Saturday, December 17, 2011

Char Adhyay

Bengali film based on a short book by India's Nobel Laureate (in Literature) Rabindranath Tagore.
The name means Four Chapters - but was not presented in  continuous Time-line, chopping and mixing different times-- took me and the girl sitting next to me a while to figure even that out. We both thought the photography was good and she particularly liked the shots involving reflections on/in water - whatever symbolism missing me entirely- thought it tried too hard to be 'arty'.
I liked the poetic touches and thought some of the observations then are still applicable to today.
The Plot is basically the young idealistic Indians, drawn into the Resistance movement against the British (action supposedly taking place in the 1930's, but actual live scenes with Gandhi - occuring in the mid-40's stuck in) are themselves manipulated by a seemingly self-centred Leader who increasingly crosses the line of Civil Liberties such as making them marry people they may not have wanted to, using crime like stealing for money to fund Political Activities-- resulting in an elderly widow being killed.
One of the Leader's most useful gofers is Ela, an attractive dedicated young woman - reminded me a bit of that Olga person in Brazil's murky past.  Part of her duties seem to be to reel in young men to The Cause and she ends up falling for a Poet who later is disgusted with things that he has to do and plans to leave - she realises that she loves him and begs him to take her with him but as he himself don't know where he'll go and what he'll do he declines. With the constant flashbacks it seemed as if alternate endings were presented - that one where he leaves and another where it seems he goes to warn her that she's about to be eliminated as she knows too much and she's incurred the wrath of The Leader by disobeying orders to leave the Poet alone, but she tells him that she would prefer to die by his hand. Maybe even an odd scene where a man in a white outfit is shot in a quiet little village.
Feeling rather old and jaded I couldn't quite empathise why people would suspend their personal moral values to be enthralled by a charismatic leader. Pragmatic Guyanese- to use a description by Rahul Bhattarcharya in his book:  In the Sly Company of People who Care- 'Coolies and slaves celebrating getting buggered' - now being so cynical wouldn't give you the time of day if there's nothing in it for them- whole New Era!

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