Chaalchitra

Avant garde neo realist movie by Mrinal Sen “Chaalchitra” (1981).

Young Dipu (Anjan Dutt) is a bright impressionable wannabe writer with stars in his eyes. He meets the leading editor of that time Utpal Dutt who offers him a chance to become a writer if he is able to bring in a story in two days’ time, the only condition being that the story should sell.

Dipu lives in a dilapidated chawl with his family and he sees every experience as a potential story. His mother uses coal for cooking which emits lot of smoke and is bad for the eyes and health. He then encounters the women who exchange new utensils for old clothes through extensive bargaining. He then meets a road side astrologer and interviews him to write a story.

But Dipu is not able to connect any of these stories and he is not able to put pen to paper. Two days are over and he meets the editor who is upset that he is not able to bring in a story. Dipu then narrates few themes to the editor who then becomes excited and urges him to build a story. But Dipu’s story has lots of ifs and buts upon which the editor comments that he is probably a communist.

In the end he gets a job in a newspaper not as a writer but as a technician in the press. He then finally manages to buy the much required for LPG gas for his mother. Most of the shots are closer to reality including the street shots of Calcutta. Mrinal Sen’s movie is a commentary on the state of affairs in Calcutta those times, when communism and its ideals don’t get you a job and money.

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