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Prosenjit Chatterjee, Usha Uthup to open Bengali film festival in Dubai

Starting November 2, the three-day event will see several stars of Bengali cinema in attendance, including Pallavi Chatterjee and Gargi Roy Chowdhury

  • Prosenjit ChatterjeeImage Credit: Supplied
  • Usha Uthup Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Some of the biggest names in Bengali cinema are making their way to Dubai for the Bongo Probashi Milap, a three-day film festival that kicks off on November 2 with icons Prosenjit Chatterjee, Usha Uthup and Jolly Mukherjee in attendance.

Aside from screening critically acclaimed Bengali films over the weekend, a special inauguration ceremony will see Uthup at her best — singing her heart out in a special concert. Joining her on stage at the Amity University Auditorium, Dubai International Academic City, will be singer-songwriter Mukherjee and renowned tabla player Pandit Bikram Ghosh.

Bengali thespian Chatterjee will also feature in a special performance, while film stars Pallavi Chatterjee, Gargi Roy Chowdhury, Arindam Sil and Mimi Chakraborty will also feature in the show, which will be anchored by celebrity host, Mir Afsar Ali.

Films to be screened over the weekend include thrillers Byomkesh O Agnibaan, Meghnad Badh Rahasya, Yeti Obhijaan, along with edge-of-the-seat dramas Dhananjoy, Chaya o Chobi and Bengali horror fare, Shob Bhooturey.

Speaking with Gulf New tabloid!, festival organiser John Shovon Gomes said hosting such an event was driven by the demand of quality cultural Bengali fare.

“Theatrical releases of Bengali films in the UAE is still in its infancy, which is unfortunate considering the large Bengali-speaking diaspora we have here,” said Gomes. “While I don’t have current statistics, according to recent numbers, the UAE is home to nearly 30,000 residents from West Bengal; and if we count the Bengali speakers from Bangladesh, that number goes to 40,000 who are deprived of commercial cinema in their language.”

Bridging the gap to meet this demand, representatives of the Bong Connection Dubai and the Emirates Bengali Club of India in Sharjah joined hands with St Xavier’s College (Calcutta) Alumni Association to give shape to this three-day festival.

Gomes further stated, the event will not be limited to films alone, but rather promote the Bengali culture at large with samplings of traditional food, clothing and meeting of business minds to promote investing in West Bengal.

He continued: “Bongo Probashi Milap is going to be an annual occurrence, which we hope will feature on the Dubai Events Calendar. We are also in talks with Zee Bangla to host an awards ceremony in Dubai, which will honour the best of the community across all genres — film, music, personality. This will be our tribute to all of Bengal.”


Must-watch movies

Check out the films that will be screened on November 3 and 4 at Amity University with several film cast and crew members in attendance for an interactive question and answer session post the screening.

Yeti Obhijaan (November 3 at 12pm, with actor Prosenjit Chatterjee)

Starring Prosenjit Chatterjee and Aryann Bhowmik, the adventure film is the sequel to Mishawr Rawhoshyo, where the fictional sleuth Kakababu returns with his nephew Sontu to unravel the mystery of the mythical beast, the Yeti.

Byomkesh O Agnibaan (November 3, 3pm)

Actor Jisshu Sengupta returns as everyone’s favourite detective Byomkesh Bakshi who is now the target of a drug kingpin, even as the fictional sleuth attempts to solve an unrelated murder of a woman who died with a single matchstick in her hand.

Dhananjoy (November 3, 6pm with director Arindam Sil and actress Mimi Chakraborty)

Starring Anirban Bhattacharya and Chakraborty, the courtroom drama is based on the real-life conviction of Dhananjoy Chatterjee, who was hanged in 1990 following the murder of Hetal Parekh.

Chaya o Chobi (November 4, 12pm)

The drama starring Abir Chatterjee, Koel Mallick and Churni Ganguly follows a London-based film director who heads to India to shoot her first Bengali film. Things don’t go according to as plan when, halfway through the shoot, the film’s leading lady disappears.

Meghnad Badh Rahasya (November 4, at 3pm with producer Firdausul Hasan and actress Gargi Roy Chowdhury)

The thriller follows the disappearance of renowned writer and professor Asimavo Bose. Suspects include his close circle of family and friends, each of whom has a motive to kill Bose. The only clue to this mystery is a copy of Meghnad Badh Kavya, a gift that Bose received on his birthday from an unnamed friend.

Shob Bhooturey (November 4, at 6pm)

The horror movie starring Abir Chatterjee and Sohini Sarkar follows a reluctant ghost buster who needs to rid a village haunted by spirits.


Don’t miss it!

Bongo Probashi Milap festival starts on November 2 at the Amity University auditorium. The inauguration event starts at 7pm. Films to be screened on November 3 and 4 at the same venue. Check online schedule for timings. Tickets available on Platinumlist.