Chatrak: A Controversial Bengali Film That Shook The Industry
Chatrak (Mushrooms) is a 2011 Bengali film directed by Sri Lankan filmmaker Vimukthi Jayasundara. The film stars Paoli Dam, Anubrata Basu, TÃmas Lemarquis and Sudip Mukherjee in the lead roles. The film premiered at the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and was also screened at several other international film festivals.
The film revolves around the lives of a couple, Kripa (Basu) and Rii (Dam), who are involved in a passionate but dysfunctional relationship. Kripa is a struggling actor who suffers from a mental disorder and is obsessed with Rii, a successful actress who has a dark past. Rii is also involved with a mysterious foreigner, Doel (Lemarquis), who has a connection to Kripa's missing brother, Rahul (Mukherjee). The film explores themes of sexuality, violence, alienation and identity in the backdrop of Kolkata's urban landscape.
The film generated controversy for its explicit scenes of nudity and sex, especially a scene where Basu performs oral sex on Dam. The scene was leaked online before the film's release and caused a huge uproar in the Bengali film industry and society. The film was banned in India by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for its objectionable content. However, the film was released in France and other countries with an uncut version.
The film received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. Some praised the film for its bold and artistic vision, while others criticized it for its lack of coherence and sensitivity. The film was nominated for several awards at various film festivals, but did not win any major ones. The film has acquired a cult status among some cinephiles who consider it a masterpiece of Bengali cinema.
The film was released online on various platforms such as Vimeo[^2^] and YouTube[^3^], where it attracted a lot of viewers and comments. Some praised the film for its artistic merit and boldness, while others slammed it for its vulgarity and obscenity. The film also sparked debates on the issues of censorship, freedom of expression, and artistic license in India. The film was compared to other controversial films such as Fire (1996), Bandit Queen (1994), and Gandu (2010), which also faced bans and protests for their portrayal of sexuality and violence.
The film's director, Vimukthi Jayasundara, defended his film as a realistic depiction of the contemporary society and its contradictions. He said that he wanted to explore the themes of love, madness, and survival in a chaotic world. He also said that he did not intend to create any controversy or sensationalism with his film. He claimed that the film was well received at the Cannes Film Festival and other international venues, where it was appreciated for its cinematic language and aesthetics.
The film's actors, Paoli Dam and Anubrata Basu, also supported the film and said that they were proud of their work. They said that they agreed to do the film because they trusted the director's vision and believed in his script. They said that they did not feel any discomfort or embarrassment while doing the intimate scenes, as they were done with utmost professionalism and respect. They also said that they did not regret doing the film, as it was a challenging and rewarding experience for them as actors. aa16f39245