Trends of Tolly this year 2015
By Hemanth Reddy S 31/12/2015

 A round a handful of A films managed to hold fort at the box office this year. After a dull 2014, this year not just saw better content and some heartwarming experimentation; quite a few films garnered attention not only back home but also in festivals abroad. Here's giving a worm's eye view of the industry -all that kept buzzing this year:


The highest grosser of the year, Belaseshe, reinforced the Bengali audience's discerning taste in cinema. Be it small-budget films verging on the indie genre (Asha Jaoar Majhe), or opulent ones boasting of ensemble cast and spectacular cinematography (Rajkahini), content, truly was the king. In fact, Open Tee Bioscope, another hit of 2015, was a mishmash of experience and youth, with original content at its heart. But what was most encouraging was how heavyweights backed 'small' films through the year. Pointers -Kaushik Ganguly making Chotoder Chobi and Kaushik Sen joining the cast of Babar Naam Gandhiji. Mithun Chakraborty-starrer Ek Nodir Galpo, directed by the deceased art director Samir Chanda, received a lot of critical acclaim too. 


Even after milking Byomkesh, Feluda and Shabor to a veritable extant, the crimethriller genre still had a lot to give the Bengali audience.Forever considered a tricky genre to approach, more so when attempted on original content, mystery saw quite a few enthusiastic newbies trying to leave a footprint. Be it Utsav Mukherjee's multi-starrer Bheetu or Debarati Gupta's debut film Kalkijugboasting of actors like Bratya Basu and Debshankar Halder or Aniket Chattopadhyay's Room No. 103, Tolly's plot thickened to a considerable extent this year. While none of them, including Rajib's Amanush 2 and the Parambrata Chatterjee-starrer Glamour, delivered stellar results, the peak in the interest for this genre sure got us excited. 


Apart from original content, the biggest winner this year was adaptations from literary works. While Tagore still ruled the screen with Sesher Kobita and to some extent Kadambari (which is based on literary materials available on the relationship between Tagore and his sister-in-law), the Bengali detectives had the best outing in 2015. Byomkesh won the race handsdown, whether withByomkesh Bakshi or Har Har Byomkesh. Even Sajarur Kanta, in which Dhritiman Chatterjee essayed the role of the sleuth, had a better run at the box office than run-of-the-mill action-love stories. Though Feluda was conspicuous by his absence from the screen, with Ebar Shabor, we got another author-backed detective to look out for. And with Aparna Sen making Arshinagar, based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Anjan Dutt adapting Hamlet as Hemanta and Srijit Mukherji announcing Zulfiqar merging Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, we can safely say that our literary gods are still our biggest fallback option. 


Even though UP's subsidy scheme lured directors by the dozen to schedule their shoots in the holy city of Varanasi, Kolkata's old-world charm was not too far behind. All through the year, Bollywood directors canned parts of their films in the City of Joy. Imtiaz Ali's Tamasha saw Deepika Padukone coming down to shoot in the city. Mohit Suri shot a small portion of Hamari Adhuri Kahaani in Kolkata in January. Around September, Shruti Haasan shot extensively in the city, as part of her character in Thala56 and around November, Dev Patel and Nawazuddin came together in the city for British film Lion, which also stars Nicole Kidman. November also saw Adil Hussain shooting for a French film in which he plays a transgender. The shoot of Ribhu Dasgupta's TE3N starring Amitabh Bachchan is still on. 


Tollywood made its presence felt in faraway Mumbai, with actors, directors and music composers joining the Bollywood camp by the dozen. The year started with the nation swooning over Swastika Mukherjee's Anguri act in Detective Byomkesh Bakshi. No sooner, Anupam Roy entered the list of India's top 50 desirable men with his music in Piku. Director Agnidev Chatterjee announced his debut in Bollywood with Tere Aane Se, in which he cast Rituparna opposite Purab Kohli. Even though Paayel Sarkar's Guddu Ki Gun tanked at the BO, Raima Sen, Paoli Dam, Parambrata Chatterjee, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Rajesh Sharma and Jisshu Sengupta kept their Bollywood connection going strong with Ishq Kabhi Kariyo NaYara Sili Sili, Phantom, Tanu Weds Manu Returns and Piku. Now, Arpita is set to debut in Bollywood with Onir's Shab


While many headed the Bolly way this year, a reverse trend was also noticeable. The year began with Anindya Chattopadhyay's Open Tee Bioscope, whose production was helmed by Shoojit Sircar. Shoojit is now set to produce Aniruddha Roychowdhury's next with Amitabh Bachchan. Sujoy Ghosh too continued to make waves. His Ahalya, a short film with Soumitra Chatterjee, Tota Roychoudhury and Radhika Apte, saw several filmmakers taking the same route. The director is back in town to collaborate as a creative producer in Ribhu Dasgupta's TE3N. Last heard, Anurag Basu approached a few Tolly actors to be a part of his next. 


Though less than a dozen films managed to make noise this year, some of the makers opted for a few important calendar dates. The good news is that out of the five releases this Durga Puja, four movies -Rajkahini, Sudhu Tomari Jonyo, Katmundu and Byomkesh Bakshi -performed well. Though we are not giving a profit-loss margin here, most had a reason to grin from ear to ear. While Durga Puja has emerged as the biggest date on Tolly's calendar, the week ahead of Christmas proved profitable for Har Har Byomkesh. With the Christmas release of the year -Arshinagar -yet to garner attention, Arindam Sil's Byomkesh thriller has been lapped up the movie-going janta. All this at a time when the industry is divided over the importance of releasing films on a big day. 


Bolly director Onir, who had shifted base to Kolkata from Mumbai a couple of years back, remained camped up in Delhi and Europe for the most part of the year. Tolly's own Suman Mukhopadhyay left the city for Mumbai, where he is putting together a project on theatre.While he is expected to be back once the venture has drawn to a close, Q -who travelled the world over this year with Ludo -has been living in Goa for a while now. The director, who had once pledged to wage a war with subaltern cinema from his hometown, said it was a deeply 'personal choice'. 


Tollywood and Bangladesh have always remained intertwined in their artistic causes, films being an integral part of this relationship. This year too, the borders got only more porous as four more Bangla actresses -Sohana Saba (Shororipu), Nusrat Faria (Aashiqui), Diruba Yasmeen Ruhee (Glamour) and Kusum Sikder (Sankhachil) -announced their Tollywood debuts. On the other hand, Paoli too started shooting for Hasibul Reza Kollol's Satta, which will mark her Bangladeshi debut. Indo-Bangladesh venture, Goutam Ghose's Sankhachil, too, took off on a strong note and the year ended with the announcement that Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee's Belaseshe will officially release in Bangladesh as part of the import-export policy within SAARC countries. 


Last year, around this time, the unit of Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, directed by Kushan Nandy, had to move out of Bengal after a series of misunderstandings between the production team and the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India, vouching never to come back. The fiasco cost him around Rs 1 crore. But the Federation seems to have moved on for good since then. So when some of the unit hands on the sets of Byomkesh (TV series) raised their voice against non-payment, Federation was quick to intervene. What's more, with Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) now bringing a set of guidelines for small-budget films, Federation has promised to extend all the help.

source: TOI

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