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Ram Kamal’s ‘Seasons Greetings:’ A glorious tribute to great filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh

Movie Review:

Film: Season’s Greetings

Director: Ram Kamal Mukherjee

Cast: Lillette Dubey, Celina Jaitly Haag, Azhar Khan and Shree Ghatak

Streaming on: Zee5

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Any ‘tribute’ on celluloid is a dicey business. It depends entirely on the directors point of view about what kind of ‘tribute’ his film will be to remember and celebrate an internationally renowned filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh. Sometimes, a tribute is limited to using just one line before the graphic titles begin to appear on screen. Then, there may be a quote from the said filmmaker who is being given a tribute to, maybe using a famous line he may have said somewhere about cinema, about life, about his personal choices, anything. The fourth and the final tribute is when a filmmaker uses his entire film, including the title, to pay a tribute to his favourite filmmaker.

Ram Kamal Mukherjee, the journalist-turned-award-winning filmmaker and author in his second short film – A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings with Nation Next as the online media partner – after Cakewalk takes on a part of the directors first name Rituparno as Ritu? stands for seasons in Bengali. But the film is not in Bengali. The dialogues in the film are a mixture of Hindi and English and very little Bangla though the songs beautifully sung and placed within the cinematic space of the film ? are in Bangla.

India's leading online platform Zee5 will premiere Ram Kamal Mukherjee's Hindi digital feature A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh: Season's Greetings on April 15.
A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings with Nation Next as the online media partner

The narrative is focused on a meeting between a mother (Lillette Dubey) with her daughter Romita (Celina Jaitly Haag) after a long interval. The daughter is plagued by questions around why their parents separated but never divorced. She seems to have cultivated a bias against her mother and for her father who lives in another city and keeps in touch with his daughter only through telephone calls. The mother invites her daughter Romita along with her live-in boyfriend Usman (Azhar Khan) to a formal Bengali lunch. Though Suchitra, the mother, tries to keep up a cheerful atmosphere, Romita rakes up her anger and attacks her mother verbally with accusations her mother firmly refutes. There is a twist in the tale, which Ram Kamal keeps as subtle and as clouded as he could, within the circumstances he has trapped himself in.

A still from ‘A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings’ with Nation Next as the online media partner


A still from ‘A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings’ with Nation Next as the online media partner


The direct references to Rituparno Ghosh and his films: The reference to the daughter hating the perfume her mother used when she was a child is also a throwback from a similar slice of nostalgia from Unishe April. The subtle reference to the transgender identity through the character of Chapala is also from a Ghosh film Aarekti Premer Galpo. Romitas absent fathers name is Ritu and the name of the house in which Suchitra lives is called Utsab” the title of a Ghosh film.

A still from ‘A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings’ with Nation Next as the online media partner


A still from ‘A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings’ with Nation Next as the online media partner


The uniqueness of Ram Kamals direction comes across when Chapala is a child and dances with bells on his feet and also when she is an adult. But the director does not take this character forward and leaves it with feather light strokes that if probed deeper, could have impacted on the texture of the film and changed its direction towards a more powerful narrative.

The three main characters, Suchitra, Romita and Usman are fleshed out to fit into an elite, very rich and post-modern, posh background realised through the sophisticated apartment, in which the young lovers live, talk, argue and make love and Suchitras heritage home with priceless antiques dotting the scenario as she sings and dances gracefully to a Tagore number while waiting for the guests to arrive. 

Also read: Amid lockdown, Zee5 to release Celina Jaitly, Lilette Dubey starrer Seasons Greetings on April 15

Since this has been made exclusively for the streaming film audience, the film will be liked for the intimate scenes in the opening frames between Romita and Usman but making the very sober, rational and secular Usman a sexy stud. His characterisation points out that there are no rules that state that a sober, secular young man cannot also be a sexy stud!

Lilette Dubey and Celina Jaitly justify their respective roles more through their fragile, elegant and beautiful looks than through their performances because when the mother and daughter are together, they are too self-conscious and slightly ‘formal’. Maybe, this was precisely the directors intention and defines his directorial signature. Azhar Khan as debutante throws up a good performance as the nice man caught between a mother and her daughter that demands him to look awkward, embarrassed and confused and he does this very well. Transgender actor Shree Ghatak as Chapala puts in a very good cameo performance.

Ram Kamal’s Seasons Greetings is a glorious tribute to a great filmmaker!

Shoma A Chatterji is a national award winning writer and has written 26 books including a book on Rituparno Ghosh.

