Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bhuvan Shome

I watched a Bangla movie today. It goes by the name "Bhuvan Shome" and stars Utpal Dutt.
It is like anything Bengali I have ever tasted, heard or read. Sweet, simple and fluid.
It is about a strict Railway Officer (Bhuvan Shome) who gets tired of his everyday drills and decides to go hunting birds. He meets a simple village girl (Gauri) who helps him with his hunting by her amusing ideas (one of them being dressing him up in traditional Gujrathi clothes so that the birds in her village don't identify him as a stranger) and eventually wins his affection. In due course he realizes that she is the wife of one of his corrupt subordinates who is next on his list of dismissals to be done. She tells him that her husband writes to her of some really strict officer called Bhuvan Shome who is very mean and is hell bent on kicking him out of the job. So when he is about to leave the village ( with a bird that faints and falls down not because he hit it right but out of fear of the gunshot), she tells him to request this mean "Bhuvan Shome" to excuse her husband for taking bribes this one time and she would make sure he won't do it again.
He goes back to work and excuses her husband with a light reprimand. :)

I could not believe that a whole movie can be made out of such a simple story.
The girl Gauri ( Suhasini Mulay who is the Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai fame mom) is as fresh as crunchy celery. Dressed up in ghagra with mirrors on it and with her head covered at all times she is able to reach the right places in your heart effortlessly. I could recognize her due to the characteristic tone of her voice.
What transpires between an old aspiring hunter and a little married girl on the brink of womanhood can be painted in a number of ways, just the way it is seen when, by some extraordinary circumstance such a thing happens in real life.
The movie makes you smile to yourself, because it refutes all your commonplace assumptions about how the story will proceed. The story proceeds at her own pace, without seeking your approval and goes on to enchant you only because it does not fit into your primitive framework.

It brought back the days I spent at my grandparent's house as a kid, wearing glass bangles that matched my clothes. When in those hot summer afternoons we used to throw stones at the old and wise Tamarind tree and run inside now and then to dip our shoe-less feet in cold water. When anything four-legged that you picked up on the street used to be your pet for the next few days until it silently disappeared with a jute bag one fine morning.
There were important agendas back then too!
Like collecting the maximum number of marbles over a marble fight, or trying to extend the boundaries of our bicycle rides by a few hundred meters everyday.
Over the years, I guess, our ability to make a harder agenda got better and here I am now, trying to get labeled as "wise" . :)

I have been a fan of Robindrashongeet all my life. Whether it is Tagore music, poetry or Bengali cinema; it carries with it a distinct flavor and personality. It has a lingering presence of the belief that we all try to grow out of to protect ourselves from getting hurt. The belief that makes us think of every person we come across as a "good person" and every thought we think as a "good thought". I think this child-like happiness is a part of everything Bengali I have ever been a part of until now.
Sometimes, these little couplets and songs get you thinking if there is really a need for all the complicated situations that we surrender ourselves to. If life could be lived just as peacefully by the banks of a thoughtful river, why rush into the next 707? :)
If a simple verse and a simple song has the power to make
your day; why seek to broaden your "horizons" ? :)

Just as you think of all of this, you are gently nagged by the unfinished ChemDraw installation and then you get back to work! :(

PS: The Author is currently on a break from her "real job" so readers should expect some literary diarrhea. ;)


sameer said...

well even i luv everything bengali but somehow in our routine life bengali guys make me laugh a lot because of their natural gayish accent;).but as i specifically said dis is d opinion i wud have in my routine,when i scan & judge things according to my range of daily exposure.but when it comes to entertainment i like critics who can absorb the director's ideology and his perspective of cinema and then try to connect wid his creativity.only then can u rightly judge some1's creativity.saee,u being 1 of them is the reason why i believe u've been given the wise status by ur in my view, to hide ur modest philosophy was actually the harder agenda behind it[:p].being a hardcore critic myself,my choice of entertainment wud be simple, with substance n having a strong impact on the mass.
and ya i agree dat we try to grow out of to protect ourselves from getting hurt.which is why mankind symbolise the most mean and self destructive weapon on earth.
u may compare life wid the last few drops of ganga dat we in india have,before setting our soul free.moksh is the ultimate purpose of life and der are principles to achieve moksh,for which we have been gifted life as an opportunity to learn those principles by going thru various twists,turns,ups n downs only to evolve as a better soul.and after going thru all the complications of life when ur able to put together all the lessons, u'll be amazed to know dat the road to moksh was so simple,yet not so every challenge in life is like a chapter and rather than reacting to individual lines n para's of the chapter its important that u finally imbibe the moral of dat chapter in urself and grow as an simple isn't it??? well dats life 4 u hehe:)
actually i'm sorry,at the end of it i realise i've written my own new blog heehee[:p]and saee u r to be blamed for provoking the philoopher in me[:p].anyways it'll be painful 4 me to delete it now so kindly bear it dis time;)..luv u infinte:)

Saee said...

Hey Sam
God! Really you should start writing yourself.
Yes,I think most of the wars and hatred comes not out of anger for others but out of fear of getting hurt in some way.
I had read a few books about Buddhism a few years back. I think the foundation of Buddhism was on this really innocent thought,of being able to see the good and be the good. Ironically when a "following" turns into an "institution" it eventually becomes as common as everything else. But I would really like to look at Buddhism as a way of life. :)
Thanks for the comment and glad you like it!
Love you Loads. :)

Ameya said...

I'm impressed by both...
The blog and Sameer's comment..
I agree.. such a simple story but it carries such a nice philosophy behind it..
Life can be so simple.. away from the rat race,away from the jealousies, away from our principles.. I think the people who can understand and enjoy the simplicity that is hidden behind what we call life are the really lucky ones.. Sometimes its not about 'learnin things',about 'taking lessons'.. but just about taking life as simply as smelling a fragrant flower... without bothering about the thorns.

Saee said...

yeah..and usually life IS that simple. But we go and complicate it for various reasons.
A lot can be learnt without always "trying to learn"

Raj said...

Very nice post. I had seen the movie long long back on doordarshan, but had forgotten everything about it. I have always been abig fan of Bangla movies, especially Satyajit Ray.
The questions posed are quite deep. Is life simple or complicated? I agree that it depends on your point of view. The problem is even the POV depends on ones mood and situation. So sometimes it seems really easy, while at other times complicated.
Talking of simplicity, just came across this one..

Saee said...

Hey Raj!
Thanks for the link. It was great!
Yeah I remember watching Pather Panchali on a Jet Airways flight to London! It was the funniest place to watch a Bengali movie. :)
I have been such a big fan of the language, that before I came here my aai took me on a week long break to Kolkata and the surrounding places. :)

शिरीष said...

Sai,a great post! Bhuvan Shom took all of us into our wonderful nostlegic childhood inocence

We all are born as inocents but the world around us comples us to compromise and tend us to be materealistic.There is a hindi song sung by Mehammood "Na Bap Bada Na Bhaiyya.The Whole Thing is That Ke Bhayya Sabse Bada Ruppaya!"
But after participating in the rat race we realise that the value of money also vanishes after it's threshold limit and we again crave for the childhood inocence.
I think that is why you went into your nostelgic moments of your childhood in Kolhapur.

Sai thanks for your post.You still are the same little girl of your chilhood.
I also thank you for forcing Sameer to write the most beautiful comments on your post.

Sumedha said...

Hi Saee, Liked your blog a lot, poems too! Keep writing :)