GALPO HOLEO SOTTI – AN UNCANNY REVELATION

During 1966 Bengali film industry witnessed some milestone movie works. Over the decades, movies like Nayak, Atithi, Galpo holeo Sotti, have still remained as one of the most discussed films around the table. And these genius works preceded some even greater works to appear on silver screen and helped Bengali movies get recognized in a wider scale fraternity.
While Ray created a benchmark with the reels of Nayak, not just a mere story of the name but of fame and the struggle to retain the fame which comes with the name that follows; Galpa Holeo Sotti was a complete contrast with its household comedy. Apparently the movie have been watched over and over again as the story of a family with its deformed inner stress, where out of nowhere a strange young man appears to work as a servant. Throughout the film the identity of this man (Dhononjoy) remains a mystery. And it is to be revealed by the film how this man reforms the family by helping each one of them finding their happiness in togetherness and silently working as their inspiration for fulfillment.
The movie was written and directed by Tapan Sinha, and the major characters were played by famous contemporary actors like Ravi Ghosh(Dhononjoy), Chaya Devi(BoroBou), Prashad Mukhopadhyay(borokhoka), Bhanu Bandhopadhyay(chotokhoka), Chinmoy Roy(thief) etc. this movie stirred such a huge appreciation that later a Bollywood movie Bawarchi(1972) was adopted and produced from this story.
The joint family culture was typical of a Bengali household, and the main theme of the comedy is generated from the mess and internal tension of this Haldar family, where everyone is seen quarrelling over minimalistic things. Each relationship of this family are shown to be highly codependent yet all of them are in complete denial of it.
The segregated condition in each rooms of the house show them being miles away from each other inside this tiny little rooms. They do not have any regard for each other’s profession or beliefs. Their own works are more of a baggage than a responsibility as they fail to understand Dhononjoy’s rendition of Swami Vivekananda- “jar jekhane kaj, sekhanei tar mukti(one’s liberation through his works)”. The family is infested with differences. All of the members are called by their relations like- boro khoka, choto khoka, and baba and so on. Ironically they were too unaware to recognize the weight of the title they were called by. Some may also find the family as the symbolic portrayal of the nation in its socio-economic and political adversities during the post-independence era. But the real excellence of the plot is in showing how the problems and their solutions are closely knit.
From the very first appearance to the very last Dhononjoy emerged in and out from fog, which is fully symbolic of an unconscious mind coming in surface to the conscious mind. As he introduced himself to be coming from an Ashram where they provide happiness and settle a peaceful environment into a family through their service. A tinge of fishiness is added to the atmosphere as Dhononjoy starts working himself into the family revealing a startling side to the story. Apparently Dhononjoy seems as an angel, a working-class representative trying to fit in the conception of Tapan Sinha’s romantic reformist. Thus he prepares food, runs errands and coaxes the family to come together. But if analyzed closely the hue of Dhononjoy’s character can be recognized as an outcome figure of human’s subconscious. As if he came as an angel to grant them boons and filling their interpersonal emotional gaps with his honesty.
Before Dhononjoy’s arrival, no servants could stick with working in this family. They are highly inconsiderate of one’s ability and they pour their own frustration over the household maids. The scene where this one maid is protesting against their ritualistic inability to come to vantage point about her wage may seem pretty comical with all the hassle and bustle but it is a sheer reflection of their middle class moralities. The movie walks us through a marvelous experience of life, keeping us less aware of the fact that this could be a “golpo” (tale) yet “shotti” (truth).
The master screenplay helps to bring out the perfect works of all the legendary actors. It is indeed a startling scene when a child is singing a song, taught by Dhononjoy which says “shukh bole otho shari ghumayona ar … ejibon gele fire ashena abar”(life is only given to you once, wake up don’t stay asleep) and the elderly members are in an awe. One servant has changed their thoughts and beliefs which led come to an inner peace with themselves.
The climax arrives when the family is seen standing beside themselves both literally and metaphorically. The box of jewelry represents their old clinging to material obsession. And the way they toss it from one to another depicts that they have overcome their own shackles of possessiveness. Krishna gains her identity for the very first time. But as Dhononjoy fades away in the fog we are left to question ourselves why is he going? When will he come back? But soon the director proves his genius once again by keeping the man in the khaki as a mouthpiece- “amar ashar ar dorkar-I hobe na”(I don’t need to come back anymore). The renowned famous director Srijit Mukherji perceives the movie as “After Ray, Tapan Sinha is one of my favorite directors especially his music. I think it was a perfectly structured screenplay that was impeccably written.It had a fantastic performance by Rabi Ghosh and it’s the finest example of the road cinema in Bengal. It is story telling at its effortless best.” I watched the movie nearly 50 times and it still is like the first time I watched it. I give the movie 5/5 believing that more people of our generation watch it.