Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1963: Anil Chatterjee in Mahanagar

Anil Chatterjee did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Subrata Mazumdar in Mahanagar.

Mahanagar is a terrific film that follows the "fallout" when the housewife of a traditional home in Calcutta gets a job.

Anil Chatterjee's performance is an instrumental part of this film as in a way how he features as a performer also relates to the power exchange at the center of the story. This is as the film opens Chatterjee appears to be our lead as a smalltime banker. This is as he gives a quietly charming turn as we see him live his life and interact with his house including his in-laws, his son, his father, his sister and his, at the beginning of the film, housewife Arati (Madhabi Mukherjee). Chatterjee carries himself with this underlying confidence in all things as he glides through his life, even in his romantic circumstances with his wife where he presents an outpouring of warmth towards her. This going to the point that he supports the idea of his wife also getting a job to support the household. Chatterjee portrays this moment with a rather slick assurance of himself to the point he presents a sincere urging towards his rather hesitant wife, though with also perhaps a lack of severe thought on the process. This leaving the man only to be initially slightly taken aback by his father's extreme rejection of refusing to speak with his son after this decision. In turn Chatterjee portraying a moment of unsure disbelief that shows the first little crack in that leading man we initially saw. Chatterjee portraying suddenly a man whose whole life isn't that of some dream. This also featuring  a break in his performance where he is no longer that leading man in charge of it all, suddenly he's no longer the center of the world or the film.

As Arati begins her job, and slowly gets better at it, we have a regression of sort of Subrata so well realized in Chatterjee's performance. His work initially just shows those cracks as he loses that initial certainty towards initially and confusion towards the situation, particularly the extreme reactions like that of his father's. The initial reaction to this is to make the calm suggestion that she quit the job, based largely on his father's reaction. Chatterjee's delivery of this is essential as the suggestion he portrays with just a hint of that old confidence, while painting more largely within the realm of concern for his relationship with his father. This though immediately changes when he loses his own job due to his bank collapsing, and Subrata even being attacked by an angry mob due to that fact. His call to his wife, to tell her to absolutely keep her job due to him no longer having one, Chatterjee realizes the shattered state of the man in the moment by creating this real sense of fear for his family's livelihood. This in his meek delivery as he pleads to ensure that his wife keeps her job. This act not only make Arati the one keeping the family financially afloat, but also in turn pushes Chatterjee more often than not into the background. This isn't to say however Chatterjee becomes unimportant in fact this change perhaps leads to the most remarkable moments of Chatterjee's performance.

Chatterjee manages this notable tone within his portrayal of Subrata as he becomes basically an observer in his own family, as he just watches his wife accomplish much, while he accomplishes very little. What is so notable in this is that Chatterjee manages to create this sense of a sort of emasculation with both humor and pathos. There is something very funny in certain moments where Chatterjee shows Subrata so meekly looking over his shoulder as he finds a thing of lipstick in his wife's purse, or looks on as his wife makes up stories about his own success as a husband. Chatterjee's unease is genuinely amusing in this as we see the man in this state of extreme modesty. This never becomes cartoonish, even if one can get a good chuckle from it, as he does find something very sad in this sense of disconnection to his wife that also comes from this. This as he saunters off to do a basic chore, when she states it is not as though he is doing anything else, and Chatterjee reflects an earnest somberness and embarrassment of a man seemingly without purpose. What is key within this is though Chatterjee doesn't portray any direct maliciousness towards his wife's success, rather instead conveys this confusion in the man that stems from him being pushed out of his place of comfort in more ways than one. This is as he is no longer able to be the breadwinner for his family and he isn't sure what to take from the changes in his wife. Chatterjee manages to find such a real nuance in these moments of a man both unsure of himself and his own world in a way. Chatterjee emphasizing though this state of confusion that keeps him at this certain distance, uncertainty and insecurity of his situation. This comes to a head in the final scene of the film where Arati quits her job, though in a moment of advocating for a friend and fully confident in herself. Arati finally truly confides in Subrata, and Chatterjee is fantastic, in still a largely reactionary moment, of essentially showing the confusion lifting in this scene. It is quite moving as he manages to finally return to that direct sense of love and warmth to his wife, though now deeper in a sense as Chatterjee's eyes reflect a man seeing his wife in a different light, and of equal value to himself. This is a terrific performance by Anil Chatterjee, as he slowly essentially loses his leading man status within the film itself, however within this gives a captivating depiction of a man coming to a better comprehension of just who his wife truly is and what she means to him.

46 comments:

Robert MacFarlane said...

Has anyone watched this? It’s a long video (much longer than she usually does), but Lindsay Ellis really breaks down how Game of Thrones crashed and burned: https://youtu.be/BGr0NRx3TKU

Lucas Saavedra said...

Louis: your top 20 Robert Downey Jr. acting moments

Matt Mustin said...

Lucas: Wait on that.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: I am so glad you really liked this film and Chatterjee, I love it quite a bit personally.
Could I have your ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast, and your thoughts on the film and Satyajit Ray's direction.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers and ratings/thoughts on the cast.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And Ben Whishaw in Richard II is missing from that list.

Calvin Law said...

Completely agree with this review.

Louis: your thoughts on Dan Stevens, Navid Neghaban and Harry Lloyd this season of Legion.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Thoughts on the cinematography of Zorba the Greek and Ship of Fools.

Luke Higham said...

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
DiCaprio - 5 (Consistently great work with the Lancer section being the highlight)
Pitt - 4.5/5
Moh - 4
Butters - 4
Pacino - 3.5
Robbie - 3
Lewis - 3
Hirsch - 2.5
Qualley - 3.5
Olyphant - 3
Herriman - 3

Bryan L. said...

Luke: Your non-spoiler thoughts on the film itself? And ratings for Dern, Russell, Butler, Fanning, and Perry?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Could I have your thoughts on the scene from South Park, where Cartman performs Asia's "Heat of the Moment" with the Congress? I think I might even prefer it over the original.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

Mukherjee - 5(Loved her performance as I felt she managed to make a completely convincing transformation throughout the film. This not so much through the grand gesture moments, until the end technically, but rather very naturally smaller ones throughout. This mainly first being in wholly believable as the meek woman we find in the opening scenes. What's so fantastic is she doesn't overdo this idea. She's completely convincing as the woman who has largely just done what her husband has told her to do, and be in the societal expectations. There's an honest portrayal of the shyness of this state, as she defers. Then as her character gets the job, she great in creating the sense of growing confidence, from each of her successes. This naturally going from just speaking with more confidence, to slowly pressing her place with a growing, outgoing personality fitting to someone whose found she's far more capable than she's ever been told. Again what great is that she doesn't make this caricature of the "career woman" either, she rather naturally portrays this growth that culminates when she specifically stands up for another. Mukherjee is great in the climatic moment because she shows the reduced signs of the meek woman she once was, by portraying then the sort of effort then as she finally completely sets her stakes.)

Bannerjee - 3.5(He's actually rather good as the boss, but just giving a particularly naturalistic turn. This is in his interactions with Arati, that he portrays in this quiet growth of respect, and change even in expectation as she proves herself once again. This making his scene of when she turns the tables particularly powerful, just through his reaction that emphasizes how shook he is by her calling him out.)

Redwood - 3.5(She's good in portraying the two sides we see of her character, albeit briefly, in that initially we see sort of who Arati will become in just her nearly blithe confidence in her scene of standing up for the workers. This is against the moment of visiting in her home, where she tones it down nicely to portray just an earnest person who isn't exactly invincible.)

Haren Chatterjee - 3.5(He's effective in being largely reactionary by portraying the intense horror of the man as he watches tradition break in front of him. Again he makes it very naturalistic as this enforced instinctual reaction basically placed within him by the past. This only be sort thought upon however in his final scene, which is an effective change in appreciation for the person he's looking at, rather than the "problem" he associates with her.)

The film itself is a terrific naturalistic work, in the right way. This also goes into Ray's direction which doesn't use this an excuse to be boring. This rather finding the variety in the life by having the moments of natural humor, along with the progress of the characters. Each so though is realized with such an effective delicate touch, that very much emphasizing the acting in a way, but in a very effective way in knowing how to convey the story mostly through these, technically basic, interactions of life, which change through the central crux of the story. I find it particularly impressive though how it manages the major theme, by effectively portraying the variety of what comes from that. This in creating it as a complex idea, rather than a simple trigger for say just Arati's personal journey. Ray is able to manage this while his direction again emphasizes the naturalistic moment, rather than the "plot points" so to speak, to really make a rather remarkable film.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

The Life and Death is Peter Sellers is only okay as a film. It's general thesis is that Sellers was essentially a hollow nothingness as a man, who only lived through the characters he portrayed, therefore leaving hell for those who cared about him, and himself only achieving some zen state by portraying what he saw a kindred character in Being There. This doesn't quite add up on its own, nor does it make a compelling film beyond Geoffrey Rush.