Also read: Seasons Greetings becomes India’s first feature film to collaborate with United Nations

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Ram Kamal Mukherjee named ‘Best Director’ for his short film ‘Ek Duaa’ at IWMBuzz Digital Awards

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Ram Kamal Mukherjee (R) whikle receiving the ‘Best Director’ trophy at IWMBuzz Digital Awards ceremony in Mumbai

Filmmaker Ram Kamal Mukherjee won the ‘Best Director’ award for his short film ‘Ek Duaa’ at the recently held IWMBuzz Digital Awards ceremony at Taj Lands End in Mumbai. The film is produced by Esha Deol Takhtani and Assorted Motion Pictures. Apart from winning the award, it was a special occasion for Mukherjee as two other films he directed also got recognized.

Esha won the ‘Best Actress’ award in the popular categories for her critically acclaimed performance in ‘Ek Duaa.’ After accepting the award, Esha said: “This film is extremely special for me, because I turned producer with this film and I would like to give entire credit to captain of the ship Ram Kamal Mukherjee for bringing such a wonderful subject to me.”

Avinash Dwivedi won the ‘Most Promising Debut’ award for his acclaimed performance in ‘Rickshawala,’ a film directed by Mukherjee. Avinash, who was accompanied by his wife and actor Sambhavna Seth, said: “This is beyond my expectation that today I am getting this recognition as an actor amidst all Bollywood celebrities for my role in Ram Kamal sir’s film Rickshawala. To get honoured for a regional cinema amidst such Bollywood biggie reinforced my faith in good content.”

Gurmeet Choudhary won the ‘Most Popular Actor’ award for his performance in Mukherjee’s film ‘Shubho Bijoya.’ Choudhary said: “Ram Kamal is an amazing story teller. When he narrated this story to me and Debina, we knew that this film will click instantly. I am honoured to receive this award, though the competition was really tough. I thank my fans and jury members who voted for me.”

Other winners at the award ceremony included Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Rakul Preet, Raveena Tandon, Huma Qureshi, Dino Morea, Sikander Kher, Sonu Sood, Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Manish Paul and other popular names from the Hindi film industry.

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JUST MARRIED! Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt tie the knot | Check pictures

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Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai

The much awaited Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt wedding fans had been eagerly waiting for finally got solemnised today afternoon in the presence of close friends and family members at Ranbir’s residence ‘Vastu’ in Mumbai. Check out some pictures of the same…

Alia took to her social media to write, “Today, surrounded by our family and friends, at home … in our favourite spot – the balcony we’ve spent the last 5 years of our relationship – we got married.

With so much already behind us, we can’t wait to build more memories together … memories that are full of love, laughter, comfortable silences, movie nights, silly fights, wine delights and Chinese bites.
Thank you for all the love and light during this very momentous time in our lives. It has made this moment all the more special.
Love,
Ranbir and Alia ✨♥️”

Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt

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The Kashmir Files should be declared tax-free in Maharashtra, says BJP spokesperson Rajeev Panday

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Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai

 

BJP spokesperson for Maharashtra Rajeev Panday, while speaking to Nation Next, said the controversial movie ‘The Kashmir Files,’ which grossed over ₹240 crore in India, should be made tax-free in the state. 

 

Panday told Nation Next, “The movie has managed to depict, if not all, the brutalities on Kashmiri Pandits. It is a bold representation of truth. Kashmiri Pandit community was forced to leave their own homes in the country. Imagine their plight! Maharashtra government should make it tax-free in their state like the BJP did.”

 

The movie, which is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the 1990s, has been made tax-free in at least BJP-run eight states namely Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Goa, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had also received requests asking him to exempt the film from entertainment tax in the state.

A lawyer and an actor, Rajeev Panday was appointed as the spokesperson for BJP in Maharashtra in 2017. Besides practicing in The Supreme Court of India and Bombay High Court for around 15 years, Panday has also been a name to reckon with in the entertainment industry.

 

 

 

Rajeev Panday

 

Rajeev Panday

 

 
Panday, who’s acted in Bollywood grocers like Amitabh Bachchan’s starrer Pink and John Abraham’s starrer Madras Cafe, has given many terrific performances on stage. He started doing theatre in 1998 with famous theatre group Act One in Delhi. After shifting his base to Mumbai (in 2003) to practice law, Panday continued to dabble in theatre and films. His recent performances at Ibsen Festival at Prithvi Theatre were appreciated well by the audience and critics alike.
 

 

A law graduate from Delhi University’s Campus Law Centre, Panday has also been actively involved in legal activism. Through his Public Interest Litigations, Panday has raised many pertinent issues like regulation of television content and charitable hospitals not providing free treatment to the poor people.

 

In his longstanding association with the BJP, Panday has served the party as the convenor of its Mumbai Human Rights cell and the convenor of the Election Cell of its Maharashtra unit.

 

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