushan’s novels were written with such great and immaculate visual detailing that they almost worked as screenplays. Add to this the fact that rarely in the literary horizon of Bengal has an author been able to paint such a beautiful portrait of the relationship between man and nature as Bibhutibhushan had done.

After adapting various segments of the author’s novels in making three films (the two other being Aparajito and Apur Sansar), Ray had been thinking of going back to Bibhutibhushan, from as early on as 1961. The novel he had in mind was a particularly striking one, and it had moved him immensely. But it was not until 1973 that he actually began working on it. That year, Satyajit Ray made Ashani Sanket (The Distant Thunder) – Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s tragic tale set in the backdrop of the notorious 1943 man-made famine of Bengal that claimed the lives of more than five million men, women and children.


Still from Satyajit Ray's Ashani Sanket

Gangacharan Chakraborty is a Brahmin priest who has recently come to live in a village in Bengal with his beautiful wife Ananga. Along with priesthood, Gangacharan also plans to open a school in the village, and to treat ailing patients to supplement his income. Although his competencies are questionable, there is virtually nobody in the village to question him — he being the only Brahmin in the village. Gangacharan is having the time of his life, as a one-eyed man in a village of blind men is expected to have. The villagers literally worship him, and his food, clothes and other day-to-day necessities are all supplied to him as gifts and tokens of gratitude. Gangacharan is careful not to exploit the villagers though, because he knows that it is on their reverence that his livelihood depends. His wife, Ananga, on the other hand, is very amiable in nature and mixes quite freely with the womenfolk of the village, within the confines of caste rules. There is not a shred of animosity in the system, and the respect the Brahmin couple has earned seems completely deserving. Life is idyllic in the tiny village, but not for long.

The war is at its peak, there are warplanes patrolling overhead, children are cheering at them, women bathing in the tranquil village pond admire them, and amidst such innocent circumstances, the first glimpse of impending doom is seen in the form of a wizened old Brahmin gentleman (played brilliantly by the veteran character actor Gobindo Chakraborty) who walks in from the neighbouring village with news of a scarcity of rice, seeking a hearty meal for himself in turn. Before you know it, the crisis spreads like wild fire, and the village grocer announces that he does not have a supply of rice. Prices of all other food items soar in no time, till they become unaffordable. And bit by bit, the innocence of the village slowly begins to crumble before Gangacharan and Aanga’s eyes. The men worry at first, and then stoop to looting and rioting. The women are forced to hunt for snails from the pond and eat them, or to walk miles into a dense forest to dig up wild potatoes. The age old adage of homo homini lupus (man is wolf to man) comes true once again, and while hoarders try to take advantage of the hunger of the poor villagers, some women are forced to sell more than their souls to lusting men in return for a meal. Gangacharan now realises that people’s reverence takes a backseat in the face of insatiable hunger, and that he himself has been reduced to a commoner, hunting for a fistful of rice.

Soumita Chatterjee plays the role of the unsuspecting Brahmin priest Gangacharan, who despite being cautious in holding his fort in the village, fails to see the catastrophe racing towards him. He is mildly vain at first, thankful for his privilege as well, but towards the end of the film, he is shown his place, till he becomes one with everyone else in the village in the final scene of the film. Bangladeshi actress Babita is stunning as the Brahmin priest’s wife Ananga, her charm almost costing her her life. She is the epitome of domesticity, and although she is bound by the rules of the caste system prevalent in the society she inhabits, she is neither unkind nor inhuman to those around her. Veteran Bengali actress Sandhya Mukherjee plays the role of Chutki — the bubbly, proud, fiery village belle, who is ultimately forced by dire circumstances to sell her body to a local brickyard manager in exchange of food. Every single character in the film plays his or her role perfectly, and in beautiful harmony.

The most striking aspect of Ashani Sanket is the role nature plays in the film. There, in that scenic village, nature continues to remain as beautiful as ever, with serene ponds, pretty butterflies frolicking in the mud, ants and dragonflies going about their business, lovely flowers blooming — thus highlighting the fact that the tragedy brought upon the village was not unleashed by the fury of nature, and that it was entirely artificial and man-made. Another salient feature of the film is that except in its final scene, not even once does Ray make any sort of reference — veiled or otherwise — to the poverty of the people. The village is shown as a happy place before the onslaught of the crisis, but as soon as the famine does arrive, people begin to lose all sense of proportions, and understandably so. It is this realisation — that such a sudden, radical and unthinkable decline of human values can actually happen in the face of decimation — that truly sets Ashani Sanket apart as a study of the great famine of Bengal, and of the vulnerability of the human spirit.

