Ode – 1 : To Dibakar Banerjee

I write open letters to my students, when they accomplish something exceptional in their respective fields. But what about people whom I don’t know. Writing an open letter to them would be unethical, preposterous and foolish. I decided last night that instead of a letter, I should write an Ode to them. It would be befitting to their stature and genius. My first ode is to Dibakar Banerjee, as his new film released this Friday.

Basically I love traditional cinema. I grew up on the films of Bimal Roy, Raj Kapoor, Mehboob Khan and Guru Dutt. Much later, I started liking films of Yash Chopra, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manmohan Desai and Sooraj Barjatya. My knowledge and sense of cinema grew as I grew older. But still it was very traditional and conservative.

Post Yash Chopra Hindi Cinema boasts of names like Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Ashutosh Gowarikar and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra. I enjoyed their films; art and craft both. I thought that this is the zenith of Hindi films. But I was proven wrong by some avant-garde film makers, who cropped up in recent years. Their film making style is totally different and they shook my belief and foundation on which I had built my edifice. I was forced to acknowledge their genius and appreciate their work.

Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu, Raj Kumar Hirani, Shimit Amin, Shri Ram Raghvan, Madhur Bhandarkar and Dibakar Banerjee are some of the avant-garde film makers and brightest stars of the new,  brave Hindi Cinema. Since Dibakar Banerjee’s film LSD ( Love, Sex aur Dhokha ) got released last Friday, it is pertinent to write my first ode to him.

He is three films old – “ Khosla Ka Ghosla ”, “ Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye and “ Love , Sex Aur Dhokha ”. He belongs to Delhi and spent his formative years there. He worked as a copy-writer in an advertising agency and learnt film making from Pradip Sarkar. He is a tabla player and amateur painter also. He came and settled in Mumbai in 2003. His first film “ Khosla Ka Ghosla ”, which he made on a shoe-string budget in 2006, was a finest chronicle of modern Delhi society. After the release and success of the film he was held as a new Hrishikesh Mukherjee. But he chose to tread a new path and in 2008 made Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye ”. Both the films got National Awards.

His latest, Love , Sex Aur Dhokha is a completely different film. It has three different stories interwoven into one. This kind of film making started in Hollywood with “ Crash ” and later on fortified by “ Babel ”. In India also Anurag Basu made “ Life In A Metro ” following the same format. “ LSD ” follows the same pattern. But it differs in style. Hand held camera, dim and realistic lighting and realistic atmosphere makes it a different film. Shekhar Kapur , India’s only genuine export to Hollywood, says, “It is one of the most innovative films to come out of india “. Few years back, it would have been difficult to make or even conceive this kind of film. But now it is fast becoming a norm. Still it is brave to try something so different and so unconventional. It needs guts and courage to tread such a slippery path. And Dibakar Banerjee had  tried to tread that path and achieved the impossible.

Hats off to this avant-garde film maker. As a connoisseur, I salute this genius called Dibakar Banerjee.




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