Every winter Kolkata, the city of slime, grime, chaos and cholbe naa, turns charming. This year as the cold winds have started blowing and the bakers have spread their produce in the city markets before Christmas, there is a special attraction to spread the chills and cheer - ghosts.
“Amake Rabibar sandhebela duto bhoot din. Oporey (Two ghosts for Sunday evening for me please. Upstairs),” a septuagenarian Sephali Mitra said as she peeped into the counter and extended a Rs. 500 note inside. As the bookings opened for Sunday, Mitra rushed to book her tickets for Sandip Ray’s film Jekhane Bhooter Bhoi. By 2 pm on Friday most of the tickets for two shows on Sunday were almost fully booked.
A bespectacled middleaged man from neighbouring Panditia wouldn’t even wait in the queue. He hailed an agent, whispered something in his ear and thrust some money into his hand. “I got a 007 to do the work for me,” he told the man as the agent vanished inside the hall and emerged after a few minutes clutching the tickets the man had asked for.
The theme was set this summer itself, when spirits captivated the city audience with Bhooter Bhobisyot. The film painted a grim picture for the spirits inhabiting Kolkata. However, Anik Dutta’s film signaled a great future for spirits in the box office and directors lined up stories of ghosts for the silver screen for a hungry audience.
A few weeks later, the city almost had a brush with real life ghosts when locals started whispering about a ghost appearing in the middle of the newly inaugurated Nager Bazar flyover at Dumdum. The rumour of the flyover spirit did the rounds for quite a few days with rationalist associations rushing to the spot to prove there was no ghost.
The last few years were completely enchanting for the city film buffs hooked onto a series of spooky flicks including Gonsaibaganer Bhoot (2011) directed by Nitish Roy and a number of small budget ghost films including Sanghamitra Chowdhury directed The Bhoot of Rosevilla (2010), Mayabazar (2012) directed by Joydeep Ghosh, Ek Je Chilo Bhooter Chhana (2012) by Samar.
And now as the city enters the season of festivity, the charm is accentuated by the arrival of another film that revolves around ghosts. “People love watching fun films made on ghosts. It’s been proved with the massive hit of Bhooter Bhobishyat. The market of Jekhane Bhooter Bhoy is great since its release on Friday,” a ticket seller at Mitra theatre said.