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Mahalaya teaser has the right words, but lacks the reverberating voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra

Based on a true incident, Mahalaya stars Jisshu Sengupta and Subhashish Mukherjee.

Roushni Sarkar

The teaser of Soumik Sen’s upcoming film Mahalaya was released yesterday (8 October), on the occasion of the auspicious beginning of Debi Paksha. The film has been produced by Prosenjit Chatterjee’s nIdeas Creations and Productions Pvt. Ltd.

Based on a true incident, Mahalaya stars Jisshu Sengupta, Subhashish Mukherjee and Prosenjit Chatterjee. The film provides an account of the public outrage that broke out when the Akashvani Kolkata (All India Radio Kolkata) decided to replace Birendra Krishna Bhadra with the matinee idol Uttam Kumar for Mahisasurmardini, a programme that narrated the holy verses on the descent of goddess Durga to earth.

While Mukherjee plays Bhadra, Sengupta will mostly likely play the young Uttam Kumar. The teaser presents Bhadra's reaction on being replaced. He is not demoralised. While the preparation for the programme goes on without him, Bhadra says, “Akashbani amay bad diechhe bole, ami ki akash bad dewar chesta korbo? [Just because Akashvani has replaced me, will I try and replace Akash?]."

Though the words sound poignant, Mukherjee’s voice doesn’t remind one of the sonorous and reverberating voice of Bhadra. Sen has attempted to recreate the glorious period in which pioneers of Indian film music, Pankaj Mullick, Bani Kumar and other stalwarts came together and created one of the most popular radio programmes of all time.

Bhadra’s 90-minute-long recitation of Sankrit verses dedicated to goddess Durga in the programme became so popular and deeply ingrained in the Bengali psyche that even the 'Mahanayak' could not take replace him and, in fact, had to face severe public outrage.

Filmmakers have always challenged themselves with making period films. The audience will have to wait for the film to release to see whether Sen has retained the authenticity of the account.

Watch the teaser below:


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