Haven’t we all wondered at one point of time, how the child artist in Small Wonder must look like now, or what the lovely Arnold from Different Strokes must be doing for a living? Back home, we have seen Mukul of Sonar Kella grow up into a talented actor. But there are very many who have just retreated into oblivion. Kaushik Ganguly tells us the story of one such child artists who was lost in the pages of history now – Subir Banerjee, best known as Pather Panchali‘s Apu.
But then again, Apur Panchali is not a film about a lost artist. It is an uncanny tale of Subir, whose life is a stark retelling of the screenplay of Apu trilogy in real life. Subir was rejected for the role of Apu in Aparajito. But did Apu ever leave his side?
Superbly juxtaposed with scenes from Pather Panchali, with haunting background score adding to the narrative, the screenplay of Apur Panchali is like a collage of the blissful moments from Apur Sangsar – with Parambrata playing Soumitra’s role and Parno as Sharmila. One cannot thank Kaushik Ganguly enough for the magical 100 minutes at the theatre.
The serenity of the chemistry between Parno and Param is mesmerising. Parno’s heart-wrenching performance in the hospital scene would move even a rock to tears. Had Satyajit Ray been alive, he would surely have cast the two as lead in Apur Sangsar.
Pather Panchali was the song of the road that urges Apu to move on… Apur Panchali is a reflection of life that failed, yet moved on… Immersed in nostalgia, it evokes a longing for the roots and ends on a note of acknowledgment that life demands one to move on…