Rabi Ghosh (he did not use the 'Dastidar') enthralled movie lovers mostly as a character actor. But, directors always made it sure that his character was significant to the plot. Working with eminent directors of his time, he became a household name in Bengali homes. His popularity so climbed the charts that even today one glimpse of him on the screen and many of us stayed glued to the spot where we are standing, facing the television, to see the actor's emotive face. Notwithstanding his short height and unimpressive looks, this veteran went on to floor audiences with his ability to tickle the funny bone and his subtly satirical portraiture. Not just comedy, Rabi Ghosh excelled in serious roles, too. But they never became monotonous or drab. His mannerisms, intelligent acting and voice modulation went on to add colour and depth to the diverse roles he portrayed. In that he was a master.
Truth is, this Tapan Sinha classic is a mindblowing classic. A non-convoluted drama with a special message. And I give it to the director for roping in such fabulous actors who make this film seem a slice from everyday life. Never will you feel that they are playacting. Superlative natural performances, setting, costumes, dialogues and situations make this film so close to reality. Incidents that take place in this particular house shown in the film could have happened in my house, or in your house in the 60s. Many of you'll might have seen its Hindi remake, Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Bawarchi, starring Rajesh Khanna in the servant's role and Jaya Bhaduri. But Golpo Holeo Shotti is a different ballgame altogether. It is sparkling, real and lifelike. And it is in black and white, a tint that makes old films even more enjoyable.
who is married. A publicist by profession, he is always doing big talk about intellectualism, the long and shot of it. Note the cameo by theatre artist Rudraprasad Sengupta and his pointed approach towards consumerism and the use of the female body as a tool to sell men's products. It's awesome.
Hell breaks loose when the only female servant calls it a day. She is not going to brook so much work. It's funny how she lectures her masters on the rights of servants as propagated by the servants association! And when she leaves, the members of this family are back to blaming each other for driving the servant away.
The neighbourhood louts send Chinmoy Ray as a servant so that they can pocket the valuables in the house. But for Ray, a stick thin man, working for this big joint family is a big burden.
At this juncture enters enterprising Dhananjay, who is fast, nimble and dexterous in all household chores. But most importantly he is a teacher with an unobtrusive approach. He is modest yet clever, responsible and loving. Even before he is asked to do something, he has done it. He gives the tired souls of the house some days of rest from the daily grind, only to instill in them the fact that it is in their work that they will find joy and happiness (And boy, can he cook!). He is sympathetic towards Krishna, the orphaned niece, who is having a clandestine affair with Alok (Partha Mukherjee). This girl is ill-treated by everyone as she is helpless and alone. She is always at the receiving end of her aunts' wrath and harsh words. By the time the film ends, Krishna gets a new lease of life, courtesy Dhananjay. (I personally like this Krishna over Jaya Bhaduri's Krishna, because she is more true, more real).
Never a dull moment, this film stands out for driving home certain points so subtly yet so firmly. The song Shukh bole otho shaari, ghumayo na aar, e jibon geley phirey ashena abar is such a beautiful way of saying that once today goes it will never return. So do everything that you need to, today, as if there was no tomorrow. Life is small, hence it needs to be packed with so much. What is the use of wasting away a life cribbing about what did not happen and what is not there. We should be be happy with what is, and maximise on that.
The film is small yet effective. Styled as a tiny fable, the execution is hardly grating.Unlike the Hindi remake, that bogged me down with its length.
This superlative entertainer is available on YouTube and here. So, watch it. Or rather enjoy the experience of seeing Rabi Ghosh deftly bringing about a change in perception and personalities. And, of course, restoring peace in a family. It's a lip-smacking adventure out there, you can take my word for it...