Nowadays, after too many unfortunate events I have seen a wave of people looking for different kind of cinema, apart from regular Bollywood cliches. So, I think this is the right time to talk about my all time favourite movie and bring it into some more people’s watch list. It’s the all time classic of Satyajit Ray, 'Sonar Kella'.
Released in 1974, this film is based on the mystery novel written by Ray himself. The maximum plot is around different parts of Rajasthan and finally reaching the core destination of ‘Sonar Kella’ or ‘The Golden Fortress' situated in Jaisalmer, Western Rajasthan.
The story is such that the protagonist, a schoolboy named Mukool turns out to be a jatiswar (one who can remember his/her past life). Media presents the entire interview with the boy in a juicy manner and that ultimately attracts two dangerous criminals who got lured thinking that there is hidden treasure in that Fort (Kella). By the time the news reached them, Mukool already went off to Rajasthan with para psychologist Dr. Hajra who was into some research regarding prior life memories. The criminals start chasing them down and fearing their intentions, Mukool's father approaches Feluda, the private investigator who along with Topshe starts their journey in search of them to protect Mukool. There are several other characters, my favourite being ‘Jatayu'. He is an important part of the Feluda series but he was first introduced in this story. There’s not much action, fancy songs or dance numbers or any high frequency background music, but the story itself, the performances and beautiful play of ‘mogojastro' or one can call it brain storming, will force you to stick to the seats throughout. For those who do not understand Bengali can refer to the subtitles. Although there wasn’t any fancy number, yet Ray beautifully introduced two very melodious Rajasthani folk songs so gracefully.
My dream to visit Rajasthan and specially Sonar Kella began at a very early age of around 4 or 5 and it finally came to life in December, 2010. Not just mine, but also my parent’s dream was achieved that day. The spark I saw in my father’s eyes when he called my grand father standing there saying “Baba, I am standing infront of Sonar Kella!” was unforgettable. Guides outside the Fort kept screaming “Mukool ka bari dikhayenge". An entire tourist spot is standing high just on the basis of a movie. Inside the Fort there was a market of all traditional Rajastani things. We entered a shop looking for yellow limestone utensils which are the speciality of the place and also yellow limestones are the reason behind the fort’s golden colour. Suddenly, a voice from behind, “Came here after watching Sonar Kella?” We turned, it was the shop owner. We said, “Yes!”, to which he replied, “You are too late. I was in my teenage when I ran away from home with one dream to behold Sonar Kella in real life and reached here". He narrated his entire journey from difficulties in reaching here to working as a daily labourer for living and ultimately starting this business of his own. We kept listening with awe.
It was a wonderful and dreamy experience overall and we can probably never stop thinking about that day. One movie changed lives, created dreams and popularised an entire tourist destination. What a magic Ray has created!
As I write this, the goosebumps are so inevitable. I have always loved this movie and would sincerely recommend this to everyone of you. I didn’t talk about the climax here as it is for you to find out. I would love to hear from you all about your feelings or reviews after watching it and we can later discuss the Magic of Ray!!!