Are the 'Bongs' always trying to re-invent themselves? Always seeking the unseen, the inexperienced?
Last time Aporajito dekheo thik ei proshnota i matha e ghurpak khachilo, ar shei shomoy er poristhitita o ei proshnotake ar o ektu chagiye tulechilo, karon ami nijei boshechilam BFI er auditorium e.
Shomoy palteche, Apu o palteche. The once rustic Nishchindipur has now become the urbane Kolkata. But the urge to seek, to strive have not receded a bit. So Anjan Dutta's Apu embarks on yet another journey...this time to America, the land of opportunities, the land of dreams. The neo-age Apu though remains Aporajito but it comes with the realisation of the stark realities of a fast-paced American life.
Bong Connection has basically re-stated the basic classification of the Bengali speaking clan.
They can be defined under 2 labels - Bangali and The Bongs. May be there is a 3rd category which can be named 'Chong', such as Rakesh who has compromised a lot and now has made himself believe that he is nothing but a second class American citizen.
Are the 'Bongs' the confused lot????
Dutta gives the answer and it is 'yes'.
The educated and potential section of the clan go to abroad for a better life as Kolkata looks like a sinking ship to them, but once in abroad the only thing they can do is talk/crib about Kolkata in such a way that restricts Kolkata within the mere periphery of Ilish mach, Jyoti Basu (whether the secret behind his almost immortal life is Johny Walker or not), Victoria Memorial, Traffic Jam, Posto, Roshogolla followed by similar and dissimilar mishtis.
On the contrary Andy is completely enchanted by the quintessential Bengali folk songs, Baul gaan and comes all the way from New York to Kolkata to pursue his passion only to be left disheartened and disillusioned at the end. He leaves with a notion that "ei lyadhkhor bangali der kissu hobe na." Where as a confused Apu returns with a feeling, " Ei ABCD ra spoilt ar na ghar ka na ghat ka."
The film is definitely entertaining, but at the end as I stepped out of the cinema hall and tried to wrench myself away from the crowd lined outside Priya I somehow felt a sense of entrapment. Entrapment of desire (those never to be fulfilled), dreams (unfathomable), worldly charms and most importantly the varied expectations of the folks.
Despite of SPE, Raima's urbane attire, Fluries and ever changing hairstyle, his love for baul songs, a displaced and misplaced Andy could not become a 'Bangali'. Similarly Apu uprooted and then placed among the NRIs could not mingle with them despite the conscious efforts from the 'jamai-hunting Bongs', the brat-turned-salwar-clad-Rita, the homophobic, almost-Americanised Garry and Haas, the Bangladeshi cabbie, who hopes to go back to his daughter someday.
The bottom line is no matter where we go, what we do, we are eternally trapped between the ever rising IT waves and frantic search for one's muse, between the Jack Daniel gulping Bong ghettos in America and the bhadraloks in Kolkata who still haven’t moved out of the Tagore time warp.
Once a Bong/Bengali always a Bong/Bengali and also remember you can always take the Bong out of Kolkata but never the Kolkata out of the Bong.
P.S - The music is good... shudhu pagla haoyar badal din er shuru te uuuuuulaaa uuuulaaaa ta shune mone hochilo ei bujhi elo Rakhi Sawant!!!