Oh Please No

[Full of Bengali pop-culture references. Caveat to the non-Bengalis]

Not that I support the fatwa on Salman Rushdie, but for the first few seconds of my Saturday morning, I wanted to become the Ayatollah. That is when I realized that they had re-made arguably Ray’s finest movie “Charulata” as “Charulata 2011” (reminiscent of Disco 82, Hope 86 and Mother 98) , a cross between the original and Jism, with gratuitous displays of Rituparna’s back, as bare as Bengal’s industrial development parks, and sexy displays of Arjun Chakraborty’s face, as poetic as a mis-shapen Nalengurer sandesh.

Wait, you say, how can you condemn “Charulata 2011” when all you have seen is the trailer and read some articles about it? Because the trailer says it all, from Mohit-Suri-Mahesh-Bhatt-inspired “erotic” visuals to Rituparna’s execrably-accented Bangla voiceover to a  guitar-playing Bangali Ron Jeremy, this cries “desecration” in every frame, more so when one recalls the smoldering underplayed sensuality of the original.

Yes maybe Didi was right. Everything is a CPM conspiracy—-the rapes in moving cars, “Charulata 2011”, the genetic mutation called Jeet and songs with poetic Jeebu-Daish- lyrics like “Lady Killer, Romeo, Pakka Playboy, Romeo, Flirting Master Romeo….Sunday dilam Sheela-ke, Monday dilam Monake..” (I “did it” to Sheela on Monday, “did it” to Mona on Tuesday).

And now that the full scope of the CPM plot has been revealed, why stop with desecrating Charulata, oh Kolkata “intellectuals”? There are so many Ray movies that beg crying out for re-interpretation.

A Telugu-masala production, “Apu 2012” with Apu being an angry Bengali man (played by Deb) who, after having his elder sister raped, his father killed and his mother bored to death, beats up goons to the tune of “Challenge nibi na sala” and “Lal Juto Paaye Khokababu Jaaye”?

An adult version of “Parash Pathar” where a government clerk discovers a magic stone that gives him instant erections, which he then uses to get “a head” till it gets swallowed by his secretary?

A Rituporno-remake of Jalsaghar where the aged zamindar discovers his wife was having an affair with the thumri singer before he realizes he is actually transgendered himself?

A Q-directed re-telling of the Gupi-Bagha fable (G-AND-U) but with the happy duo transformed to gay rappers who pen vulgar post-modernist lyrics ?

Why not a Bratya Basu version of “Ganashatru” where a “socially aware”  intellectual opposes a sinister CPM plot to build an automobile plant, the only deviation from the original being that it will have a happy ending wherein our hero becomes a minister?

How about “Abhijaan” becoming the story of a Formula 1 driver, Talladega Nights inspired?

What about Anjan Dutt—has he not seen the potential of remaking “Mahanagar” from the angle of the anglo-Indian salesgirl (who will renamed Maryanne Marie) and the allusion to the Wall Street crisis of 2008 in the bank failing (which leads the heroine to transform from housewife to working professional)?

How about Aparna Sen reinterpreting the “Ghare Baire” story as that of an idealistic Naxal-supporting husband who lets his wife (played by Paoli Dam) spread her….wings…with his “India shining” capitalist friend while communal riots, triggered by the Hindu right, sweep the country?

Why does not Gautam Ghosh join hands with Zoya Akthar and re-remake Abar Aranye, his sequel to “Aranyer Din Ratri”, but this time about three wannabes who journey deep into the jungle to discover their feminine sides while dancing to “Senorita” with a tribal lady, played by Simi Garewal Galadrial, the ageless Lady of the Forest?

Yes indeed. Why not? Now that we Bengalis have spent a generation strutting about, waving our glorious cultural heritage as proof-positive of our exalted status while producing little of value, it is now time to go and move on to the next phase. Where in the guise of creative re-interpretation, we pee on the greatness we have inherited.



36 thoughts on “Oh Please No

  1. been following your blog for more than a year and finally i got to be the first one to comment !!

  2. 3Rd hand ipod!

  3. Actually 2nd since above commentator posted twice

  4. Thanks Arnab, for the post! Indeed, Rituparna’s bare back and her interview in Ananda Bazaar Patrika was reason enough, for me, not to see the film, and now you have further bolstered my confidence. Btw, in that same interview, Rituparna says that there cannot be any comparison between Paoli & herself, “Paoli ekta misti meye” etc. etc. and in the very next sentence asks, “Paoli, who?” May be a case of selective dementia! Last heard, Rituparna’s next film would be a Bengali remake of “Basic Instinct”, titled as “Sohojato Probritti” and directed by Rituporno! 😛

  5. Why is my comment going in to moderation? I don’t remember doing anything silly here! 😦

  6. first,
    oye teri… You ARE really angry…huh?
    No one really cares about making anything worth remembering anymore…. Movies or music. We pseudo intellectual echore paka bangalis care only about judging others and making money from any shit people are willing to buy. Why else would a shitless deb or jeet be the most happening person in kolkata? It may not be only kolkata centric phenomenon though. And thats worse.

  7. finally it got published… My phone browser was refusing to respond before now.

  8. Super post again..and Thanks for the warning signs.. We can be ready and Charulata 2011 is definitely ashani sanket…

  9. Sparkling.
    And the comment about Arjun Chakraborty face being like noler gurer shondesh had me in laughing out loud like an idiot.

  10. @siddhant you did not !!

