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On the train with the Hero

On the train with the Hero

Postby manikjethu on Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:03 am

NAYAK was the first movie that the Master had made with Uttam Kumar, Tollywood's reigning superstar [in fact he was known as Mahanayak (Great Hero) in real life].
The hero, Arindam Chatterjee, is on his way to Delhi to receive a National Award for a film. Two problems bug him: his latest film is all set to become his first flop; and, despite efforts to hush up a late night scuffle he had with a man in a party, the news had made it to the morning papers.
In the Chair Car (Chair Cars in long distance trains have since been discontinued) is traveling a young attractive journalist Aditi Sengupta (editor of a women's magazine) who, though having no interest in Arindam or his films, is goaded by a fellow passenger to interview him. At first, Arindam politely but firmly turns down the request. During a subsequent meeting, though, Arindam begins relating incidents from his life. Aditi takes notes surreptitiously.
In the end, Aditi realizes that despite being at the pinnacle of professional success, Arindam is a lonely man. She decides not to publish the interview and destroys her notes.
Also in the train are Pritish Sarkar, an ad agency executive who wants to secure a contract from a big industrialist by luring him with the help of his sexy wife Molly (who harbors a secret desire to join movies); a Guru who runs a spiritual organization named WWWW (World Wide Will Workers), and retired columnist Aghor Chatterjee who holds a very low opinion of film artistes.
Uttam Kumar’s performance is effortless.
Highpoint: Arindam’s dream (rather nightmare) of him sinking in a pile of rupee notes.
The flashbacks were absolutely brilliant: Arindam’s days on the stage, the death of his former mentor (Shankarda), the veteran Mukunda Lahiri publicly humiliating him on the first day of shooting, the out-of-work Mukunda begging the now-successful Arindam for work, Arindam's refusal to help his trade unionist friend.
NAYAK was based on the Master's second original script (the first was KANCHENJUNGHA) which he had written keeping only Uttam Kumar in mind. Contemporary filmmaker Mrinal Sen vehemently criticized the Master for working with a “matinee idol”. In revolutionary minds as Sen’s, signing up Tollywood heroes for films was an absolute sacrilege.
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