Your friendly neighbourhood Bengali can dissect a film and its frames as fast and fine as s/he can dissect an ilish maach. S/he will take it apart in no time, pointing out the flaws in the fish or the freeze frame, and how the baajaar (both the film and fish baajaar, obviously) sold quality stuff back in the ol’ days.
3. Ghare Baire (1984):
Memorise this sentence: “The characters’ intimate struggles within and without in the backdrop of Bengal Partition is beautifully depicted.” Before anyone prods you further, throw in a bit of trivia – “It was Jennifer Kendal’s (Shashi Kapoor’s wife) last film appearance” – and exit the scene.
4. Mahanagar (1963):
Form sentences with the following words: lower to middle-class lives, urban reality and women’s economic freedom. Again, before the other person tries to ask you further details, fling another Bollywood fun fact at them: Did you know Mahanagar was Jaya Bachchan’s first ever film appearance as a teenager? Yes, that’s right, you philistines. Even before – much before – Guddi (1971)!
5. Kanchenjungha (1962):
Set them up by saying how these days ‘Bolly filmmakers’ don’t use black and white enough. Insert generic chit chat about the difference between colour and B&W format. Then give the example of Kanchenjungha – Ray’s first film in colour – which showed he could give the same “treatment” to story and screenplay irrespective of format. (Never say ‘Ray could handle’, ALWAYS say ‘treatment’).
Bonus: Whip out your smartphone and show them the image of Ray with Akira Kurosawa together in Japan. THAT’S how big he was.
From HT Brunch, September 6
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