FREE FROM NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS, ‘BHUVAN SHOME’ IS AN UNDISPUTED MASTERWORK - The Daily Guardian
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FREE FROM NARRATIVE CONVENTIONS, ‘BHUVAN SHOME’ IS AN UNDISPUTED MASTERWORK

Murtaza Ali Khan

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MUBI is known for bringing cinematic classics back in limelight. The platform has started the New Year 2021 by showcasing a rare gem of Indian cinema, the 1969 classic by the legendary Mrinal Sen, for cinephiles in India as well as abroad. Sen, who was one of the leading filmmakers of India’s Parallel Cinema, made ‘Bhuvan Shome’ with a shoestring budget. Little did he know at the time that over the years the film will become synonymous with his name. ‘Bhuvan Shome’ tells the story of the isolated life of its eponymous character, Bhuvan Shome, which is essayed by the great Utpal Dutt. Shome Sahab, as he is called by the narrator (Amitabh Bachchan making his film debut as the film’s voice narrator) is a Bengali bureaucrat. He is a lonely widower and a strict disciplinarian who has spent his life working for the Indian Railways. He has zero tolerance for the corrupt or the incompetent. As informed by the narrator, once he even went to the extent of firing his own son. ‘Bhuvan Shome’ is widely regarded by film critics and scholars across the world as an important work of cinema. Let’s try and examine its deceptively simple narrative.

At the most basic level, ‘Bhuvan Shome’ can be described as a film about a man’s bird hunting adventure on the shores of Saurashtra—a flourishing region located on the Arabian Sea coast of Gujarat. Bored by his monotonous office routine, one day Shome Sahab decides to go on a bird hunting trip to Saurashtra. The theme of hunting is often associated with the elite, upper-class people trying to overcome their boredom. The bird hunting expedition in ‘Bhuvan Shome’ harks to Jean Renoir’s ‘The Rules of the Game’ (1939).

At another level, the film can be seen as a powerful character study of a strict bureaucrat who finds it difficult to survive the moment he steps outside the comforts of his cocooned existence. The film can also be looked upon as a treatise on human solitude and longing for companionship. Doomed to live in solitude, Shome Sahab, trapped in an alien land, quickly realises that he has inadvertently pushed himself a bit too far out of his comfort zone. It soon becomes a journey of self-realisation for Shome Sahab who gradually learns to appreciate the importance of the human company.

Yet another way to approach ‘Bhuvan Shome’ is as a social commentary on the great rural-urban divide in India. While a powerful bureaucrat like Shome Sahab living in the city is cruel to everyone around him, the people in the village are friendly and helpful even to the strangers. It is also a film about human camaraderie and trust. How a beautiful village girl named Gauri (essayed by Suhasini Mulay) leaves everything aside to help a total stranger whom she sees as her guest. How Shome Sahab begins to blindly trust the young girl during his bird hunting expedition. Now, some have even commented on the undercurrent of eroticism that runs through the movie. While it is quite obvious that Shome Sahab grows fond of the young village girl, there is little in the movie that even obliquely suggests the possibility of any sexual attraction.  

Mrinal Sen’s imaginative direction is brilliantly complemented by K. K. Mahajan’s breathtaking black & white cinematography which gives the movie its soul. Mahajan brilliantly captures the vast expanses of Gujarat’s desert land, even reminding one of the majestic desert scenes from David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962). The extreme close-ups reveal a lot about the characters even before we get to hear them talk. The overhead shots of moving railway tracks, and horse/bullock carts are used to accentuate the toil associated with travel. 

The editing techniques employed in the film are also quite clever. In addition to a couple of impressive montage sequences, the movie uses a lot of jump cuts and freeze-frames. There is a beautiful sequence in ‘Bhuvan Shome’ which deserves a special mention wherein Gauri pretends to be on a swing and the camera strategically zooms in and out on her, imitating the swing action. Vijay Raghav Rao’s musical pieces immensely add to the experience.

A major highlight of the film is Utpal Dutt’s unforgettable performance. Anyone who aspires to become an actor ought to study his performance in the movie very closely. A role as complex as Shome Sahab requires an actor to blend ruthlessness, vulnerability, and tenderness in equal parts, and, Dutt, of course, is up to the task. His eyes, facial expressions and body gestures together communicate a lot more than his verbal delivery. A lesser actor would have made the character look like some caricature, but, Dutt, to his credit, breathes life into it. Also, Suhasini Mulay essays the part of a rustic belle beautifully and her amiable character serves as the perfect foil for Dutt’s mean bureaucrat.

‘Bhuvan Shome’ is an undisputed masterwork of cinema and a testament to Mrinal Sen’s iconoclastic genius. It’s a kind of cinema that’s free from the conventions of plot and structure. Here is a film that can be enjoyed at so many different levels if one is willing to indulge.

