50 years of Satyajit Ray’s Nayak
2016 will always be a special year. Satyajit Ray’s iconic film Nayak turned 50 this year. It’s counted among one of Ray’s finest works. Nayak was Uttam Kumar’s first film with the master filmmaker. The film was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. This year, we also celebrated the 50th birth anniversary of Bengali’s favourite sleuth Feluda, created by Ray. Sandip Ray paid tribute to the sleuth through his film, Double Feluda, which was based on two Feluda stories.
No child’s play
From passengers on local trains to officegoers to school students and housewives, everybody spoke about two children this year —Bhootu (Arshiya Mukherjee) and Potol (Hiya Dey). They became household names, courtesy the popularity of their serials Bhootu and Potol Kumar Gaanwala. While Bhootu plays an adorable ghost, who tries to solve the problems of the tenants, Potol is a singing prodigy in search of her father. These two children single-handedly gave tough competition to the popular saas-bahu dramas. They were also much in demand for inauguration of Durga Puja pandals and award functions this year.
Spilt wide open
This year a number of Bollywood love stories ended on a bitter note. Back home, Tollywood too saw its share of high-profile breakups. The year started with gossip mills speculating Rahul and Priyanka’s split. The couple had started their film careers together, tied the knot and became parents to adorable Sohoj. However, it’s said the entry of an ‘actress’ in Rahul’s life changed their equation. Though actress Mimi Chakraborty and Raj Chakraborty never accepted their relationship publicly, everyone knew about their much publicised split. Their breakup, in fact, remained one of the most-talked about topics this year. Apparently, Mimi befriended Turkish Melih Gulhan Kızılkaya while shooting for Birsa Dasgupta’s Gangster. Now, industry insiders inform that Raj is seeing actress Subhashree and they plan to tie the knot in 2017. Also, rumour has it that there’s trouble in Koel Mullick and Nispal Singh’s paradise.
Bengalis are increasingly making their presence felt in Bollywood. This year, director Aniruddha Roy Choudhury impressed everyone with his thumping Bollywood debut, Pink. He directed Amitabh Bachchan in the drama, which went onto become one of the most-talked about films of 2016. The film also marked the debut of Bengali editor Bodhaditya Banerjee in Bollywood. Srijit Mukherji too made his B-Town debut and roped in actor Vidya Balan to play the protagonist in his debut Hindi film, Begum Jaan. The film is a remake of his 2015 Bengali film Rajkahini. Saswata Chatterjee’s appearance in Anurag Basu’s next is also being talked about. Then there’s Kharaj Mukherjee, who never ceases to surprise. Kharaj and Tota played important characters in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani 2. Tota has also bagged the lead role in Madhur Bhandarkar’s next. Director Bauddhayan Mukherji of Teenkahon fame made his directorial debut in Bollywood with The Violin Player.
Paying tribute to Uttam Kumar
The entire Bengali film industry stood up and took notice when A-listers such as Prosenjit Chatterjee, Paoli Dam and Tonushree Chakraborty, decided to work on a television series based on the life of matinee idol Uttam Kumar. Titled Mahanayak, the series courted controversy when industry insiders and yesteryear actresses such as Sabitri Chatterjee and Supriya Devi, spoke against the authenticity of the subject matter.
Break ke baad
This year will always remain special for Bengali cinelovers. Shiboprosad Mukhopadhyay and Nandita Roy managed a casting coup. They roped in Prosenjit Chatterjee and Rituparna Sengupta, one of the most popular pairs in Bengali cinema, in their film Praktan. Prosenjit and Rituparna reunited on the big screen after 14 years. Dev and Subhashree also teamed up after three years in Kaushik Ganguly’s Dhumketu after their breakup. The film, however, is yet to see the light of the day.
Feluda vs Byomkesh
Everyone raised an eyebrow when Sandip Ray replaced Abir Chatterjee with Sabyasachi Chakraborty in Double Feluda. Most thought that Sabyasachi would be too old to play Feluda. Many also speculated the real reason behind Sandip Ray replacing Abir. The director, however, has said that he didn’t want the same actor to play both Byomkesh Bakshi and Felu Mitter. The so-call battle got more interesting when both films (Byomkesh Pawrbo and Double Feluda) released on the same day.