Updated: September 28, 2015 3:28:42 pm
Nabalok, the first section of a three-part anthology, titled Teenkahon (3 Obsessions), invokes memories of Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (1955). The setting is rural Bengal, the background music is like Ravi Shankar’s now-iconic sitar score for Ray’s film and the story revolves around a boy. The narrative follows the classical style of filmmaking of the ’40s and ’50s. In this way, Nabalok’s director Bauddhayan Mukherji pays tribute to the filmmaker he has been influenced by the most.
By the time the viewer reaches the next story, Postmortem, the entire experience changes. The narrative is twisted, the lighting allows characters to be seen in a soft glow and the background music is sparse. It is a claustrophobic single-room drama between two men on the day of the devastating 1978 Calcutta floods. It evokes the cinema of the ’70s.
The third segment, Telephone, is set in 2013, and expectedly embraces modern-day fimmaking styles. There are frequent jump cuts, the story is more twisted and breaks all the rules it had set in the previous segments. “The attempt is to remain true to the various influences and styles of filmmaking from the different eras,” explains Mukherji. Currently on its third week run in Bengal, Teenkahon released yesterday in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Bangalore.
In terms of the story, Teenkahon traces the change in the socio-cultural fabric of Bengal over a hundred years. “Bengalis have gone through a sea change and the film questions if our values and moralities have downgraded in the last 100 years,” says the 42-year-old. For instance, all three stories revolve around an extra-marital affair. The innocence in the first one, that sees the eight-year old protagonist attracted to a newly married woman, decays over the next two segments.
Mukherji connects these stories through the theme of “obsession”. The first film is about the boy’s obsession with an older woman, the second about a husband’s obsession with his wife’s lover, and the third is about the obsession to connect, underlined by an increasing dependence on technology. Mukherji has produced the film under his home banner, Little Lamb films.
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