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Ryan Gosling to headline ‘The Actor’ movie adaptation

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Washington [US], February 25 (ANI): Hollywood star Ryan Gosling is set to play the lead role in ‘The Actor’, an upcoming adaptation of Donald E Westlake’s novel ‘Memory’.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Duke Johnson will helm the forthcoming movie and produce it with Abigail Spencer under their Innerlight Films production banner.
Gosling, who will also bankroll the film alongside Ken Kao, will play the lead role of Paul Cole, who must deal with his damaged memory as he struggles to rebuild his life after being left for dead and hospitalised in 1950s Ohio.
Gosling’s character Cole will follow a thrilling journey to find home, love, and ultimately himself. Gosling and Kao’s partnership follows their recent project announcements of Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s ‘Project Hail Mary’ at MGM and Leigh Whannell’s ‘Wolfman’ at Universal.
Paul Young is also producing the film through his company Make Good. Apart from helming the film, Johnson co-wrote the screenplay with Stephen Cooney, based on Westlake’s novel.
Meanwhile, Gosling has a number of projects in the pipeline, including Netflix’s ‘The Gray Man’, which also features actor Chris Evans and hails from the Russo brothers.
He will also feature in filmmaker duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s astronaut movie titled ‘Project Hail Mary’ and Leigh Whannell’s ‘Wolfman’ movie. (ANI)

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Tom Holland reveals real ‘Spider-Man 3’ title after trolling fans

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Washington [US], February 25 (ANI): Actor Tom Holland has finally revealed the real title of the third installment in the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise after the star cast of the film trolled fans with their own version of fake titles.
The real title for the latest installment in the superhero franchise is ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’.
Holland took to his Instagram account on Wednesday night to reveal the title of the film. Holland and his co-stars Zendaya and Jacob Batalon appear in a 30-second clip, which begins with Holland walking out of director Jon Watts’ office and lamenting over being given a fake title for the film.
Holland says in the video, “He gave us a fake name again … I just don’t understand why he keeps doing this.”
“You don’t understand? I feel like it’s pretty obvious. You spoil things,” Batalon responds, teasing the star’s reputation for sharing details of the superhero films before they are public knowledge.
“I don’t spoil things. Name me one thing I’ve actually spoiled,” Holland shoots back, as Zendaya chimes in, “The last movie title.”
The camera then zooms in on a whiteboard displaying a number of potential titles, with ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ featured at the centre.
The upcoming film is slated to release on December 17, this year. On Tuesday, Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon had posted never-before-seen stills from the upcoming movie – and announced three different titles.
Holland’s suggested title read ‘Phone Home’, referring to the 1982 film ‘E.T.’, Zendaya’s was ‘Home Slice’ and Batalon’s featured the title ‘Home-Wrecker’.
‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ also features actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Marvel mainstay Doctor Strange and is rumoured to delve into the multiverse as it will also unite separate generations of Spider-Man films.
Alfred Molina, who played Doctor Octopus in Tobey Maguire’s ‘Spider-Man 2’, will appear. So will Jamie Foxx, playing Electro, the villain he portrayed in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which starred Andrew Garfield.
Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have written the script for the forthcoming Marvel film.
Filmmaker Jon Watts has helmed the upcoming movie after directing ‘Spider-Man Homecoming’ (2017) and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ (2019), which earned more than USD 1.1 billion globally, making it the highest-grossing ‘Spider-Man’ movie of all time. (ANI)

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Jack Giarraputo launches creative advertising agency Slice Collective

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Washington [US], February 25 (ANI): American film Producer Jack Giarraputo, whose films have grossed over USD 4B at the global box office, has launched Slice Collective, a full-service creative advertising agency that produces Hollywood-level campaigns for clients around the world.
The company, co-founded with investment banker Abhishek Som (former Lazard, IEG, and Private Equity) is disrupting the industry through global access to top-level creative marketing talent.
Giarraputo said, “We are a Hollywood-based agency with an international roster of creative talent, which leads to new ideas and a fresh perspective on global marketing campaigns. Our international setup enables us to take advantage of cost efficiencies, allowing us to service a growing list of micro targets with effective messaging. We are on the road towards personalized marketing, which was once considered cost-prohibitive but now getting closer to reality.”
Som said, “Our work in the U.S. and beyond has validated the idea that our international creatives can deliver in a way that is just as compelling as their American counterparts.”
Leading the Slice team is Leo Draper, former VP Creative Advertising, Sony Pictures, and StudioCanal executive joined by Nick Herbst, who manages business development.

Additionally, Reliance Entertainment veteran Medha Jaishankar will be serving as media advisor. (ANI)

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Ishaan Khatter shares adorable throwback picture to wish Shahid Kapoor on birthday

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): We all have fond memories from our childhood, and who doesn’t like looking at old pictures with siblings? As Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor turns a year older today, his brother and actor Ishaan Khatter shared a heartwarming birthday wish with an unseen throwback picture to mark the special day.
Ishaan took to Instagram and posted a then and now picture with his ‘bade bhai’ to wish the birthday boy. The ‘Dhadak’ actor shared a collage of two pictures – one from their childhood that features a young Shahid holding Ishaan in his arms. Another picture showed the grown-up sibling duo posing together from their appearance in Karan Johar’s talk show ‘Koffee With Karan’.
Sharing the adorable images, Ishaan wrote a few lines the famous song ‘Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli’. He captioned the post, “Zindagiiiiii kaisi hai paheli haaye. Kabhi toh hasaaye, Kabhi yeh rulaaye. But through it all.. I’ll always love you, bade bhai. Happy birthday.”

Ace filmmaker Zoya Akhtar was among the first ones to comment on the post with a heart emoji. Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana also showered love on the sibling duo with a heart emoji.
Shahid and Ishaan are amongst the cutest brothers in the industry. They always talk fondly of each other and never stop motivating each other and appreciating one another’s performances.
Ishaan, who was recently seen in Mira Nair’s web series ‘A Suitable Boy’ has often expressed his love for his brother. On social media, they keep showering each other’s posts with witty and adorable comments.
Meanwhile, on the work front, Shahid will next be seen in ‘Jersey’, which also features Mrunal Thakur and Pankaj Kapur. The actor will be essaying the role of a cricketer in the film. It is a remake of a Telugu movie of the same name.
On the other hand, Ishaan will next be seen in ‘Phone Bhoot’ co-starring Katrina Kaif and Siddhant Chaturvedi. (ANI)

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HOW KAJOL, AJAY CELEBRATED 22 YEARS OF TOGETHERNESS

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NEW DELHI: Commemorating 22 years of blissful marriage, Kajol and Ajay Devgn on Wednesday shared adorable posts on social media to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ star hopped on to Instagram and shared a cute picture featuring her and Ajay as they can be seen embracing each other’s company on a cruise.

The photo sees a noteworthy moment between the two as Kajol sits on the floor of the deck with her heels off and romantically looks in her husband’s eyes while he reciprocates by smiling back at her. Dressed in an orange long dress, Kajol looks gorgeous in the throwback picture while Ajay looks handsome in a white printed shirt and grey pair of denims.

The much-in-love couple seems to cherish their time on a holiday over the cruise. Explaining why she is staring at her husband, Kajol wrote in the caption, “And you sir, you’re very attractive. Therefore, I will stare at you! – Anonymous & Me. #22years #stillgoing #grateful #laughingalways.”  

Ajay too shared a funny post on Instagram to celebrate his and Kajol’s 22nd wedding anniversary. The couple tied the knot in 1999, and Ajay in his post made a pun on the word ‘bottled’. The ‘Drishyam’ star shared a picture of a bottle of wine with ‘Battled in 1999, only edition’ printed on the label, besides a sketch of the couple. There was a wine glass next to the bottle. The duo was last seen together on screen in the 2020 film ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’. They are parents of 17-year-old Nysa and 10-year-old Yug. 

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AYUSHMANN MEETS SHILLONG YOUTH WHO GATE-CRASHED HIS HOTEL

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Ayushmann Khurrana, who was shooting for Anubhav Sinha’s next titled ‘Anek’ in Shillong, had about 200 youngsters gate-crash his hotel to meet the actor. Ayushmann, who portrays diverse roles with perfection, has built a name for himself in the Hindi film industry by choosing films that are offbeat, unique, and socially relevant.

An eye-witness from Shillong commenting on the incident said, “Post the day’s shoot wrap, Ayushmann returned to the hotel and headed to eat dinner. In 15 minutes, there were about 200-250 college students from Shillong outside the hotel wanting to meet him and he was promptly informed about the same. Ayushmann had just started eating his food but on hearing this, he left his meal and immediately went to the lobby to meet them.”

The source added, “Ayushmann told his team that he didn’t want them to wait for him. He wanted to quickly go down and meet the college students so that they can go to their homes early. Even they were surprised to see Ayushmann coming out so quickly to meet them.”

“They loved his warm and thoughtful gesture and started chanting his name. Ayushmann met each one of them individually and took pictures with them. He made the evening really special for them,” the source further said. According to the Indian Institute of Human Brands survey, India identifies most with Ayushmann as he is currently the ‘Most Relatable Star’ in the country. As an outsider to Bollywood, his journey to stardom is inspiring for the youth of the country who want to dream big without any apprehension. Apart from ‘Anek’, Ayushmann will also be seen in Abhishek Kapoor’s ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’, and Anubhuti Kashyap’s ‘Doctor G’.

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