Bengali films have always been home for cinema-lovers since the days of Mrinal Sen and Satyajit Ray. Srijit Mukherjee arrived on the scene in 2010. The filmmaker’s body of work since then has had consistent box office success and has received enormous appreciation from audiences and critics alike. Ahead of the release of Nirbaak, we have picked the top three must-watch Srijit Mukherjee films.
1. Jaatishwar (2014):
The life and times of Portuguese singer Heynsman Antony comes alive on screen with Jaatishwar. This story about fitting into a community despite social taboo reflects our interpersonal journeys. Veteran actor Prosenjit Chatterjee delivers a stellar performance with a uniquely pooled ensemble. If the idea of watching a motion picture heavily influenced by music and history is appealing, this is the musical for you. Jaatishwar grabs the first position here because of the national and global recognition it received. The film won 4 national awards and was also nominated for The Academy Awards. Jaatishwar is a combination of Mukherjee’s clarity in vision along with the technical aspects falling into place.
2. Autograph (2010):
Srijit Mukherjee’s directorial debut recreates the magic of Satyajit Ray’s vintage work Nayak. Autograph smartly hints at references from Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries and yet the film gets marks for originality. Srijit Mukherjee’s very first film is about celebration of stardom and is also a tribute to Ray. With regards to the emerging trend of art and entertainment in Bengali films, Autograph holds the baton. It is a local film with global appeal and hence it has been consumed and appreciated by audiences beyond geographical boundaries. All said and done, the music of this film is the USP. Autograph has songs that propel the narrative and highlight the frames consistently. The freezes, pans, dolly zoom-ins and zoom-outs are elevated even further with the film’s ecstatic background score.
3. Hemlock Society (2012):
This movie is inspired by the Hemlock Society, a dedicated institution that helps guide the terminally ill to assisted suicide. The film is a dark comedy which comes with a social message. Like Srijit’s earlier films, this one too gets the star cast right and thus impresses further. The production design of Hemlock Society is a reminder of how the elements in a scene can help the script translate onto the screen. This film also deserves recommendation because of Parambrata Chattopadhyay’s performance. Let alone everything, Hemlock Society should be on the must-watch list solely for the unique script.
By Soham Bhattacharyya