Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Scenes From A Movie

I watched Buddhadev Dasgupta's Kalpurush recently and was underwhelmed. That said, a few recurring images in the movie made a strong impression.

The lead character, Sumanta (played by Rahul Bose) is this man who is not anyone's idea of a success and most definitely not his wife's.His lack of self-worth and confidence continually diminishes the "man" in him. It is to the point where he accepts the loss of conjugal rights and his wife's blatant unfaithfulness with the same equanimity as he does his life's other failures.

While Bose "plays" this character with complex emotions sincerely he never quite "becomes" Sumanta as he must to do it justice. Even so, with his listless shuffle and tendency to talk too much, he creates a believable image of Sumanta - we have seen men like Sumanta in real life.

Then there are the couple of scenes in the old-fashioned College Street bookstores that are priceless. Sumanta walks in and asks the proprietor for books about America and the man rattles off the titles of a dozen new arrivals to his helper squatted in the loft above. The books come dropping down one after the other like a powerful hailstorm. The complete authenticity of the scene is a delight and is one that warmed my desi heart immediately.

This is exactly how, I had bought books too back in the day and the only way I ever knew to. So when I first walked into a Borders in America, the resulting culture shock almost registered on the Ritcher scale. The closest I had come to a browsing experience until then, had been at bookstores like Gangarams and Higginbothams in Bangalore. Clearly, that had not quite prepared me for the real deal.

As I watched Kalpurush, I missed College Street and a long forgotten way of buying books. After a few years of the all you can eat buffet, I guess I am ready for the small sampling platter once again - strange are the ways of nostalgia.

No comments: