Jagir (with a brief introductory note about Shakha Proshakha) (Have you got whiplash yet? I sure do.)
Out of fairness to Ray, I want to be clear that I hated Shakha Proshakha almost from the instant I started watching it, and it being assigned the label "avoid yaar" has nothing to do with the wonders that followed it. This was my reaction to the film throughout.
|Soumitra feels my pain.|
This film feels like a fake art film made to look like what a pretentious college filmmaking student would think is profound, like miserable people being either self-sacrificing or selfishly smug, peppered with touches I have learned to recognize from Ray's other works, like socially awkward picnics and men pontificating in paisley bathrobes. It might be telling that SatyajitRay.org does not even have a review of the film, let alone any quotes from reviews from other sources, which I think it has included in its entries for every other of the 18 Ray films I've seen so far. I have no idea how this film was received at the time of its release, but it's heartbreaking that this is Ray's last work with Chatterjee. At least it ends on a genuinely emotional and touching moment (which I won't show you because of spoilers), and those of us in the future can look back at that great collaboration ending with proof of their skill.
|Amrish feels my glee.|
ALL YOUR MASALA ARE BELONG TO ME!
Not to be outdone jewel-wise, both Dharmendra and Amrish try to steal this crown, even though it complements Zeenat's outfit way better than theirs.
Dharmatma)'s security consists of some red lights and a little string fence that would not hold the plastic Barbie horse I had in 1983.
|"You're still at the place you stood ages ago," sings Zeenat. "New things are a passing fancy," he retorts.|
|"Shame on your manliness! Why are you using a whip?"|
• Mithun: "Are you scared of the man with the steel teeth?" (Did I forget to mention there's a 7-foot-tall henchman with steel teeth? There is! Click here for a picture.) Shoma: "Allah! I'm so beautiful even men with golden teeth are after me."
• Pran with his bird, who has just dropped a gun onto an end table: "Shamsher? Where did you find the gun?" Shamsher: [Squawk squawk!] Pran: "I see. The robber tried to kill you? I won't spare him."
• Multiple leads in the song "Shaher Calcutta" (no idea why they're in Calcutta), echoing the portrayal of the city seen this year in Kahaani: "Calcutta, the city of mazes, I've lost my way!" "In my own country, I feel like an alien here." It also works as a low-budget tourism video, tossing in mentions of things like the Howrah Bridge and Tagore. It's all extremely irrelevant and I wonder if the song was added in exchange for filming permits from West Bengal.
|This has nothing to do with anything, but how could I omit it?|