The influence of the Indian film industry has been felt throughout the world Rather than try to talk inexpertly about it, I’ve gone for the expert – movie buff (and colleague) Parikshit Kumar for this guest blog on movies that have Kolkata as a theme.
Arguably, the art and cultural center of India, Kolkata, has been the backdrop and heart of many popular Hindi and English films. For its aesthetically beautiful, old world charm, Kolkata is a camera frame’s most suitable and easily adaptable background. You can almost feel the city being a character in some of the movies you see set in the city. Here are some of my Hindi film suggestions that have a Kolkata/Bengali soul:
Kahaani: A mother of a thriller about a pregnant woman who comes to Kolkata in search of her husband. Unfortunately, no one, even the police, seems to have a clue about his existence which forces her to start her own search into the disappearance of her husband. Definitely, a must-watch suspense thriller.
*ing: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saswata Chatterjee
Director: Sujoy Ghosh
IMDb Rating: 8.2
Trivia: Bob Biswas (played by Saswata Chatterjee) uses his mobile phone extensively in the movie as a tool in his profession, but in real life, Saswata Chatterjee doesn’t even own a mobile phone and relies on his landline phone as his point of contact.
Parineeta: A love triangle set in the 60s Kolkata or the then Calcutta, the story revolves around childhood friends who gradually fall in unspoken love that is threatened by misunderstandings, financial circumstances and the arrival of a third angle in the love story.
*ing: Vidya Balan, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt
Director: Pradeep Sarkar
IMDb Rating: 7.4
Trivia: The movie was initially set in modern times, but was later pushed back to the 1960s as the cast and crew felt the time period did more justification to the story.
Yuva: One of the few hyperlink movies (partially) in Hindi cinema, the story is about Yuva (or youth) of recent times and how lives of 3 people from different walks of life get intertwined amidst the political scenario in the city.
*ing: Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi
Director: Mani Ratnam
IMDb Rating: 7.5
Trivia: Shah Rukh Khan and Bobby Deol were offered Ajay Devgn’s role, while Hrithik Roshan was offered Abhishek Bachchan’s role initially.
Detective Byomkesh Bakshy: Based on one of the most famous detectives to come out of Indian fiction, the film is set in early 1940s, with the sleuth trying out his investigative skills for the first time leading to uncovering of a much deeper conspiracy to unnerve Calcutta.
*ing: Sushant Singh Rajput, Anand Tiwari, Neeraj Kabi
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
IMDb Rating: 7.7
Trivia: Aamir Khan was offered the role of the villian in the film.
Piku: Can chronic constipation be a partial protagonist (or Deuteragonist, technically) in a story? Apparently, it can, in this comical road trip of a daughter-father duo along with a driver from Delhi to Kolkata. Possibly every solution to constipation is discussed in this sweet fun tale. Not based in Kolkata throughout, but has a definite Bengali soul.
*ing: Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan
Director: Shoojit Sircar
IMDb Rating: 7.6
Trivia: Amitabh Bachchan’s character name in the movie is Bhashkor Banerjee which is the same name as it was in Anand (1971) although in Piku (2015) his name is pronounced to sound more Bengali.
In English: 36 Chowringhee Lane, City Of Joy, Bow Barracks Forever, 15 Park Avenue
In Hindi: Devdas, Hazaar Chaurasi ki Maa, Raincoat, Barfi!
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