Ritwik Ghatak returns
The Name of River is an earnest attempt to understand a phenomenon called Ritwik Ghatak, one of the greatest Bengali filmmaker of the 60s and 70s. Director Anup Singh uses Ghatak's trademark style -- docu-drama narrative style to tell his tale as the visuals transport the viewer to the imaginary universe of Ghatak cinema.
The film is revolves around the journey of two actors, one male, the other female, as they cross rivers and borders and make their way through city and history, forest and memory, mountain and myth.
Often as they make their way, the essential, eternal question comes to mind -- Aren't we all refugees? A question Ghatak asked time and again in his films.
Throughout the journey as the two protagonists meet, part and debate, the viewer gets to rendezvous with Ghatak's legendary characters. Thus, a nostalgic journey to the suffering of Neeta of Meghe Dhaka Tara (Ghatak's most powerful melodrama), the hopelessness of Bimal in Ajantrik and the angry young woman Basanti in Titaas Ekti Nadir Nam becomes necessary. The ethereal wedding music of Titaas Ekti Nadir Nam provides the background score and the required shades of emotion.
If the director's goal was to transport the viewers Ghatak's world, he has certainly succeeded. The film is Ritwik Ghatak, up close and personal. The blend of music, images, characters and dialogues are superlative.
Technically, the film is competent too. The screenplay by Anup Singh and Madal Goapal Singh is powerful and the music is truly mind-blowing. K K Mahajan Prasann Jain's camera and the palette of colours that sky, earth and water provide transform film reel to a spectacular piece of art.
If you're a Ghatak fan, this is a must-see.