Of the Ashutosh’s Novels and stories, some are made into movies some are not. Of these screened too, some I had seen some I haven’t yet and some probably I won’t be able to (out of circulation). The volume one had three novels- of which two had been made into movies – both famous – Chalachal (Safar in Hindi?) and Saat Pakey Bandha (Kora Kagaz), and a non movie Balakar Mon (Lover’s heart). Now I am half way to the volume two. In fact the first Novel of it, Pancha Tapa (again a movie). This movie at the moment is untraceable.
It would be interesting to see who had been given which role. The first three of course can be guessed, Santwana must be Arundhati Devi, though unless I see the movie I won’t be sure whether she would suit the role? I have confidence on Asit Sen, but could he managed to make Santwana of Arundhati?
As usual when you go through the novels, you find a movie that had been complete otherwise, had not brought out the view of the novelist totally. There are quite obvious differences between how novelist imagined his characters and how the dramatist (director) viewed his.
While doing that there had been some sharp differences too. For example in Chalachal, the main protagonist – Abinash – had been dark, sickly (as if suffering with consumption) and in fact in general sick too. Nirmal really doesn’t fit the role, I would have liked some on with the figures of Premangshu to be more suitable. This relative ugliness (or I would say complete lack of handsomeness) is a very important part in the psyche of Abinash, which a hero material (Nirmal) couldn’t get. When one really looks at the novel, probably Nirmal was much more important in shaping the story than the heroine Soroma (Arundhati).
For this movie Chalachal of course the screenplay too was Ashutosh’s so one shouldn’t blame Asit for it. In the novel the brother Monimoy, is widower, but in the movie he had a full fledged living wife (Tapati). All these make quite some difference between the two stories. Som times the reason of the people’s behaviour differs. Talking of Chalachal, every one hated Abinash’s plain talk, but sooner or later agreed to it, including a few too late (for example Aparna Chand, Professor Chand’s actress wife) – for him (Abinash) and almost for them (Mr and Mrs Chand) too.
Abinash is respected but not loved by any one (except Soroma, who loves him, but doesn’t accept it to herself either). He is listened to, his plain talks put in the mind, but rarely followed. The discourses almost always ended in an unpleasant scene between Abinash (who for his credit would take all the insult without giving back) and the other who thought of him/her as the party insulted by Abinash. This other were all the people in the movie he had come in contact with, including Soroma. The only exceptions to this were Dr Chand and Montu (he was any way too young and had never been taken seriously by Abinash).
Soroma against that is loved by everyone but she loves none. She has a single purpose in life, science.
Musing over these two characters made me think. Soroma was the epitome of the single minded pursue of success. The success is loved and coveted by all, but the success isn’t partial to any one, and in fact it doesn’t love any one at all. One which deviates from its way, is discarded and often destroyed even the one closest – her husband (Bipin Choudhury).
The name itself, I don’t know with what intention, had been apt.
As per the dictionary, Sarama is considered to be the power of Light and usually interpreted to be the Dawn (Usha). She is fleet footed traveller and seeker. She does not herself possess the Truth (Light) instead finds what is lost (the Light of Dawn). Some commentaries of Rigveda explains the kidnapping of the cows as the stealing of the Light (Night?). Sarama (Usha, or the Dawn), finds them and is then followed by Indra (the God of Light). If I take the second meaning- the mother of all canine creatures (in plain talks, a bitch), probably many viewers, especially the male audience, would find a lot of similarity there too.
Abinash means, and he himself tells too, one which can’t be destroyed. He personifies conscience. He is listened to, but not heeded. He gave all proper advice, which was worse that quinine for the one addressed to, without exception. There is only one who loves him and wants to have an association – the success (Soroma) – but the conscience doesn’t have to really have an association with one who is rushing at that speed. He stays beside, trying to moderate, advice, but there comes a stage, when the weak conscience is no more able to moderate any more. He departs, but the influence remains.
Chand is teacher, Guru. He is absent minded and his only aim is to groom his pupil to success. He too loves success, but not explicitly, in fact he himself didn’t realise till he paused. It was after he became blind, and hence unable to be in the role of the teacher anymore.
Aparna was the ultimate feminine figure. Beautiful, artistic, wanting to have a baby and in desperate love with her husband, Prof Chand, who neglected her. His neglect wasn’t a deliberate neglect, but being able to forget of her person, which is more than a deliberate neglect for one who was as sensitive as her. She knew of Chand’s love for Sarama, though none of the two were aware themselves, and was not only jealous, did all she could to make Chand jealous and thereby bring him back to her. She could make Chand jealous alright, but his ego, or probably wrong interpretation of Aparna’s acts, failed her plan. But when he was helpless, it was she he went back to, in fact repulsing Soroma, and she was there, waiting to take him back on her laps.
Bipin was the brave (foolhardy) and the success of course was his, as birthright. The conscience too said that the success should be supported by the strength and courage. But even braves might have self doubts, and when due to it the brave became a bit vulnerable and weak, the success left him (here he left her). Montu was his younger version. He too loved success to distraction, though she was, he knew, unattainable. When it was finally declared to be (Call me Sister, and not sister-in-law), he left to blaze his own trail, far away from the known route.
When Bipin could not bear any further, he took Cyanide, and that too served by her. In the movie it seemed that he wanted to be proved to be a murderess, and send her to gallows. But the novel brings another aspect. He wanted to die of the poison administered by her, but before that he makes a request that that she shouldn’t ever tell that it was she who administered him the medicine (which shs didn’t know had cyanide). Of course she didn’t keep his last request and gave a statement telling that it was she who had served and then none would believe she didn’t know. This is what she tells Abinash (the conscience) when he asks and then he breaths a sigh of relief. The conscience didn’t want a stain in his conscience by thinking a brave man to have fallen as low as that to frame an innocent.
His status exactly matches one Rabindra Geeti- Ami Jene shune Bish Korechhi paan – not from this movie though (it is from another, Nabarag).
I have taken the poison in my full senses,
Having gifted my life unmindful of the life,
It burns me whenever I look at her,
But I silently bear all my pains,
and inescapably rush to immolate myself
Baring my chest to take all those fiery arrows
The more she burns me with her smile,
The more the thirst for her love increase
But the more I beg for the nectar of love
The more she pours the fiery poison in my heart.