Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ek Din Achanak (Suddenly One Day) - 1989

Based on the story by ramapada chaudhuri, this is an awesome movie by the master director. This is the last of Mrinal sen's absence trilogy movies(the other's being Ek Din Pratidin and Kharij )

The movie starts with the stills of a calcutta affected by heavy rains(Actually these are the establishing shots as the movie jumps straight into the story).Then it moves on to a house where the family members are sad and silent. The sound of a car brings everyone to the feet.They all rush out to see who it is.We are made to realize that they are waiting for some one.The credits start rolling with a kind of a suspense music.

Once the credits end, the faces of the family members looking from there balcony at the car below is shown.There faces are worried and expecting someone.The car is not shown in the picture.But there eyes move with the car.The look on there face says that what ever they were expecting did not happen with the arrival of the car. Disappointed they all move back into the house.

The movie starts beautifully building a tension, a worry, into our mind right from the word GO.You are already hooked into the story.Why are these people worried , what are they looking for?.The search for answers starts right from the first scene and mrinal sen keeps us on the search for answers till the end.

The people were the wife, son and daughter's of a retired professor(Sreeram lagoo), who went outside and hasn't returned home. The story is slowly developed with the family members searching for the professor.The story alternates between past and present and through serious of flashbacks the family members and relatives try to figure out why he disappeared suddenly and what could have happened to him. what happens to the professor?. Did he return is the rest of the story.

The story is built through a series of flash backs by family members and friends. The story alternates between paste and present and mrinal makes some interesting cuts .somebody is knocking on the door in the present, professor's wife opens the door. The scene cuts to a flashback where she had opened the door for someone in the past.

The story is built slowly bit by bit, all the while keeping you engaged.Keeping you guessing. Your idea of the missing person changes with every bit of information you get. Your thought about the person is altered every time with the opinions of the different family members. Since you are told about the missing person through the words of the family member at first the audience are made to believe what ever the family member says.But later the audience themselves start forming an opinion about the professor as every family member perceives him with his/her own needs. Neeta (Shabana) is the only sane soul. Who sees things as it is.

The movie is kind of philosophical and provokes us to introspect ourselves in relation to our surrounding. If that professor was perceived by different people in a different way depending on their needs where?. how am i being perceived?. what is the worth of a human being?. Is he what he thinks himself as or is he someone that the people around him, perceive as.

As the story progresses we get to know more about the professor. In the movie the professor says that "The most important thing for people is success. Nobody cares about dedication". We can see the academically inclined, intellectual professor who finds it hard to get along with his materialistic wife and son. Neeta's uncle in a scene tells that even though he(professor) was with you he was lonely amongst you. And through the scenes of professor and his son we come to know that the professor is frustrated by his son's failure to become something and his own failure to become someone.

Aparna sen

Cast and Credits:
Shabana Azmi .... Neeta
Shreeram Lagoo .... Professor (Neeta's father)
Aparna Sen .... Professor's student
Uttara Baokar .... Neeta's mother
Roopali Ganguly .... Seema (Neeta's sister)
Arjun Chakraborty .... Neeta's brother
Manohar Singh .... Neeta's uncle
Anjan Dutt .... Neeta's boyfriend (as Anjan Dutta)
Lily Chakravarty .... Neighbor
Anil Chatterjee .... Arunbabu

Manohar Singh & Anil Chatterjee

music by jyotishka das gupta.Music is worth mentioning in this movie.Jyotishka das gupta sustains the tension and mood from the start to finish with some good background score.

Mrinal Sen

Awards and Recognition:
Uttara Baokar won the 1998 national award for best supporting actress.
"Ek Din Achanak" got a special mention at the Venice International Film Festival.

The author professor and aparna talk about is Irfan Habib


The movie comes to a beautiful end. One year after the professor disappeared all the family members sit in there house and talk about how wrong they were in perceiving there father. Neeta declares that there father was just an ordinary man and even he realized it.

And the professor's wife says that, till now she didn't say something that their father said. which is

"The most saddest thing is that there is only one life.A man only lives once."

The professor has pressed the Reset button of his life.He is starting over all again.A new life with what ever he had learned so far.


As if the names Shabana Azmi / Mrinal Sen doesn't increase the curiosity to catch this movie, your post adds to it!!

I've watched a movie called "Main Zinda hoon" which starts with a similar story-line.
hi aparna,
how are u doing?. Long time no c. Havn't seen Main zinda hoon yet.
hi sen, you back in form (ala sachin!), eh? me too back after a break!
I think late seventies and early eigties fostered this style of movie making across the world.

Try seeing Kristoff Kizielowski's movies like colors tirlogy (reviewed in my blog)
Yes that is true.I have seen the color trilogy and decolouge series.will check out ur review..
Not really.Will go into the slumber mode soon :)
Hey all. I am from Bombay, India. I have been dying to watch this movie and some other movies mentioned on dis blog. I have checked Moser baer and Shemaroo for these movies, but neither have them :( :( its extremely frustrating, please let me know if there is any way that i can get these movies. Please :) thanks!
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