Five Buddhadeb Dasgupta films that are essential viewing for Indian film lovers


It is more of a fable in that respect. And it’s all done with a sense of self-effacing, almost ribald humour. After all, the stalwart of Bengali cinema has made some really pertinent films on the Naxalite movement too. He squats and starts taking a dump. He won’t compromise on the last shard of dignity that he has left in his life. A still from Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s film Charachar. She is the embodiment of hope and pragmatism of the future. And in the most subversive manner, it talks about sexual liberation of the oppressed. Grihajuddha talked about the Naxalite movement, which shaped the consciousness of a generation of Bengalis, through the eyes of its female protagonist. He is truly one of those filmmakers you’ll relate to if you love film itself, rather than its surface aspects such as story and stars. (Photo: Express Archive)
In Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s highly-regarded 1992 film Tahader Katha, a freedom fighter, Sibnath (Mithun Chakraborty) is released after 11 years of incarceration for murdering a British officer. Don't Miss These StoriesThe Family Man makers on season three: Always knew where we were heading, will address Covid-19Buddhadeb Dasgupta (1944-2021): A poet at heart whose cinema was a mix of realism, lyricismWhen Raveena and Karisma were tied up by Salman, Aamir on Andaz Apna Apna setsClick here for more

When he wanted to, the self-confessed proponent of magic-realism in Bengali cinema could pack in layers of information in his frames, elevating a scene to almost subliminal level. We can’t always distinguish reality from dreams in this film shot in the stark landscape of Purulia. Nirupama (Mamata Shankar), who loses her brother to the movement, is much more than a passive receptor of fate. Also read |Buddhadeb Dasgupta (1944-2021): A poet at heart whose cinema was a mix of realism, lyricism
Bagh Bahadur (1989)
The film that bought him national recognition is adorned with a career-defining performance by Pawan Malhotra, who plays a bahurupee (a traditional rural Bengal dance form) dancer, Ghunuram, whose act as a bagh (tiger), is challenged when a travelling circus with a newly-captured leopard visits his village. The tale of Lati (Samata Das), the runaway daughter of a sex worker, unfolds in a finely etched, familiar world even as they are governed by a magical yet unsettling dream logic. Here is a list of Buddhadeb Dasgupta films that makes for essential watching. In one of his most underrated film, Buddhadeb Dasgupta tells you about Lakha, a bird-catcher, who is driven by great empathy for the creatures he traps. Grihajuddha (1982) https://images.indianexpress.com/2020/08/1×1.png
Released in the 1980s, starring his favourites Mamata Shankar and Anjan Dutta, Grihajuddha could have been easily mistaken for a Mrinal Sen film. Made right after the Graham Staines murders, it earned its share of controversies because of the way it mirrors the case. Suddenly, Sibnath wobbles away to the corner of the frame, clutching his dhoti. His journey home along with is friend, Bipin (Deepanker De), is composed of trademark Buddhadeb Dasgupta shots. “In the beginning, when they would torture me like this, I would think of my motherland. He also had that rare gift of letting us believe that his characters are actually a part of the landscapes that he so lovingly captured. Charachar (1993)
What happens when a poet becomes a bird-catcher? We are comforted by its sense of timelessness. Ghunuram, who is also a migrant labourer, wants to hold on to the respect that the generational art form he has mastered offers him. Buddhadeb deftly handles themes of displacement and loneliness in this film, but his stand here is more political than ever. That they are (or could be) one with the nature. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App. Written by Premankur Biswas
| Kolkata |

June 10, 2021 4:25:54 pm

Buddhadeb Dasgupta on the sets of his hit film Bagh Bahadur. He continues his reverie-like narration of his years in the prison while taking a dump. Though Charachar is probably one of his most poetic films, Buddhadeb Dasgupta ensures that we fall easily into its premise. But Buddhadeb, who was only a few films old when he made this, ensured Grihajuddha was unlike any other film dealing with the issue. At one level, it talks about fundamentalism and how it spreads its tentacles in our society. (Photo: Express Archive)
Uttara (2000)
Probably the most evocative film in his oeuvre, Uttara is laden with symbolism. Glorious long shots of the men, almost reduced to a speck, against the startling rural Bengal landscape. But Uttara is much more than that. It talks about the bond between two wrestlers, which is challenged when a woman enters their lives. But life has other plans for him. When Bipin asks him what’s wrong, Sibnath matter-of-factly replies that he has no control over his bowel movement after years of his rectum being violated. Mondo Meyer Upakhyan (2002)
Set in a brothel in the middle of nowhere, Mondo Meyer Upakhyan is a perfect example of the undiluted magic-realism style of his later films. 📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards. Then slowly I started losing my mind. © IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd His wife, Sari, is driven to the brink because he simply refuses to indulge in worldly matters. I would imagine I am taking my wife while being tortured.”
In a span of a few minutes, Buddhadeb takes you to deepest, darkest corners of his protagonist’s mind, while showing you how the trauma has affected him physically. It says how toxic masculinity shapes a flawed, stilted society.