When acclaimed director Mrinal Sen made Bhuvan Shome as his first Hindi film, he did not know that this film would give him the credit for launching the New Wave of Indian Cinema. And when the movie went extremely well with the specialized audience, Sen was in a shock. The 1969 film is often referred to as the film that made the “art cinema” enjoyable for the public as it had all the elements used in the “mainstream movies”, however its presentation was sophisticated, classic and left lasting impressions. In the 1969 film, Utpal Dutt starred as the title that can easily be described as a strict bureaucrat living a solitary life until one day he decides to step out of his comfort zone and realizes that life is better to live with people. When she meets Suhasini Mulay’s Gauri, his softer side emerges, something he has not experienced in years.
The 90 minutes of Bhuvan Shome are not dictated by a strict story, but are rather a collection of experiences that introduce the audience to some elements of the “new wave” that the Indian public had not seen before. The icy frames where Utpal’s inner monologue emerges, a narrator who is marginally sarcastic, and the animated sequences proving that the film is a surreal take on the theme of loneliness.
It is interesting to note that this was the first film concert for Amitabh Bachchan, who is mentioned without a surname in the opening credits. In his book, Always Being Born – A Memoir, Sen stated that he had to insist on Bachchan getting a check for the film and that the check was only for Rs 300. , made its first film revenue into a rather non-commercial film.
Bhuvan Shome’s themes have been interpreted in various ways over the decades since its release. Many see the film as the journey of a lonely man to find company, but there has been much discussion that the film has erotic tones. When Shome meets Gauri, she is surprised by her hospitable nature. The subject of the film and some of the close-ups of the two characters hint at sexual tones as Soum leaves his guard and accepts her company on his all-day adventure trying to hunt birds. Shome hunting to find a flock of birds discreetly implies his inner desire to be in a society surrounded by humans. Something from which he has distanced himself. While he did so willingly, he begins to question his decision after meeting Gauri.
Satyajit Ray, often seen as Sen’s rival, wrote a major essay on the film, describing it as “Big Bad Bureaucrat Reformed by Rustic Belle”. Sen, in his memoirs, wrote in response: “My job, to write in plain and simple language, was not to reform the bureaucrat because he belonged to an incorrigible tribe. “Bhuvan Shome, as I saw him on screen, was an arrogant man, lonely and sad, who eventually ended up with a tragic realization, burlesque and tragic nonsense that worked as a facade.”
One of the most fascinating sequences in the film comes when Gauri shows Bouvan around a “purani hareli” and remembers the stories of the rajas and maharajas who lived there. He sits in a corner and tells the story of Rani who had a “jula” in the same place. She raises her arms as if sitting on a swing and KK Mahajan (the director of photography) zooms in and out to give the impression of a swing in motion. Mahajan uses the camera in a way that highlights the loneliness that has overwhelmed Shome and is slowly giving way to others who are now more welcome in his life.
The Bhuvan Shome was budgeted at just Rs 2 lakh and was one of the first films to be funded by the Film Finance Corporation (now known as the NFDC), but gained an audience that Sen did not expect. In his memoirs, Sen recounted an incident in which he once traveled with a talkative taxi driver to Mumbai, and to keep his mouth shut, he asked if the man had seen Bouvan Somme. Expecting that he should not, Sen thought the conversation would end, but to his surprise, the taxi driver asked, “The one with the birds?” and described it as a “classroom movie.” When he learned of Sen’s identity, the taxi driver did not say another word for the rest of the journey and refused to take the fare.
Bhuvan Shome has won three National Film Awards – Best Feature Film, Best Director and Best Actor. Sen was a pioneer in Indian cinema, but among all his great works, Bhuvan Shome stands out as the film that started the new wave in India in a way that was accepted by the public and gave him something to analyze even years after its release. of the film.
“Falls down a lot. Unapologetic alcohol guru. Travel specialist. Amateur beer trailblazer. Award-winning tv advocate. Hipster-friendly twitter aficionado”