Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Srijit Mukherji's Autograph

For those who know Srijit, and right now plenty of people will claim to know him better than they really do, his directorial debut carries an undeniable stamp - that of Srijit Mukherji. Autograph has his expressions, his nuances, his lines and even his sense of humour. It even reflects his taste - with the poster of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind - stuck on the wall of an apartment.

Starring two people,(Indraneel Sengupta and Nandana Sen) who should not have really been in the movie, the actual man who takes Autograph to a different level is Prosenjit. The 'banglar' hero, the man who, after years of acting in loud T-shirts and scarves around his neck, has come so far that he's almost believable. You want to reach out and touch him. You want to tell him how you think he's fabulous. He wasn't always fabulous.

Autograph, which is Srijit's story, is about a young aspiring film-maker who pulls off a fabulous film only because his vision never betrays him. In the process of course he loses pretty much everything that he would have perhaps held valuable at some point - love and self respect to begin with. And that young film-maker doesn't really give a shit. The problem is, the actor couldn't pull that off. If Srijit was playing that role, he would have, in a heartbeat. Instead the director chose to play a cameo, appearing as a driver in a dream sequence.

Nandana Sen, the leading lady, needs to retire or do something about the four inches of makeup on her face. Her whole persona is contrived, which is perhaps something the director couldn't really do anything about. A graduate from Presidency College (despite being obsessed with Antigone, which is pronounced rather badly in the film) cannot be traipsing around the room in bizarre cut-off tees and saying stuff like 'yay' - even in 2010! And as for the 'aspiring film-maker', there is something inherently wrong with the way he throws his dialogue because I can't grasp the fact why you'd be shrieking a question to a person who's less than three feet away from you. Mind you, he wasn't shouting, he was shrieking and that too, badly.

The cameraman of course deserves a hug and an award. He's made the film look as stylish any Indian film can be. It has the right kind of shifts, light, fade off and barring a few strange abrupt cuts, each frame is worth staring at!

I want to come back to Prosenjit. I used to hate him. He looked like a wannabe Aamir Khan (even though Aamir has done equally bad films) and couldn't pull it off.
I stopped watching movies with him in it and then altogether all kinds of Bengali films because he seemed to be in most of them.
And as he says in the film in question, "I am the industry!" Prosenjit really became.
But now I get it. I saw Chokher Bali - not really the best film I've seen. But, despite Aishwarya stealing the show, it was Prosenjit I couldn't ignore. Then there was Khela. The film hasn't done too well I hear. But I loved him in it.
And then there is Autograph. A flawed man who is not beyond love and respect, a super star who loves munching on apples and looking at his own posters, single malt and cigarettes - Srijit clinched the deal when Prosenjit said yes to playing the lead.
And for that, all of Srijit Mukherji's friends are entirely grateful because after him, many cowards will nourish the courage to chase their dreams, no matter what!