Director: Bikas Ranjan Mishra
Cast: Sanjay Suri, Tannishtha Chaterjee, Anshuman Jha
Away from the big castles in exotic locations, there lays a place called ‘Real India’. Have we ever thought about Dalits killed in our country? Surely not! With baseless erotic entertainers and no brainers minting money with their old wine in new bottle techniques, filmmakers have left behind the essence of Indian cinema. Gone are the days when cinema used to be the medium of growth in society. Anticlock films and director Bikas Ranjan Mishra bring you a portrayal of realism with ‘Chauranga’. The film deals with the issues of caste discrimination.
Santu (Soham Maitra), a little dalit boy whose life is just a mere pleasure with feeding his pets, develops romantic feelings for a young school going girl Mona (Ena Saha), unaware of her cast. Mona is the only daughter of Dhaval (Sanjay Suri), a proud and wealthy zameendaar of the village. Living in the patriarchal Brahmin society, Dhaval is against her daughter being educated. The only ones who encourage Mona are her mother (Arpita Chaterjee) and grand parents played by Swatilekha Sengupta and Dhritiman Chaterjee. Anshuman Jha plays an earnest disciple of Dhaval.
‘Chauranga’ paces up when Santu’s elder brother Bajrangi (Riddhi Sen) returns back from his school for a holiday and Santu finds a way to confess his love to Mona with the help of Bajrangi. Their mother Dhaniya (Tannishta Chaterjee), is also a mistress of the zameendaar Dhaval, who in return sponsors their education. Things become complex when Dhaniya dies accidentally and Dhaval gets to know about Santu’s growing friendship with his daughter. What happens next is something to look forward to.
‘Chauranga’ is a hard-hitting subject that is engaging enough till its climax. Director Bikas Ranjan Mishra’s first feature presentation is rich in its luminous performances and subtle vision to an unexplored issue. Sanjay Suri did a commendable job as a strict wealthy overlord of the village. As a dalit woman, Tannishta Chatterjee not only touches the ground reality of the character, but also made us believe of the current conditions of Dalits in our nation. Young boys Santu and Bajrangi played by Soham Maitra and Riddhi Sen definitely steals the show with their innocence and innate act throughout. Swatilekha Sengupta, Ena Saha, Anshuman Jha and Arpita Chaterjee did a noticeable job as well.
The only character that keeps you suspicious of his presence, is the blind priest played by Dhritiman Chaterjee. Why does he always have that scary look on his face? Why he is so obsessed with his goat ‘Kajri’ that he feeds her himself every night and then tries to squeeze her belly in agony? Why does he touch his grand daughter mysteriously in isolation? Although he promises a confession at the end, it looks like Bikas forgets to complete his story while focusing on the underlining theme of the story. Still this 85-minute feature presentation is worth watching to experience an unusual tale on celluloid.
Ramanuj Dutta beautifully captures the wildlife in the small village set up. Known for making eye-openers like ‘I AM’, ‘My Brother Nikhil’, Sanjay Suri and Onir once again touch the niche audience with a film like ‘Chauranga’, which also has a mass appeal. If you willing to watch this sensible cinematic experience, ‘Chauranga’ is definitely a good pick!
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