Death affects those intensely who are closer to the deceased. Are all equally human beings capable of burying the sorrow deep inside their heart when they bury a loved one? Then how do they deal with it? And what about those dying ? Should we leave them as they are or try to heal them, to revive them? These are some philosophical questions which needs some pondering over. And if the deceased is not a person ; what if it is “film”, on which movies were entirely shot and projected before the digital revolution? Most people would not have the same feelings then. But there are some are some romantics of “film”, who are deeply affected by this demise. Kaushik Ganguly tells the singular story of an old exhibitor, who is affected by this death of celluloid film, in his brilliantly crafted chef-d’oeuvre Cinemawala.
Paran Banerjee plays the role of the old, young-at-heart film exhibitor and also the owner of a wholesale fishery business. The story revolves around his life and family; his cinema, his old projectionist , his daughter-in-law, and his son. In his eventful last days his relationship with his son worsens due to their differences in ideologies. His son is played by Parambrata Chatterjee, who portrays the different shades of his character very realistically on screen. He is not into his father’s fishery business but he plans on a filmy one; he sells pirated DVDs much against his old man’s wishes. His wife tries to neutralize the heat between them but to no avail. Sohini Sarkar as this cute, innocent, young Bengali housewife is promising. The father son feud gains momentum as the latter starts an illegal show of movies in the village fair for cheap tickets. The only faithful to the old man is his age old projectionist, with whom he drowns his sorrows in liquor every night, repeating the same stories and hoping that celluloid will be miraculously revived. Arun Guha Thakurta as the weary , faithful, obedient projectionist delivers probably his best performance in the film. But after some days, in despair and hopelessness he decides to sell the film projector much to his own disliking. His old assistant, the projectionist rides the pale horse out of heartbreak for the loss of the love of his life, the projector and is soon followed by his master.
The approach used by auteur Kaushik Ganguly for storytelling is touchingly beautiful. He along with his director of photography composed the shots aesthetically to present stunning visuals of characters in light. All the actors do justice to the characters, especially Paran ,Arun and Parambrata. The subject director has chosen is of utmost significance- how the disappearance of celluloid is affecting those who were closely associated with it in its peak. The movie presents the topic in a subtle but strong way. The use of the sitar and esraj adds a soft touch to the aural part of storytelling. The partly surrealistic yet emotional ending adds a lasting effect in the minds of the viewer.
There is only a single paradox in this whole production. This beautiful journey about the nearly extinct celluloid film is not shot in celluloid, but shot digitally!
Film Score: 65