Economist-turned-writer and film-maker Srijit Mukherjee, better known for his commercial debutant Autograph has nailed it again, this time with a probable Oscar entry for the Best Foreign Language film for Jaatishwar. The fifth film by Srijit, both written and directed by him, had the rare honour of being screened for President Pranab Mukherjee. It bagged four awards, the highest number, at the 61st National Film Awards.
Srijit Mukherji regarded as one of the best film-makers in the country, with all his films – Autograph, Baishe Srabon, Hemlock Society and Mishawr Rawhoshyo (based on a Kakababu mystery by Sunil Gangopadhyay’s critically acclaimed and award-winning stints)
The backdrop of Jaatishwar sees the central protagonist, Kushawl Hajra (Prosenjit Chatterjee), a librarian who claims to be the reincarnation of the 19th-century Portuguese poet Anthony Firingee, travelling back and forth in time. Having two parallel but intersecting plots, the other story contains Rohit Mehta (Jishu Sengupta), a Gujarati born and brought up in Calcutta, who is romantically inclined to Mahamaya (Swastika Mukherjee). Not being from the same background, Mahamaya challenges Rohit to master the Bengali language and express his feelings in a song written and composed by him in her native language which would open his avenues to any possible relationship. Rohit accepts the challenge and travels to Portugal in a bid to learn Bengali and complete his thesis on Antony Firingee. While Rohit gets an insight into the unknown facets of the poet, Kushal fights to maintain sanity, wilting under the memories of his past life. Fate makes the two central protagonists meet, putting them in symbiosis. The climax tells whether Kushal manages to save himself from the whirlpool of memories and whether Rohit wins the love of his life.
Scene from the movie ‘Jaatishwar’
Though there are other films in the fray for India’s entry, Jaatishwar is one of the strongest contenders and would be a worthy choice, what with its credibility established by its critical appeal and by the awards won.
Not to anyone’s surprise, this would not be the film-maker’s first honour, if it is indeed selected to represent the country, having already bagged a handful for his début feature Autograph, which was an official selection at Abu Dhabi International Film Festival, MIAAC Film Festival in New York, Glasgow International Film Festival and London Indian Film Festival. Having won four National Awards for Best Male Playback Singer, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup artist and Best Music Direction it stands as one of the strongest contender for an Oscar entry.
Other entries for the Best Foreign Language Film for Oscars
Among the others making it to the list of probable entries from India for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards next year are Queen, Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, Kochadaiyaan, Fandry, Yellow, Youngistan, 2 States, and Shahid. According to the rules, any film released till September 30 is eligible for selection.
Written by Ankita Bose for Team M3.tv