  11. Absolutely great!
    Why leave out the possibility of Srijit Mukherjee remaking Chiriyakhana where a psychopath killer finishes off folks in a far away hamlet? All while the detective – played by Sabyasachi – tries to locate the ex- wife of the hamlet-in-charge using a rather self explanatory song – “amake amar moto thakte dao”.

  12. Oye GB please don’t post these remake ideas — be sure someone jobless enough will pick them up.

  13. Very well said GB. Rituparna’s bare back is as horrific as her jism inspired remake called ‘trishna’. May be its time she hits the gym and understand how ‘aging gracefully’ is spelled. She also accepts in an interview that the name Charulata is borrowed for gimmicky purposes! good lord!

    P.S.- commenting on your blog after long. was caught up with lot of stuff. Haven’t been able to read your new book till now, though have heard absolutely great reviews about it, but every time I return here you make sure that we sit up and take notice 🙂

  14. Have to agree with you.I knew it was bad news the moment I saw snippets of Charulata 2011. I guess coming up with something orginal and good, asks for too much hard work and too much merit. Even remaking it well also takes half of that. Atleast this lot seems depleted.

  15. u can try fill the lack of creative people in tollywood. And its the fastest way to connect to the babes. 😉

  16. Bravo ! The trailer was enough to make one throw up “annaprashan er bhaat”. Ewww. I really liked the trailer of Gandu much better. Why hasn’t Rituparna retired yet?! Abyssmal, derogatory and embarrassing.

  17. prasun banerjee March 4, 2012 — 8:57 pm

    why is it 2011 ?

  18. @prasun banerjee: Because it’s running one year late?? 😛

  19. Dumdum_er_Aantel March 5, 2012 — 2:14 am


    Fun read.

    However, shouldn’t the public decide whether a movie is worth watching or not? I don’t think anyone specifically has any right to decide public’s taste. So if it is a copy of a Ray movie or a telugu movie, end of the day it is the public who will decide whether it’s acceptable or not. Not you or me or anyone else.

    Generally speaking, the quality of Bengali movies has improved significantly in last few years. The production houses are investing more which is reflected in location selection, quality of music etc. Sure, there are copies of telugu movies but I would prefer them from a Paposh Pal starred Bangladesh copy.

  20. GB – u really sound angry!!

    But why stop at dumbing down of bangla cinema only – the same is happening with hindi and even hollywood movies!! All you get nowadays is prequels and sequels or movies projected as “vehicles” for various celebrities!

    sure production values may have improved but it is at the cost of the story!

  21. “Now that we Bengalis have spent a generation strutting about, waving our glorious cultural heritage as proof-positive of our exalted status while producing little of value”

    Bhishon shotyi kotha. Bhishon dukkhojonok o botey. Ki kora jaaye?
    Hoyeto char diker hotashajonok ghotona gulo ignore korey, je jaar nijer kaajey mon diley i bhaalo hobey. Kora ta khub i kothin jodio. Arnab, tumi je assistant professorship er demands gulo meet korar por o nijer passion niye thaaktey paarchho, sheta khub motivating.
    Bangla aaj jekhaney eshey dNaRiyechhey, shekhan thekey aastey aastey aabar uthtey hobey. One small step at a time. No magic bullets.

  22. wait a sec… rituparna and rituporno are TWO different people? :O 😉

  23. Prasun Banerjee March 5, 2012 — 8:00 am

    Not related to the movie in question but anyone else not quite happy with Aami Shotti Bolchi ???

  24. @Prasun Banerjee. I hate the song. It’s an unintentional parody by a poseur, a musical version of Raghu Ram. It’s horrendous. Its a psycho singing “Ami Shotti bolchhi” in a fake Bengali accent. It can not be an ode to the city. It sounds as fake as Rupam Islam’s accent.

  25. Sunday dilam Sheela-ke, Monday dilam Monake..” (I “did it” to Sheela on Monday, “did it” to Mona on Tuesday).

    –Most authentic n hilarious translation…ROTFL….

  26. Ohhh…1 Big mistake by u Greatbong!!

    ‘A Telugu-masala production, “Apu 2012? with Apu being an angry Bengali man (played by Deb) ‘

    I’m Dev not Deb!!! MInd It!!!

  27. errrr…maybe its time we bengalis stopped hoping for any actual improvements to the cultural state of affairs and resigned ourselves to being just another uncultured bunch of philistines like everyone else…))))

  28. SP supported shares up after the exit poll results. AMUL baby is loosing and even raebareilly seat is out of hand. BJP is as usual tired and sad.

  29. Wow! Some serious anger there. Don’t blame you though. Just hope we don’t have to see a hip hop trance remix of Ami Chini Go Chini

  30. Can we have a serious review of Q’s ” Gandu” here , something on the lines of your Dhobi Ghat review?

  31. @Prasun – I don’t like ‘aami shotti bolchhi’ either. Not do I like the Bachchan version of Ekla Chalo!

    Please, can someone tell me more about the ‘Challenge nibi an saala’ song? And ‘sunday dilaam’ ? Whose songs are these?

  32. Dont worry fellow bongs ! A “Renaissance” is round the corner.

    Applications are currently being accepted for the job opening titled “Rammohan”. Interview will cover all “burning topics” of the day.

  33. Prasun Banerjee March 7, 2012 — 8:48 am

    Nowhere else to write this … I cant ever see anyone as Jatayu after Santosh Dutta … never seen a Feluda movie outside the two with him !!! too hard for me to even imagine / dream / get nightmares !!!

  34. Just spluttered coffee at the Simi Galadriel reference

  35. Paoli is best 😉

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