Rush - 5(Speaking of Rush gives a great performance. That is tour de force in the sheer the amount of performances he has to give in this single turn. This from every single recreation of Sellers's work, from the goofiest Clouseau to the satirical Strangelove or even the more dramatic Chance. This going beyond that though as he also does Sellerseque imitations of the other characters in the film, playing actors playing various people in Sellers's life, again very effectively. In fact that whole concept would've been especially tired if not for Rush's ability to balance sort of the comedic riff with the dramatic intention of his work. He's great though as the "Man" within it all, who he doesn't portray as exactly nothing, however his deepest reveal is that of an insecure child desperately seeking the affection of all. In this Rush again does excel in creating this though not as an exaggeration but effectively as this most human, and destructive ego. This is against his more overtly charming moments that Rush depicts as, well charming, but very much always a character he puts on rather than truly him. This being the constant exchange between the charismatic performer, and just the desperate man within. He's outstanding even though the film itself isn't.)

Theron - 3(She's fine in doing Ekland's accent, however she's mostly there to be the object of Sellers's affection then later his wrath. She portrays both sides well but it is limited in each.)

Watson - 3(She's effective in portraying the supportive wife that slowly becomes the disappointed wife over the course of the story. She's good though in showing sort of the underlying concern for her ex-husband, even as he gets worse and worse.)

Lithgow - 3.5(His Blake Edwards is more than fine, though it boils more of down to a guy being constantly frustrated by his completely insane, though essential star. Lithgow does a fine job of the constant change of reactions to Sellers dependent on the situation, from the public niceties to the private distaste.)

Fry - 3.5(He's largely doing his typical thing but it works for the slimy, though "classy", hucksters to the stars.)

Tucci - 3(Very well cast as Kubrick actually, he delivers technically on that casting but he just doesn't get to do much in the role.)

Correct, stemming from the lists I was looking at placing The Hollow Crown as a mini-series (though I do consider them individual tv movies personally)

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Stevens - (I mean he continues to be great, he was in season 2 as well even though that season was troublesome. Stevens though naturally expanded David here, first a bit as the cult leader, where he "loves" everybody, and everybody "loves" him. This with a sort of maniacal edge to doing the hippy dippy leader. This with that internalized intensity still regarding him trying to "fix" everything, something that Stevens so powerfully grows as a dangerous ambition as really takes no prisoners on his time traveling quest. This though Stevens though finds the balance in just the broken young man who doesn't quite know where he went wrong, as he creates such a striking desperation in his act, even as he becomes sort of the "super villain" for parts of the season. It's great work from him once again.)

Neghaban - (Loved getting his alternate side as the very different version of the man as the duplicitous Shadowking. He manages to brilliantly reinvent himself as a man with an even greater ego very much treating himself as this "benevolent" God. In fact you kind get to see what his Jafar could've been, which I can see why they might've not done that, as he's pretty terrifying in revealing the sinister side of the man. This is against his work as the present man, who doesn't get enough time, however he portraying the Shadowking as a man of quiet contemplation is still notable, and I do wonder if re-watching the episodes one might be able to see more of his arc just in Neghaban's performance. This is as he does downplay the overt sinister nature of the man, to something else almost as a man attempting a wisdom of sorts. This until becoming overt in this in the final season as the changed man, which was rather effectively by Neghaban even if I don't think he got enough time to create the moment.)

Lloyd - (I'd actually say his Professor X is truer to Stewart than McAvoy was (not that that's a criticism on McAvoy per se), and honestly if they want to re-boot X-Men with a young professor, I'd just say get Lloyd because he was great here. This in bringing sort of the needed dynamic calm of the man. This where there's just a real power in the sense of goodness and passion in the man. There is this weight he portrays essentially to the idea of being a good man in an often bad world that he beautifully realizes with an understated yet palatable passion. He's particularly terrific in his moments with Stevens where he creates such a sense of the father kicking in, even while reflecting an appropriate confusion in the moment. Great work, and honestly made me not mind that there wasn't a Stewart cameo after all.)

Calvin Law said...

Oh I completely agree with you on the film and on the Legion chaps. Could I also have your thoughts on Lauren Tsai and Stephanie Cornieleussen?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Did Mahanagar make your top ten for the year, and if so, what position would it be.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is Mukherjee 2nd or 3rd for Leading Actress.

Bryan: Judging it on its own merits, I thought it was rather great, DiCaprio and Pitt were fantastic together, though I kind of wish Tarantino expanded on the latter's role abit more and give even more focus to them. The 60s recreations were utterly amazing, especially one that brought a huge smile to my face with a film involving the King Of Cool.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is Julianne Moore still a 4.5 for Game Change.

