Audience embracing content-driven films in Bengal in 2015

  • PTI

    December 27, 2015 | 12:12 PM
Audience embracing content-driven films in Bengal in 2015

Content-driven films of various genre from whodunit thriller, Partition saga to women's fightback tale were wholesomely backed by the audience while formula-masala movies fizzled out after initial release hype in the Bengali film industry in 2015.

Films like director duo Nandita Roy-Shiboprosad Mukhopadhyay's "Belaseshe", the biggest blockbuster of the year and the latest edition of popular fictional sleuth "Byomkesh Bakshi" by veteran Anjan Dutt witnessed 70 per cent occupancy for over a month single in screens and multiplexes.

In stark contrast formula films like "Herogiri", "Kathmundu", "Jamai 420", "Besh Korechhi Prem Korechhi", "Romeo and Juliet" having the typical action-romance-foreign location combination failed to register even over 50 per cent occupancy two weeks into running despite glitzy premieres.

Showing clear preference for author-backed stories, having the 'Bengaliness', a clean narrative and story line, the audience opted for films which were derived from literary works and kept to the basics.

While some films were in the thriller zone (like "Har Har Byomkesh" by Arindam Sil, "Byomkesh Bakshi" by Anjan, "Abar Byomkesh" by Anjan or Badshahi Angti by Sandip Ray), others were typical family dramas like "Belaseshe", inspired by a popular Bengali stage production, and the Partition-themed drama "Rajkahini" by Srijit Mukherjee.

Mounted on a big scale, the visually opulent "Rajkahini" also belonged to the genre of women-centric films talking about the fightback of 13 female sex-workers.

While talking about the 60-day spectacular show of "Byomkesh Bakshi", Anjan Dutt had earlier said that Bengali audiences always preferred films with narratives and hence thrillers or family entertainers have the ability to pull people to theatres.

"While Satyajit Ray had been banking on stories by famous novelists like Bibhutibhusan Bandyopadhya, Sunil Gangopadhyay and Saradindu Bandopadhyay for his films, and Mrinal Sen on Subodh Ghosh and Premendra Mitra, our generation of filmmakers either started writing our own stories or turning to literary works by past masters and the audience are coming back," he had said.

Corroborating his views, writer Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay's fiction "Ebar Shabor", a low-budget film directed by Arindam Sil, on the exploits of an investigator-cop, had over one-monh run at theatres earlier this year, surprising the industry.

The enthused director then took up the story of 'Banhi Patanga' for the ambitious "Har Har Byomkesh" casting popular actor Abir Chatterjee in lead role of sleuth yet again and the film has shown 'sold out' or 'fast filling' in boards at different theatres since it's release two weeks back.

Belaseshe was the biggest blockbuster of the year.