The Bengali film industry has been going through a dull phase this year. So much so, that in the last eight months, only Shiboprosad Mukhopadhyay and Nandita Roy’s Praktan (released on May 27) has been a hit. Given the abysmal result of the other films at the box-office, Tollywood was looking forward to an eventful weekend with the release of three big banner films, Arindam Sil’s Eagoler Chokh, Anjan Dutt’s Hemanta and Ashok Dhanuka’s Shikari, on August 12.
However, in the second week, it seems Saswata Chatterjee’s swag and style as inspector Shabor Dasgupta has impressed the audience the most. In the first week of its release, the public has picked Eagoler Chokh over Anjan Dutt’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
In the second week, too, Hemanta and Indo-Bangladesh production Shikari are failing to hold onto the interest of the audience in Kolkata. However, trade pundits say it’s too early to call Eagoler Chokh ‘a hit’.
Subhasis Ganguli, regional director (East), Inox said Eagoler Chokh is performing well. “We are happy with the way the film has fared in the first week. It is doing better than Hemanta,” he said.
Unfortunately, Hemanta is only running at Inox South City in the second week, given the film’s poor footfall at other Inox properties.
A lot was riding on Shikari, which marks the debut of Shakib Khan, who is a superstar in Bangladesh, in Tollywood. Shakib and Srabanti’s pair was being talked about before the film released. But the audience gave their thumbs down to the film. A spokesperson of Indira, a theatre in south Kolkata, said, “Shikari is running at our theatre at 12.15 pm, but it’s managing to fill only 30-40 seats in the 280-seater auditorium.”
However, the situation is different in the districts and Bangladesh. Ashok Dhanuka, producer of the film, claimed Shikari has broken all box-office records in Bangladesh in the last 20 years. “Shakib is a new hero in Tollywood and it will take time for the Kolkata audience to make him their own,” said Dhanuka.
Undoubtedly, Sil is a happy man. Ebar Shabor, the first film in the Shabor Dasgupta franchise, went onto become the first hit of 2015. “Eagoler Chokh has pocketed more than Ebar Shabor’s total collection in 10 days. Since the day of release, the film is going houseful at Nandan,” said the filmmaker.
Meanwhile, Anjan Dutt was under pressure to deliver a hit with Hemanta given that his last two non-Byomkesh Bakshi films, Sesh Bole Kichu Nei and Ganesh Talkies didn’t work at the box office. While Parambrata Chatterjee is receiving rave reviews for his strong portrayal of Hemanta, a character modeled on Hamlet, the numbers haven’t been satisfying. “Bengali audience no longer wants to watch films, which make them think. Today, Bengali audiences are bent on proving that they are fools,” rued Dutt.
Watch the trailer of Eagoler Chokh: