What is it all about?
Expect the unexpected with Sanjay Gupta's White Feather Arthouse bold and shocking 'Pankh'.
Helmed by first timer Sudipto Chattopadhyaya, 'Pankh' is no creamy, sugary, feel good, yummy cinema that we are use to.
Its gives you goose bumps as you hear one of its line 'am the actor as well as the audience'.
This filmmaker refuses to bend and gives a hallucinating saga of the boy-man thingie with slight Tarkovskyish and Rainer Werner Fassbinder approach where the character bares it all. Child molestation has been happening in Bollywood but here we have a junky, trancey, hallucinating film on it 'Pankh'. Bravo.
It's not the Sanjay Gupta we know - gorgeous sexy gals, sleek techniques borrowed from Hollywood, an inspiration with a colored tone. No, 'Pankh' is daring it has morbid scenes of masturbation, castration, child molestation and very crass language.
The Story....of course
Pankh is a story of the psychological turbulence of a child artiste-turned-unstable-adult - jerry who was once upon a time a national award winning child artiste... Baby Kussum! Between the ages of 4 and 8 he did 14 films... 4 as a boy where he did not get much acclaim... And then there was the big break! Jerry who was then master Jai and become Baby Kussum with "Jeevan Darpan". Somewhere in the midst of all this he lost his identity. His mother who is over ambitious about her son goes to lengths to get him selected at "auditions". He grows up to be a troubled young boy who has conversations with Nandini who he fantasizes about. Nandini is also a top film actress, but in Jerry's wrapped head, he feels Nandini follows him everywhere and teases him and his manhood. The film starts with Jerry's conversations with his 2 pet turtles and how he wants to run away with them from his mother. Jerry is in search of himself, of his true identity, whether he is Jerry, Jai, master Jai or Baby Kussum. One day when Jerry's mother forces him to audition for the part of a lead for a film, Jerry is taken back to the studio that he used to frequent as baby Kussum. There Jerry comes across Salim who was the canteen boy at that time and they used to be best friends, or so Jerry thought. But Salim grew up being in love with Kussum, unknowing to the fact that Kussum never existed. Salim refuses to believe Jerry that he was baby Kusum, and Salim tries to befriend Jerry in the hope that he will tell him where Kussum is. Jerry's life continues to get complicated. Jerry's mother desperately wants him to be a superstar again. She coaxes him into an audition but it becomes a disaster in a way she cannot imagine.
What to look out for?
The script works marvelously in conveying the boy-man's struggle with his sexual identity.
The helmer brilliantly confirms it with convincing scenes like the protagonist who puts lipstick on his lips but doesn't like when a hunk kisses him. He fantasies about an actress as his escape route even when she taunts him time and again about his hazy sexuality. Leaving to the audience to judge.
A rare Bollywood phenomenon. Its dark, first timer Sudipto Chattopadhyay deals with the 'real' command. Excellently shot by cameraman Somak Mukherjee, who makes the illusion more intoxicating with sharp editing by Raju Singh. Bipasha exudes charm and Maradona does a sincere job.
The conversation between Jerry and Bipasha sometimes appears repetitive. Its surreal, not for the faint hearted, it's very individualistic.
Recommended: If you relish in dark, hallucinating, junky, trippy stuff and appreciate innovation in art then catch 'Pankh' at your nearest theatre before it vanishes. Regulars excuse. It's exclusively for niche.