For the last six decades Soumitra Chatterjee has been revered, followed, worshipped – he had been a way of life, for many. The idea of this book stems from the many discussions the author had with Soumitra Chatterjee for over the last few years
For the last six decades Soumitra Chatterjee has been revered, followed, worshipped – he had been a way of life, for many. There is no doubt that he is a product of our time, our culture for over half a century. Yet, he knew the secret to transcend time and culture in the most magical way.
Probably he approached life with openness and generosity which is why he seemed transparent, yet arty. He could sport naturalism as his ego, less judgmental and hungry. Fastidious about his own art he was liberal to concepts, who perfected a sense of emotional detachment in order to engage himself in a mental and esoteric travel to other eras, other moments in history.
The idea of this book stems from the many discussions the author had with Soumitra Chatterjee for over the last few years. This is not a biography. Nor a hagiography of a bright star of the collective mental sky.
The book holds the author’s many anxieties, questions, hazy perceptions and unresolved miseries. In the discussions, there have been some common themes – separation, return, fear and death. Then painting, poetry, reading. The themes repeat though not in this same order.
Just like a good cinema must reflect some good shots, a good writing must also leave behind, apart from others, a few good sentences. The silent steals, the distant murmurs, the broken dreams. A memoir needs to teem with unfulfilled love, the moments of grief and pain. And silence.
This book is written in the present tense throughout. In discussions of soul time freezes, fleets and flies. In these we probe the boundaries of words. What is left to thinking if there aren’t words as friezes?
For glimpses into the book, read the previews here:
An excerpt from a new essay of conversations with the legendary actor – “Frankly, I never thought it like this. Yes, I was lucky in the initial days with my choice of films. I think you have a point. It will be a privilege to be compared with Tendulkar, any day, he flashes his brilliant smile in happy sustenance.”
Don’t miss this intimate conversation with Soumitra Chatterjee.
~ Scroll.in carries an excerpt of Murmurs: Silent Steals with Soumitra Chatterjee
'Murmurs: An Abstract Tapestry That Succeeds in Keeping the Reader Hooked'
Learning and Creativity | January 4, 2021
Noted film critic and documentary film maker Subha Das Mollick previewed ‘Murmurs’ and mentioned — “It is not an easy task to hook the reader with stream of consciousness words, phrases, sentences through 90 pages and 19 chapters. Amitava Nag’s book Murmurs: Silent steals with Soumitra Chatterjee succeeds in keeping his reader hooked as he weaves an abstract tapestry with fragments of memory around the author’s numerous engagements with Soumitra Chatterjee…..”
Amitava Akash Nag’s New book Murmurs: Silent Steals with Soumitra Chatterjee is a memoir unlike any other. An introspective and ruminative recollection of the author’s conversations with the late actor, the book offers us an intimate look at the man who was much more than an actor.
“In cinema, I did reject roles on merit at times. I was never very perturbed about remunerations a role may offer. Why else do you think I rejected the offers from Bombay? Even from Hrishikesh Mukherjee. But in hindsight, a stint in Bombay would have secured the future, he fiddles with his ancient non-touchscreen, petite mobile phone.” – An excerpt from the book.
Cinemaazi Magazine publishes a beautiful preview of the book along with excerpts from the book.
“A teenage boy stood and waited outside the gate of the actor Soumitra Chatterjee’s house hoping to catch a glimpse of the then-sexagenarian legend. Over the years that boy managed to befriend the legend away from his screen life. Starting with an interview back in 2009, author Amitava Nag and Soumitra Chatterjee weaved a warm and translucent friendship that transcended the barrier that usually exists between actors and their admirers” – Murmurs: Silent Steals with Soumitra Chatterjee is a result of that wonderful friendship.
The Hindu BusinessLine | By Sathya Saran | January 18, 2021
Noted author and editor Sathya Saran reviews Murmurs: Silent Steals with Soumitra Chatterjee in The Hindu Business Line
*The setting for these meetings is a garage turned into a very basic study with a low roof where the sunlight often struggles to enter
*We learn that he is inspired by Tagore as a painter, and not, as one would expect, Satyajit Ray
*Nag also draws out Chatterjee’s admiration for Pele, Gary Sobers, and to an extent Tendulkar
The Indian Express | By Gautam Chintamani | May 30, 2021
At the time of his death in November 2020 following COVID-19 complications, he was preceded perhaps by only Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray when it came to reverence. Noted author and film historian Gautam Chintamani reviews
Amitava Nag’s deeply reflective and personal book on Bengal's last Renaissance man, Murmurs, is an intriguing literary work. It makes us wonder whether while celebrating the actor, we have overlooked the cerebral and deeply sensitive artiste who was constantly evolving and asking himself if he had given back as much as he had received over the course of his long and illustrious career.
Amitava Nag is an independent film critic based in Kolkata and editor of Silhouette. His most recent books on cinema are Murmurs: Silent Steals with Soumitra Chatterjee, 16 Frames and Smriti Satta o Cinema. His earlier writings include the acclaimed books Satyajit Ray’s Heroes and Heroines and Beyond Apu: 20 Favourite Film Roles of Soumitra Chatterjee. His latest book is The Cinema of Tapan Sinha: An Introduction.
Amitava also writes poetry and short fiction in Bengali and English – observing life in a platter. His poetry collection Forever Meera and translation anthology of Soumitra Chatterjee’s English poems titled Walking Through the Mist were published in 2020. He can be reached at www.amitavanag.net.