The trailer of Srijit Mukherjee’s Rajkahini is 3 minutes 15 seconds long! The world has seen eloquent and well-expressed short films by scores which were of lesser duration.
The trailer in question communicates about a certain look and feel of the film, like a newly launched consumer product on a showroom window. It gives a glimpse of its large star cast containing some big names of contemporary Bengali film industry, most of them carrying different makeup or hairstyle or costume which is collectively known in journalistic terms as the ‘look of the film’. It uses 5 title cards, 4 of them to describe the context and 1 to describe the plot. With its high-end production design, elaborate set pieces, props, costumes and make up and the idea of one of the most tragic and complex chapters of subcontinent’s history being distilled to a couple of cheesy one liners, the exhibition of images and sound being sold as a trailer is nothing but a vulgar display of power! With the exit of celluloid, the expression will not be a perfect fit but the film this trailer promises is just money burning on screen.
But my rage and rant will not mean a thing when the film will release during the festive season and the “educated middle-class” audience will prove everything wrong. Voices shall be choked, tears will be shed, and chests will swell in pride when Rajkahini will throw its success party; various trophies will make a great background for page 3 photographs! While I don’t even expect or care about the shelf life of my opinion, this film will ride the chariot of success into the public memory as THE film about partition!
PS: More than 50 years back, a tall and lean Bengali man made three films on the subject. These films were considered to be historically aware, politically motivated and emotionally driven in terms of form and content. He also taught for a brief period at FTII, Pune. The institute has gone saffron fascists and his legacy of films has come to this!
Arup Ratan Samajdar