Luke Higham said...

Dern - 3
Russell - 3
Fanning - 3
Butler - 2.5
Perry - 3

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on this scene from The Lion in Winter?
https://youtu.be/Bf9q3npuKl4

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Ewan McGregor reprising Obi-Wan.

Calvin Law said...

A television series > Stephen Daldry film.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

What Calvin said.

Louis: Your rating and thoughts on Robert Pattinson in the Goblet of Fire?

Mitchell Murray said...

Louis: What would be some performances that you surprisingly liked the most, from actors that are often bland/underwhelming?

Some examples I could think of right from the start would be;

- Dev Patel in "Lion", although he'll hopefully find the same success, in more mature and heartfelt portrayals, as he continues his career.

- Sam Worthington in "The Debt" (This coming from a guy who doesn't even hate Worthington outright - he's unfourtunately just been rather bland in his more mainstream roles.)

- Brie Larson in "Room" (Haven't honestly been over the hill for Larson otherwise, but she's terrific here.)

I might also include Keira Knightley for "Pride & Prejudice", even though that performance surprised me more in actual effectiveness than style.

Bryan L. said...

Mitchell: He gave a Top Ten for Actors here:

actoroscar.blogspot.com/2017/07/alternate-best-supporting-actor-1954.html

And Actresses here:

actoroscar.blogspot.com/2018/04/alternate-best-supporting-actor-2008_14.html

Calvin Law said...

RIP Peter Fonda.

Bryan L. said...

RIP Peter Fonda


He and Dennis Hopper can tear the roads up again now...

Mitchell Murray said...

Thank you Bryan.

Rest in peace, Peter Fonda.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Zorba the Greek has some beautiful cinematography where Walter Lassally manages to create sort of a naturalism style black and white. This is as it manages to create a certain grit of sorts in the lighting that isn't overly showy, though thankfully not inert, in creating a sense of place on the isle in its style. This with an edge of romanticism that never loses sort of that gritty quality. This most notably in managing to find a certain sun bathed cinematography which is notable in black and white, as it manages to do this in reflecting a certain beauty, even though it is all just less black and more white so to speak.

Well as much as Ship of Fools is flawed, it's cinematography isn't one of them. Ernest Laszlo's work providing a proper sort of expected pristine for the time, this in creating effective composure of the sort of crowd scenes, while generally just having a proper lighting. This both in occasionally more dynamic scenes of darkness and mostly just a good general aesthetic.

Calvin:

Tsai - (I'll say she actually had quite the challenge in that she he had to make herself important rather quickly. Tsai though I found managed to give a proper sort of protagonist performance in a way, as someone not burdened by so many things as David and Syd by comparison. Instead portraying sort of this innocent eagerness in her quest of discovery by going about helping David. This also with portraying effectively sort of the growing desperation as her powers weight upon her. I also loved her final scene of sort of the moment with her father and growth. I wish more had been allowed to those scenes but I'll give Tsai credit because she still delivers on both. This in finding warmth in discovery a sense of understanding with her father, then her moment of sort of a more omnipresent, though still caring, presence in her final scene.)

Cornieleussen - (Deeply moving work in portraying the sort of recovery of someone who hasn't still fully recovered from her horrible treatment. She has a nice low key chemistry with Lloyd that inspires just this hope of warmth, that is beautifully realized by both. This is against her rather powerful depiction of sort of the weight of infliction that stems in this clear sense of doubt that is this consistent pressure upon. This in her interactions with the baby David, and Syd, that emphasize so effectively this concern for her son essentially through the anguish within herself.)

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

Yes, probably #8.

I mean just fantastic acting by Peter O'Toole more than anything, just being so brutally incisive in his speech as he rejects his sons, though I love his pause within this in his admiration for Eleanor in Henry's own eulogy in a way.

Pattinson - 3(I think he does more than a fine job here actually, that may be above what he initially became known for, though obviously isn't on the level of say Good Time. It's fine work though as he manages to be sort of the expected "jock" as you would expect, but I actually found he did a particularly good job in portraying Cedric's better side in the moments of urging Harry on that he plays with an appropriate earnestness.)

Luke:

Well I'll be watching This Sporting Life soon, so that'll determine that.

Yes.

Great to hear, as I loved to McGregor reprise it with some decent material. Hopefully the mini-series (if real) will provide it. I still don't know what they really can cover, but hey, I'll take it.

