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A Soft Note on a Sharp Scale More at IMDbPro »Komal Gandhar (original title)

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A portray of time and place and struggle called Calcutta

Author: Rahul Guha from Silicon Valley, California
26 February 2003

This is a portray of a time (50's and 60's Calcutta) which witnessed sacrifice for art and culture in the backdrop of huge opression, poverty and partition. In my opinion it is the landmark movie that stands out because of its content and music and story telling style. Probably people identify him/herself with this movie to a great extent that it brings back the tune of nostalgia and responsibility.

Too bad that the print is not being re-mastered or restored

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

one of the greatest films ever made

Author: ( from los angeles
18 May 2001

ritwik ghatak suffers outside india from not being satyajit ray. to most american and british audiences ray is alternative indian cinema just as kurosawa is alternative japanese cinema and the attention to the "universal" appeal of these auteurs' films obscures the pioneering work of many other great film-makers (as well, of course, much of their own work--the ray of "mahanagar" is not the ray of "pather panchali", for instance, or at least not in the same way).

similarly non-indian audiences are not always attuned to the role of music and songs in indian films. in ghatak's cinema (and "komal gandhar" in particular) music is used not just to advance the story-line as in say the great bombay films of guru dutt but formally as well. ghatak intentionally mixed folk and popular art forms in an attempt to create a new form of political expression and this is nowhere as effective as in the most personal of his early films, "komal gandhar" which draws upon his days in the IPTA-- a theater group that included composers such as salil chowdhury whose songs, "obak prithibi" among them, are featured prominently in this film. the impact of these songs is not translatable in subtitles and it is not surprising that non bengali/indian audiences might think of this as just another example of extraneous song and dances numbers inserted into an indian film.

it is a shame that ghatak's films are not widely available in india let alone in the the world outside. but those in the san francisco area should not miss the opportunity to view this and a number of ghatak's other masterpieces starting this very weekend (end of may, 2001).

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A brilliant movie

Author: Vikram Pakrashi from Ireland
2 February 2006

on the contrary, i would say that it is extremely important to have an idea about how these people behaved, how they expressed themselves and how they reacted to events during that period. i can only distinguish between good and bad films irrespective of their origin. the song (no dance, sorry to say) numbers give the film a theatrical, and at times surreal effect. also, it is very important to note how these particular songs affected the society (they were not made for the film). hriwik made only one film throughout his life. and he made it over and over again, each creating a new vista for the viewer about the epic theme he tried to handle. this film has been remastered and released, but the the improvement is not great. and at the end, i must also add that for many art forms, one must be educated and prepared enough to appreciate the beauty of it. like tarkovsky, like Kurosawa, like hriwik.

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1 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A subtle story with too much song and dance.

Author: maple-2 from United States
14 April 2001

A hard to follow but subtle story of two independent theater troupes and the developing attraction of one woman for the director of the other troupe. The restrained (sometimes stiff) acting is a bit overshadowed by the extraneous song and dance numbers so prevalent in Indian film.

At another level, given the then recent history of turmoil in South Asia after independence, this film can be read as commentary on the messiness of democracy and the demands of making art. Here mixing democracy and art fails because of individual whims and resentment.

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