Movie: Biler Diary
Director: Biswarup Biswas
Story: Anabil, a 9 year old boy nicknamed Beeley by his friends, is sent to study at Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya- and he hates it. Then one morning, a mysterious new monk named Kanu da joins the school, suddenly turning Beeley’s life upside down. Meanwhile, Beeley is given a new diary to write in and when mysterious things start happening around him, he begins to realise that everything he wrote in the diary has started to come true. What sort of magic is making this happen?
Okay guys, I know I said I would write this on Saturday, but I had an exam on Monday and I’M NOT GOOD WITH TIMETABLES, OKAY? OKAY!!!
If you follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter (which you absolutely should), you’ll know that the premiere of the movie took place at Nandan on Friday, where Spiktinot was very much in attendance! I spoke to everyone involved in the movie, made a lot of new friends AND ugly-cried in the hall after watching the movie a second time. Just in case y’all need some more reasons to watch it (apart from the ugly-crying, of course), here’s everything I loved about the film, with ZERO spoilers to worry about.
As I said while reviewing It, there are very few films around which really explore the world of kids while treating them as fully formed people.
Biler Diary is one of those few. At no point does it patronise its young protagonists, choosing instead to portray them with sensitivity and intelligence, in their own voice, without adult interference.
The movie gives Kolkata its very own Hogwarts.
In India, residential schools are mostly phantom prisons with which to terrify misbehaving children into obedience. Biler Diary destroys this myth completely. The movie takes place entirely within the confines of the Mission, which almost becomes an Indian Hogwarts: a place of magic, fun, laughter and learning in which children and adults alike learn to take care of each other.
There are some remarkable performances in the movie.
Guys, I cannot emphasise this enough: the young actors in the movie are excellent. The adults were alright: when you have people like Biswanath Basu in your cast, you go in expecting a stellar performance; but the kids absolutely stole the show. From the comic timing of Aniket Chakraborty, who plays the young Bheyto, to the steadfast, mischievous presence of Sayan Ghosh, Doi (Junior), to the intimidating yet endearing Avinandan Chatterjee aka the teenage Bishey– they worked like a seamless team, and boy did it show!
The editing of the film is superb.
Now, I know this may not be the priority for most of you looking to relax with a nice feel-good winter holiday movie, but back in my first semester Film Studies classes, we first picked up the importance of editing, and how the best editing is completely invisible and yet can make or break a film. Guys, the editing of Biler Diary is brilliant.
The editor, the inimitable Susanta Chakraborty, is one of the best and most respected in the Bengali film industry, and one look at this film will tell you why. One of my favourites was the scene in which Beeley and his gang attempt to escape from the school during their evening prayer hall attendance, cross-cut with shots of the four running through the school while the students in the hall sing Khandana Bhava Bandhana, the iconic hymn of the Math.
There are also some very nifty dream sequences with some glorious lighting, and the way the transitions are stitched together in them made this nerd very, very happy. *wipes tears*
Which brings us to the music of Biler Diary, which is glorious.
SVF Music has brought together some very talented singers for the movie, including Rupankar Bagchi and the incomparable Usha Uthup.
Biler Diary, how much ever it focuses on life in Ramakrishna Mission, is ultimately not a movie about the mission itself.
It’s a movie about childhood, coming of age, maturity, and acceptance. This is what I found in it, and I’m sure you will find a lot more. Go watch it with friends and family and especially, absolutely your kids. I can guarantee they will love it.
Now that you’ve made it to the end of this post, I have exciting news! The makers of Biler Diary have a whole bunch of goodies to give away for the viewers of the movie, and now is your chance to win!
Just take a selfie of yourself in front of the movie hall with your ticket for the movie and upload it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #BilerDiary (don’t forget to make your posts public on Facebook!), and five lucky winners picked at random will get a poster, signed by Biswanath Basu, Samadarshi Dutta and Biswarup Biswas, as well as a Biler Diary badge and game cards!
Five prizes up for grabs, and your time starts NOW. The contest ends on 13th December, that is, next Wednesday. Run to your nearest halls, or go to Book My Show and grab your tickets NOW! Here are the halls in which you can see the movie: