For Bengalis, the four-day festival of Durga Puja is the most keenly awaited time of the year. Besides the festivities, pandal hopping and catching up with friends and families; it is also the time when movie goers wait for the special lineup of Pujo releases. In keeping with the tradition of Pujo releases, every year, producers and directors release their best works during this time to attract the most number of viewers.
This year, the reopening of cinema halls after seven months has come at an opportune time for Bengali cinema. The October 15 reopening date is very close to the Durga Puja festivities (starting from October 22) and film makers have lined up 12 films (10 new releases and two re-releases), which are eyeing an October 21 release date.
On Monday, the Calcutta High Court ordered that pujo pandals across West Bengal will be made into no entry zones for public, after expressing apprehension that overcrowding in pandals will lead to an “uncontrollable” rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state during the festive season. While this comes as a massive blow for revellers, it is reason enough for them to flock to theatres and catch the new releases.
Here’s a list of the 10 new releases and two re-releases that are slated to hit the screens on October 21.
1. Dracula Sir
Written and directed by Debaloy Bhattacharya, Dracula Sir features Anirban Bhattacharya, Mimi Chakraborty, Bidipta Chakraborty, Rudranil Ghosh, Samiul Alam, Kanchan Mullick and Supriyo Dutta. Produced by Shrikant Mohta and Mahendra Soni under the banner of Shri Venkatesh Films, the film is a story of school teacher Amol (Bhattacharya), who has a pair of sharp, protruding canines, hence earning the name of ‘Dracula sir’ among his students. The film is set in the backdrop of the Naxal movement in Bengal.
2. Rawkto Rawhoshyo
Soukarya Goshal’s thriller Rawkto Rawhoshyo was supposed release this summer. Produced under the banner of Surinder Films, the movie features Koel Mallick, Lili Chakroborty, Ritobrata Mukhopadhyay and Shantilal Mukhopadhyay among others. The story revolves around Swarnoja (Mallick), who is a radio jockey by profession and lives life by the mantra “Dukkhe jader jibon gora, tader abar kiser dukkho (those whose lives are made from sorrow, what sadness will they have?).” The film centres around her missing child and her quest of finding him. The film also marks Mallick’s first film since she became a mother in May this year.
3. SOS Kolkata
Written and directed by Anshuman Pratyush, SOS Kolkata features Yash Dasgupta, Mimi Chakraborty, Nusrat Jahan, Ena Saha, Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Shantilal among others. Bankrolled by Jarek Entertainment and Pratyush Entertainments, the film is an action thriller about a terrorist attack set in Kolkata. The film shows how the civilians join hands with security personnel to prevent the attack that has been planned as a recreation of the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist attack.
4. Saheber Cutlet
Directed by singer-actor-director Anjan Dutt, Saheber Cutlet features Arjun Chakraborty, Kanchan Mullick, Ambarish Bhattacharya and Anindita Bose in lead roles. Other popular actors in pivotal roles in Saheber Cutlet are Dutt and Sritama Dey. The musical follows the journey of a chef (Chakraborty), who gives up his job, returns to his ancestral home in Chandannagar and opens a restaurant there with the help of the people who have started living at his house. The film is produced by Shyam Sundar Dey, Tanmoy Banerjee and bankrolled under Shadow Films.
Written and directed by Arjunn Dutta, Guldasta stars Arpita Chatterjee, Swastika Mukherjee, Debjani Chattopadhyay and Anubhav Kanjilal. Bankrolled under Roop Entertainments, the film is produced by Ankit Das and Suresh Tolani. Guldasta is a women-centric film, that narrates the story of three female characters- Srirupa (Chatterjee), Renu(Chattopadhyay) and Dolly (Mukherjee)- whose lives are interwoven with each other, referred to as three flowers in a guldasta (bouquet) that is their love.
6. Love Story
Directed by Rajiv Kumar, Love Story stars Bonny Sengupta, Rittika Sen, Reshmi Sen, Rajat Ganguly along with Supriyo Dutta, Swagata Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in pivotal roles. Produced by Surinder Films, the film is a remake of 2014 Tamil romantic thriller Amara Kaaviyam, written and directed by Jeeva Shankar and produced by Arya. The film marks the sixth film of Sengupta and Sen.
Directed by Indranil Ghosh, brother of National Award winning late director Rituparno Ghosh, Shironam stars Jisshu Sengupta, Swastika Mukherjee, Anjan Dutt, Saswata Chatterjee and Shantilal Mukhopadhyay in lead roles. The film revolves around journalists Abhin and Anandi who decide to cover a terrorist, which changes their lives. Abhin, a cameraman at a prominent news channel, sets his aim at uncovering his elusive foe’s identity that leads him to grave danger. With their lives upturned, Anandi decides to step in. The directorial debut of Ghosh, Shironam was officially selected at the Madrid International Film Festival after getting selected at the Hyderabad Bengali Film Festival. It has been nominated at the London International Motion Pictures Award as well.
8. Ebhabei Golpo Hok
Directed by Rohan Sen, Ebhabei Golpo Hok, a Bengali drama, features Rupanjana Maitra, Ananda Sankar Choudhury, Joy Sengupta and Bibriti Chatterjee in pivotal roles. The story revolves around Avijit Mukherjee (played by Sengupta), who is a filmmaker known for his thrillers which are all commercial failures. He discovers a romantic novel that seems to match with the storyline of a romantic film he wishes to make and so begins his hunt for the novel’s writer.
9. Doodh Pither Gachh
Directed by Ujjwal Basu, Doodh Pither Gaachh features Damini Benny Basu, Kaushik Roy, Shibani Maity, Harshil Das, Riya Das, Debangana Gon and others. The film is yet another in list of summer releases that had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 and the consequent lockdown. Funded by about 920 Aranghata villagers in Nadia district, this film showcases rural life and follows the dreams of village boy Gour (played by Harshil Das), who sows a pithe (rice cake) into soil and waits for it to grow into a pithe tree.
10. Cholo Potol Tuli
After nearly a decade’s labour and wait, Cholo Potol Tuli – the big screen adaptation of the successful Bengali play of the same name, will get a theatre release this Durga Puja. Produced by Shaonli Mazumdar and presented by Pastel Entertainments, director Arindam Ganguly has retained the entire original cast – Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Kheyali Dastidar, Kharaj Mukhopadhyay, Aparajita Addya, Rimjhim Mitra. The new members that have joined the team are actor Gaurav Chakraborty and the director himself. The film is a social satire depicted through slapstick comedy, combined with several short stories by popular Bengali writer Shibram Chakraborty based in the 1950s.
Two films that are re-releasing this Durga puja:
11. Brahma Jaanen Gopon Kommoti
Directed by Aritra Mukherjee, bankrolled under Windows Production, Brahma Jaanen Gopon Kommoti features Ritabhari Chakraborty, Soham Majumdar, Soma Chakraborty, Ambarish Bhattacharya, Manasi Sinha, and Subhasish Mukherjee. While the film is based on real-life female priest Nandini Bhowmick; Chakrabarty portrays the role of Hindu priest and Sanskrit lecturer Shabari (Chakraborty), who finds herself in a challenging situation after her marriage and tries to break out of the traditional, patriarchal stereotypes that women are expected to follow. Produced by Windows Production, the film was initially released as a Women’s Day special in March, just days ahead the lockdown forced all theatres to close.
12. The Parcel
Directed by Indrasis Acharya, produced by actor Rituparna Sengupta and Krishna Kyal, The Parcel stars Sengupta, Saswata Chatterjee, Anindya Chatterjee and Ambarish Bhattacharya in lead roles. The film also features Sreela Majumdar and Pradip Mukherjee as supporting characters. The film is a mystery psychological thriller that revolves around a doctor-couple (played by Sengupta and Chatterjee). Nandini, the protagonist (Sengupta), starts receiving mysterious parcels from an anonymous sender which leads to a psychosis in her mind.