Chalochitro Circus – abominable, repulsive, offensive, detestable, terrible, awful, vile, horrendous, dreadful…one runs out of praise. The director (Mainak Bhaumik) has never been to a circus or else he would have respected circus a bit more at least. In fact, abominable … and etc. whatever you call it is at the end of the day a euphemism only. Its unexplainable…inexplicable…unfathomable…baffling…immeasurable…and perplexingly bad and out of taste.
What you see on the screen of a theatre is supposedly a tale about a struggling director suddenly getting to do a film. A film within a film. His dream about doing his own film is soon replaced by his supposed compromises and he ends up in a supposed circus. That much is a verbal translation of the activity that goes on the screen or can also be termed as limitation of written language. Beyond this the audio-visual ‘Auschwitz’ that plays in front of you is as already told ‘unexplainable’.
— kaahon (@kaahonwall) September 28, 2017
Helping out in this organized rape is silent era fashion inter-titles, which are supposed link to the supposed story. And each or most of them come with a reference of Bengali cinema naming films, songs etc. Referencing as a tool was director’s idea of being cool. So comes all his peers and their films, music directors who also does music for this film, TV soaps – obviously looked down upon by this cool brigade of Bengali cinema, talking directly to camera and lastly and most outlandish the reference of Woody Allen. Don’t battle an eyelid, the director as a self-proclaimed critic promotes his film in written words in a leading daily of Kolkata and there he takes direct reference of Woody Allen apart from the sad copy of ‘Woody Allenish’ trade marks. In coming years this poor old man will turn in his grave out of an old nauseating stink that is impossible to rub off.
Talking shop, one should point out that the supposed story wasn’t there in the horror that you see. The director of the film within the film (Ritwik Chakraborty) doesn’t protect his story, is not passionate about his own film and no where one feels that he wanted to make a story of his own. So audience does not empathize or sympathize or have any take on this principal character in the supposed ‘director making a compromised story in the film’. A bunch of characters (with, as the Bengali film circuit calls as an ‘ensemble cast’) floats aimlessly trying to cook up smart one-liners. Leave aside aesthetics; the taste of these one-liners is at rock bottom. Young college goers have better puns to make even when they have no restrictions on sexual innuendos. The director of the film (Ritwik Cahkraborty) within the film proposes his cameraman (Neel Mukherjee) friend that he takes his girlfriend (Paoli Dam) as an assistant for the film. The friend’s response is to bring out a flavored condom out of his wallet and asks his director friend to go and make it out with her (in a light mood of course, it is meant to be comic) while he waits. When the director drops the idea of taking an assistant out of his cameraman’s girlfriend, the cameraman friend surrenders that he is in-secured about her girlfriend for she wears ‘sando-ganjee’ and clothes herself minimally. When can the Bengali male sensibility (by a supposedly dynamic, young director who is supposedly different) grow beyond such cheap thrills? There is no end to this style. When this assistant director girlfriend at the end of the movie asks his cameraman boyfriend how he shot the heroine from the high crane position his answer is she did bend forward to reveal but hers (his own girlfriend’s) one are better; if you missed it the obvious reference is to boobs. Todays web content that has just started flooding the market and is being manufactured by young makers handles adult content more upfront. Tickling is an old and haggling tool – if the dynamic director forgot.
Coming back to the sheer nonsense of the usage of cinematic tools one fails to miss the exquisite cheap look of visuals and post techniques with multiple frames, fancy colors and a riot of effects. His techniques run amok, like his supposed story. The story had to run amok without logic or sense. Sorry, we were paying a tribute to some body. Everything you wanted to know about ‘being out of taste’ and was afraid to ask! The riot of nausea continues; the different characters shift their romantic commitments/relationships and at the climax of things end up in a riot on the shooting floor when the hero and the cameraman fight with each other and hell breaks loose. So badly was this sequence executed one dares to ask how the film tries to be sarcastic about TV soaps. Television-makers produce better software and know specifically what they are doing (The fact that they are regressive beyond bounds is a separate subject of discussion). Here, in this film, the director is lost in imitating renowned techniques in a world of tale where he wants to portray his reality. It is in his own words his “collection of gossip, revelations, shocking truths and insights … strung into Chalochitro Circus”. A jamboree of poorly visualized scenes (how ever real they are and taken from his personal experiences) with nothing to stich them together apart from half baked digital ethos and poor man’s sad ‘Allen-ism’ is anything but not insightful. So much is the poverty of integrity in the depiction of supposed real life experiences that director in his promotional piece on the leading daily looses the strength of his guts and puts a disclaimer – “This expose was made during a period in my life when I was really pissed off with everything from actors-producers-media-box-office obsession … As I watch the film back now in happier times, when I have moved on from that negative space … So if I ruffle too many feathers, please take it up with the Mainak of 2015.”
Out of the many horrendous sequences is one that comes at last. All the principal characters get busy at the end of the shoot in dreaming something or the other. Usually they dream something nice that they crave for. Apart for a pair of characters. This needs explanation. There is interspersed in the film a tale of two production boys who keep commenting anything and everything about the film that is being made and the people involved in a most nonchalant way. They are obviously depicted as a class that is rustic and in character. When they dance to their glory listening to the item song of the film they are being rebuked by the assistant director Paoli Dam. In the said dream sequence, the duo is seen to be almost bathing themselves with rice and curry, putting them all over their bodies and feeling to be happy. They are shown to be gleeful in a muck. It is despicable and loathsome to the core as a visual and as a concept. This sequence can enlist itself as the most objectionable, nauseating and obnoxious sequence in recent era of Bengali films. The objection is about how the director looks down upon a class and makes a statement, thereby positioning himself on a high pedestal. It is inhuman to degrade a class that you supposedly work with or for that matter anybody. Who the hell gives him the right to place them in muck? One should strike hard upon this moribund sensibility with the harshest force. It does not end here. As the dream breaks one of the production boys tries to squeeze the balls of the other, literally. A humble request to the director – don’t try squeezing balls…you will only find flavored condoms there, nothing else. And that too without disclaimers!