Bhaskar Chattopadhyay is an author and translator. His translations include 14: Stories That Inspired Satyajit Ray, and his original works include the mystery novels Patang, Penumbra and Here Falls The Shadow.

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

Updated Date: Jan 10, 2018 10:52:52 IST

https://www.firstpost.com/entertain...of-vulnerability-of-human-spirit-4290773.html
 

Joe Shearer

PROFESSIONAL
Apr 19, 2009
24,202
143
40,051
Country
India
Location
India
@Riyad

I hope you have seen the movie; it is stunning. Satyajit Ray's attention to detail came out during the filming, when he tutored Saumitra on the way villagers with shoes on walk, a high-stepping walk quite unlike the glide that city folks use on their pavements and sidewalks. Bobita played her part with smooth professionalism; whatever happened to her?

This was a man-made famine, the last of those occurring under British rule; the first, the great famine of 1770, was also in Bengal, and killed one-third of the residents of the province of Bengal. Churchill was perhaps the single most responsible person; slightly over 4 million Bengalis died in this. By contrast, Hitler killed 6 million Jews, and perhaps 2 million gypsies.

According to Shashi Tharoor, who did some research for his monograph Inglorious Empire, perhaps some 35 million Indians (=South Asians) died unnecessarily in famines under the British. When the British talk about the benefits that they brought to South Asia, it arouses nausea.
 

Riyad

FULL MEMBER
Jul 30, 2015
1,425
-5
1,683
Country
Bangladesh
Location
Bangladesh
cool... I taught they supplied under wear garments to the film or something
She also played opposite your country's actor Nadeem.
@Riyad

I hope you have seen the movie; it is stunning. Satyajit Ray's attention to detail came out during the filming, when he tutored Saumitra on the way villagers with shoes on walk, a high-stepping walk quite unlike the glide that city folks use on their pavements and sidewalks. Bobita played her part with smooth professionalism; whatever happened to her?
Bobita is 64 now. Does she even look 64?



She was the most beautiful actress of her time and did many memorable films. She did some international films in joint production but her only 'pure' international film was Satyajit Ray's Ashani Shangket. She is considered an international actress beacuse of this film. Yes, I have watched the film in youtube and its wonderful film. Bobita made us proud that she played the central role in a film by world famous director. Generally when a foreign actor act in any film the focus is on local actors and the foreign actor got sidelined but in this film Bobita, a 'foreign actress' got the most importance and the other actress got sidelined.

Bangladeshi film industry was the 'main' industry of Bengali cinema. Kolkata based industry produced only some couple of films but Bangladeshi industry was the backbone of Bengali cinema which lost its position slowly in 90's.

Bobita also did film with Pakistani hero Nadeem in an Indo-Bangla-Pakis joint venture film, 'Gehri Choot'. She is truly an icon of our country.

 

vishwambhar

FULL MEMBER
Jan 22, 2020
1,064
-9
739
Country
India
Location
India
Satyajit Ray was a great filmmaker..... I have watched almost all his movies....I didn't know that central character Bobita actress of this movie was Bangladeshi....

Satyajit Ray always had a special place for Bangladesh in his heart.... when he died I had read a long article on him in local newspaper which said that he had a dream to make a new film totally shot in Bangladesh and with Bangladesh artists which unfortunately couldn't be accomplished due to his health problems.....
 

Riyad

FULL MEMBER
Jul 30, 2015
1,425
-5
1,683
Country
Bangladesh
Location
Bangladesh
Satyajit Ray was a great filmmaker..... I have watched almost all his movies....I didn't know that central character Bobita actress of this movie was Bangladeshi....

Satyajit Ray always had a special place for Bangladesh in his heart.... when he died I had read a long article on him in local newspaper which said that he had a dream to make a new film totally shot in Bangladesh and with Bangladesh artists which unfortunately couldn't be accomplished due to his health problems.....

He considered making a film on Bangladesh but scrapped the plan later.
------
Ray considered making a film on the Bangladesh Liberation War but later abandoned the idea. He said that, as a filmmaker, he was more interested in the travails of the refugees and not the politics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyajit_Ray


Not many in Bangladesh perhaps know that Satyajit Ray had wanted to make a film out of eminent Bangladeshi writer Selina Hossain's novel “Hangar Nodi Grenade” and written a number of letters to her requesting her to keep the book for his proposed project and not give it to anyone else. Ray had liked the novel very much, as seen in one of his letters to Selina Apa. But for some reasons, Ray could never make time to come over to Dhaka and make the film, according to his letters. It was by chance that I came to know of this when this writer met Selina Apa at the Bangla Academy, where she was an Assistant Director, in Dhaka a day after Ray died and we were discussing his films.

https://www.thedailystar.net/news-detail-255991
 
Last edited:

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Top