What You Should Know About Tony Da, the Director of ‘Pink’
Shoojit Sircar with Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, the men behind <i>Pink. </i>(Photo courtesy: Twitter)
Shoojit Sircar with Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, the men behind Pink. (Photo courtesy: Twitter)

What You Should Know About Tony Da, the Director of ‘Pink’

The gritty thriller cum courtroom drama Pink released last week can now be called one of the best and most important films of 2016. Pink also marks the Bollywood debut of the acclaimed Bengali filmmaker Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury. Aniruddha belongs to that category of contemporary Bengali film directors who believe in stories which are not only original in their content but also feature distinguishing elements of creativity.

One of the most common themes that Aniruddha has worked on in his films, including his first Hindi film, are the intricacies of situations where the characters are confronted with adverse situations. The situations can vary from personal dilemma to a moral quandary to social prejudices. The journeys undertaken by his protagonists within the time frame of the film’s narrative exhibits a plucky exposition of tenacity in the face of crisis.

Here is brief introduction to the Bengali films made by Tony Da, as he fondly known amongst his colleague and friends.

1. Anuranan (Resonance, 2006)

The debut film from Aniruddha with the tag line ‘Some relationships remain undefined’ depicts the undercurrents in the relationship between two married couples. The plot of the film is laden with harmonies that traverse through the life of four characters through the lush green open spaces in London to the serene beauty of the Himalayas in Sikkim.

The locales used in the film serves as an emotional scape where the life of the two couples played by Rahul Bose and Rituparna Sengupta, Rajat Kapoor and Raima Sen, undergo a chain of events through which they experience emotional wreckage. It is the first Bengali film to be shot in London and also won the National Film Award for the best Bengali Film in 2006.

2. Antaheen (The Endless Wait, 2009)

The second feature film from Aniruddha can be held as one of the most accomplished contemporary films not only in the career of the filmmaker but also for the Bengali film industry. Aniruddha’s years of experience in the advertising bloomed into an extravagant arrangement of visuals that was not only enthralling but also fascinating. What makes the film engrossing is the narrative pattern, which shuffles between characters and their individual emotional experiences of life, which finally converges, into a tale of yearning for love.

An ensemble cast of strong performances from Radhika Apte, Rahul Bose, Mita Vashisth, Aparna Sen, Sharmila Tagore amongst others, forms the spine of the film. Antaheen was Radhika Apte’s first Bengali film. It won the National Award in 2009 for Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Lyrics and Best Female Playback Singer.

3. Ekti Tarar Khonje (Stars Never Sleep, 2010)

Ace cinematographer Aveek Mukhopadhyay donned the director’s hat for this film, while Aniruddha turned producer. Ekti Tarar Khonje is a story of love and betrayal where a small-town boy comes to Calcutta to make a career in the film industry and unwittingly becomes entangled with a crime syndicate.  In spite of having natural performances from the lead, Shayan Munshi and Arpita Chatterjee, the film failed to make an impact with the audience.

4. Aparajita Tumi (You, Undefeated, 2012)

In his third film as a director, Aniruddha narrated the simple tale of a failing marriage and seamlessly delves into the complex psyche of a relationship. Shot in US, Aparajita Tumi is based on Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay’s novel Dui Nari Haate Torobari. Throughout the film, the characters remain grounded to the milieu of the film without the crutch of flashy dialogues where silences and mere expressions exhibit their emotional resonance.

This remains the only film where the director has cast the Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee in the lead. Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee also makes a cameo appearance in a party scene and shares his true experiences of working in the Bengali film industry.

5. Buno Haansh (Wild Goose, 2014)

With this film, Aniruddha, who was now popular for his urban tales of love and longing took a deviation. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Samaresh Majumdar and narrates the plight of a Bangladeshi immigrant living in Kolkata, who gets trapped in a world of greed and lust and steps into a world of crime. The film is a temperamental drama in the form a thriller, with judicious balance of drama, thrills and romance. 

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