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: Moments 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.
He succeeds in capturing unspoken thoughts, suppressed sighs, internalized monologues of the ageing actor, thespian, poet and painter as he sits in his ‘garage turned into a study – low roof and basic’. Shifting lights and changing season outside blend with the swirling coffee in slow motion as unspoken words hang heavy in the still air inside the room. As Soumitra copes with his failing health and aching body, he articulates his unfulfilled aspiration, ‘But Amitava, I still would have loved to be a Sir Garfield Sobers’.
Amitava Nag’s impressionistic recounts in Murmurs are intimate and bereft of eulogy. He is neither overwhelmed, nor judgmental. His observant eye catches every fleeting shadow on the actor’s countenance and reads into every turn of his head and torso. Through the nineteen chapters, each of which is a well crafted work of art, Soumitra Chatterjee’s soul is revealed to the readers. A must read not only for the admirers of the thespian, but also for admirers of experimental literary work.
Subha Das Mollick is a media teacher and a documentary filmmaker. She has made more than 50 documentary films on a variety of subjects, most of which have been aired on the national television. She had been the head of the Film Studies and Mass Communication Deptt. at the St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.