While searching for Bengali films of Panchamda (R.D. Burman, রাহুলদেব বর্মন) I came across an excellent site that contains all the films released by Angel Video. Their price-structure is a bit weird: I mean in this day and age, who charges from 35 Rupees all the way to over 300 Rupees for VCDs of films? A VCD is essentially an outdated product, regardless of how you package it and to have a one order-of-magnitude price difference based for the same product seems counter-intuitive.
However, they do have an amazing website with at least a few hundred Bengali films. The nice thing about the website is that they have a search-engine that actually works. I’ve loaded up my shopping cart and will post my review of how promptly they process my order in a few days. So far, however, the process seems extremely efficient for people living in India. If you live outside of India, the best option is to have the VCDs and DVDs sent to someone in the country and pick them up when you visit. Right now, Angel is shipping anywhere in India for free as long as you purchase at least 500 Rupees worth of items.
The Angel Video website means now there are options. Before, we didn’t have that many and essentially had to purchase from retail websites that had very-highly marked up prices like Simindia. Simindia has virtually a non-existent interface and absolutely no search-engine. The only good thing about them though is that they deliver worldwide and they do so rather efficiently and promptly (I can vouch for this).
Anyways, I did a couple of searches on the Angel Video website and was excited with the results.
But most of all, I was happy to see that they carry a good stock of films in which Panchamda composed the music. Many of these bear the stamp of his assistant Sapan Chakraborty (স্বপন চক্রবর্তী ) too.
The R.D. Burman tribute site www.panchamonline.com mentions that he composed the music for 32 Bengali films and another 134 non-film Bengali songs usually released around the time of the Pujas. I checked for the ones that Angel carries and was elated to find that they are selling 15 including some as rare as Anando Niketan with Sanjay, Sabitri, and Suparna (if you know anything about who Sanjay and Suparna are, do give me a buzz!)
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Utpal Datta stole the show in the Bengali film, Bikele bhorer phul. Here are a couple of memorable teasers for purposes of review. Both clips are under one minute and courtesy of Angel Video. If you like these clips, I encourage you to buy the original VCD from them.
In the first, Utpal Datta gets emotional while reciting the poem he wrote, Khokon amar jadumoni.
In the second, as a special guest, he gives a completely unexpected speech (তোমরা মেয়েরা, তোমরা কি?)
Robi Ghosh had a short, but memorable cameo appearance in the 1968 Parthapratim Choudhury directed film, Hansamithun. In this short scene, Robi explains the difference between mime and being an actual mute to a rustic friend from Contai.
Contai, Contai, Contai. Tui na ekhon ekta gaainya roye geli! Kothay Contai aar kothay Paris?