Director: Saibal Mitra
Cast: Dhritiman Chatterjee, Arpita Chatterjee
Showcased under the Indian Panorama section of the ongoing International Film Festival of India in Goa, Chitrokar is inspired by the lives of Indian painter Binod Bihari Mukherjee and American painter Mark Rothko.
Directed by Saibal Mitra, Chitrokar questions the motive for art and presents the tension between the artistic endeavour and commercial reality.
Bijan Bose (Dhritiman Chatterjee) is a famous painter gone blind in his old age but respected across the artistic society of Kolkata. He is offered a huge sum of money to make a mural for a restaurant and he agrees. However, when the painting is ready, he is not content with the place and manner in which it is to be displayed. He refuses to compromise for the sake of money and returns all the money and takes back his mural. The film also showcases the style of making art using Braille, which is taught in Shantiniketan.
Saibal has used innovative visual forms to narrate his story - the frames often turn into paintings of Binod Bihari with characters moving on the canvas or a painting itself becomes the frame - giving an aesthetic sense of surrealism to the narrative.
The director had confessed that the movie mirrors his own frustration with the monetary terms on which the film industry runs today. And he succeeds in portraying the artist’s discontent with a mercenary society. thanks to a riveting performance by veteran actor Dhritiman as the blind painter.
Dhritiman Chatterjee and Arpita Chatterjee are subtly passionate in their portrayal of the characters - Dhritiman plays Bijon Bose while Arpita essays the role of a young painter who assists him in making the mural. The duo often locks horns, thanks to the perceived generation gap, showcasing the conflicts within art itself.
Director of photography Asoke Dasgupta has captured the serene beauty of Shantiniketan and nearby areas with earnest sincerity which enriches the film.
Saibal has been working in Bengal film industry since 1977 and has received Bengali Film Journalist Association’s best director award for his short film, Dhakudar Katha (2000). Mitra’s feature films are Sajarur Kanta (The Porcupine Man, 2015), Hononkal (Deadly Times, 2010), Songshoy (The Dilemma, 2005).