ROBIBAAR: IT HAPPENED ON A SUNDAY
Atanu Ghosh’s new film, an exploration of the human condition, is a richly rewarding experience
Cast: Prosenjit Chatterjee, Jaya Ahsan
Director: Atanu Ghosh
Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri
‘Bolo ki bolbo? … adalat, kichu bolbe ki erporo? / Jao aajibon oshanti bhog koro’ – Atanu Ghosh’s unsentimental take on relationships and their unpredictability in a contemporary urban landscape begins with this epigraph from a poem by Joy Goswami, ‘Ishwar o Premikar Songlaap’ (A Dialogue between God and the Lover). And if you reflect on it, the essence of Robibaar can be gleaned from these lines, and in keeping with the obscure nature of the words, the film-maker makes a brilliant choice in holding back almost as much, may be even more, than what he reveals.
The narrative unfolds over a Sunday – a day, as we learn from an announcer on the radio, when the rain, sun and clouds are playing hide-and-seek with each other. The narrative itself insists on doing the same so that at no time are you sure of what is to come next. The relative leisure and quietude that normally mark a Sunday allows the film-maker the leeway to probe into its protagonists’ motivations without rushing through and with large pockets of silence where the viewer is left to draw his own inference.
Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri is either an 'accidental' editor who strayed into publishing from a career in finance and accounts or an 'accidental' finance person who found his calling in publishing. He studied commerce and after about a decade in finance and accounts, he left it for good. He did a course in film, television and journalism from the Xavier's Institute of Mass Communication, Mumbai, after which he launched a film magazine of his own called Lights Camera Action. As executive editor at HarperCollins Publishers India, he helped launch what came to be regarded as the go-to cinema, music and culture list in Indian publishing. Books commissioned and edited by him have won the National Award for Best Book on Cinema and the MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Images) Award for Best Writing on Cinema. He also commissioned and edited some of India's leading authors like Gulzar, Manu Joseph, Kiran Nagarkar, Arun Shourie and worked out co-pub arrangements with the Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Archives, apart from publishing a number of first-time authors in cinema whose books went on to become best-sellers. In 2017, he was named Editor of the Year by the apex publishing body, Publishing Next. He has been a regular contributor to Anupama Chopra's online magazine Film Companion. He is also a published author, with two books to his credit: Whims – A Book of Poems (published by Writers Workshop) and Icons from Bollywood (published by Penguin Books).