Mitchell:

A Monster's Ball's screenplay I'd say is structured based on an unlikelihood of the executioner and the executee's wife getting together basically. This isn't something I mind honestly, a find dramatic tool. I don't think the screenplay though does anything interesting with this idea. This in that it is ridiculous almost in the emotional trauma of the film, with the amount of deaths, turmoil and horrible things going on. The film being a mix of big moments in all those tragedies, with a "realistic" approach to the dialogue to avoid any real insight in the very big issues it covers. It really doesn't deal with any of them at any level, like take the racist father, he's there, he's racist, then he is almost dealt with off screen. There is no real insight there. There really isn't much to the character's journeys either, where their development is more assumed, and left to really be realized by the performances. The work has potential certainly, but its a cursory work at best.











RIP Peter Fonda

Emi Grant said...

R.I.P. Peter Fonda

Mitchell Murray said...

Louis: I'll say that when I watched "Monster's Ball", there was a certain distance I felt in seeing several narrative threads never really build to anything THAT potent or insightful. It really came across as a rough draft with too many unexplored avenues (Ex, Killing off Heath Ledger's character so early when some true intrigue could've been harvested from his role.) Even the narrative arcs we were presented failed to leave a lasting impact for myself, as for instance, much of the relationship between Hank and Leticia was too rushed; They're dynamic together was, to be frank, too cut and draw in regards to the more troubling aspects of there lives. It also pains me to say that I struggled to really see Leticia as a dimensional being, both because of a screenplay which lacks the right connective tissue between her louder notes, and sadly because of Berry herself, whose never completely up to task in her demanding part.

Calvin Law said...

Yep Heath Ledger should have been given much more screen time and focus in Monster’s Ball.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: See any 2019 films this past week, if so, could you give thoughts on them and ratings/thoughts on the casts.

RIP Peter Fonda

Calvin Law said...

Everyone: your television top 5s for 2019? For me,

1. Barry
2. Chernobyl
3. Fleabag
4. The Boys
5. Cobra Kai

1. Dan Stevens, Legion
2. Bill Hader, Barry
3. William Zabka, Cobra Kai
4. Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon
5. Ralph Macchio, Cobra Kai

1. Phoebe Walker-Bridge, Fleabag
2. Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
3. Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
4. Sarah Goldberg, Barry
5. Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

1. Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us
2. Antony Starr, The Boys
3. Jared Harris, Chernobyl
4. Stephen Root, Barry
5. Joe Keery, Stranger Things

1. Jessie Buckley, Chernobyl
2. Maya Hawke, Stranger Things
3. Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
4. Emily Watson, Chernobyl
5. Dominique McElligott, The Boys

RatedRStar said...

RIP Peter Fonda

Calvin Law said...

And does anyone have 5 bottom performances of the year? Right now I’ve got,

1. Keean Johnson, Alita: Battle Angel
2. Marwan Kenzari, Aladdin
3. Sarah Paulson, Glass
4. Rosa Salazar, Alita: Battle Angel
5. Nico Parker, Dumbo

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Kenzari hands down.

BTW, what did you think of Keaton in Dumbo.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: too hammy for my tastes but not truly bad or anything. Honestly could see his approach working with a different tone.

Matt Mustin said...

Calvin:
1. Jennifer Carpenter-Dragged Across Concrete
2. Zawe Ashton-Velvet Buzzsaw
3. Jack Reynor-Midsommar
4. Remy Hii-Spider-Man: Far From Home
5. Chris Geere-Detective Pikachu

RatedRStar said...

Calvin: Totally agree with you on The Boys, Antony Starr goes from funny to terrifying lol.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Calvin:

1. Keenan Johnson in Alita
2. Rosa Salazar in Alita (absolutely cannot believe how many people I know love this performance)
3. Jack Reynor in Midsommar

Really those are the only three that come to mind. I’ve only seen 11 movie this year, though.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on this scene from the Thing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qSbYEbtfoY

Emi Grant said...

Just watched Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark and it unfortunately got the best out of my inner wimpy self. So, I may or may not have covered my eyes during some scenes...with that said, I'll say that while clearly having a rushed first half and character arcs, it still has some pretty nice moments sequences. The special effects (at least those that I could watch) were pretty good.

Colleti: 3.5 (might go up if I stop being a wimp on re-watch)
Garza: 2.5
Rush: 2.5
Zajur: 3
Abrams: 2

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

1. Jennifer Carpenter - Dragged Across Concrete
2. Jack Reynor - Midsommar

No stood out as especially atrocious beyond those two so far.

Anonymous:

As much as the scene itself can be taken a little ridiculous in terms of the ability of the computer, only with a 2010 perspective, however a terrific eerie bit of exposition, that is dread filled, amplified by Morricone's score and Brimley's performance.

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