Rituparno Ghosh's CHOKHER BALI has done superb business in Kolkata. Contrary to the false propaganda spread by vested interests, the Aishwarya Rai starrer has stormed the box-office by collecting a whooping Rs. 35,44,469 from 15 cinema halls, despite tough opposition from BAGHBAN, KHEL and another Bengali film, GURU. Based on Rabindranath Tagore's novel of the same name, CHOKHER BALI is set in the pre-independence era, in the early 20th century Bengal. It is a psychological study of relationships between the sexes in a well-to-do family, of shifting eternal triangles, complex motivations, subtle play of emotions. The story revolves around four protagonists -- Mahendra [Prosenjit], his friend Behari [Toto Roychowdhury], Mahendra's wife Ashalata [Raima Sen] and Ashalata's widowed friend Binodini [Aishwarya Rai]. This writer was amongst the first to gauge the potential of the film, when he witnessed portions of the film a few months ago. At that point of time, we had predicted, Portions of her forthcoming film, the much-discussed CHOKHER BALI [her first Bengali film], directed by Rituparno Ghosh, were screened exclusively for this writer and the feeling one is left with at the conclusion of the screening is of utmost contentment. Ash will win accolades not only at the national level, but international acclaim will follow as well. The look of the film, the setting, the ambience, the performances... every aspect of the film keeps you mesmerised. Undoubtedly, film-making is a director's medium and Rituparno's contribution looms large in every frame, every sequence.
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