Friday, October 28, 2011

Jai Baba Felunath (The Elephant God)

Satyajit Ray, 110m, 1978

Here is a whodunit filmed in the ambience of Kashi, with the Ganges rippling and the music of boatmen. A jewel encrusted Ganesh idol is stolen and Soumitra Chatterjee playing detective Feluda is summoned for the investigation. The chase takes us around the wending lanes of the world's oldest city with a delightful score keeping joyous pace with the camera. It is Ray reveling in the streets and smells he passionately loves. The sadhus, bhajans, posters for saree ads, ancient havelis, weathered walls, take us back to our childhood which has not quite disappeared. The film is soaked with nostalgia. The plot meanders languorously picking up momentum half way and has a typically perfect Ray-film ending-suspenseful, funny and deeply sentimental. Ray is a true artist who loves everything and his camera is able to convey that joy of just being alive.

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