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. ;)