Loads of Bengali Films with Subtitles at Angel's YouTube Channel!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I am excited to announce that Angel Digital, the entertainment company that among other things distributes good quality new and old Bengali films on DVD, now has a YouTube channel! They have uploaded countless black-and-white Bengali films (and some more recent ones too) and the vast majority have English subtitles even on the songs! I've always felt like Bengali films are harder to find information or videos of on the web (similar to Kannada films), so this is a stellar development!  Actually knowing what characters are saying or singing makes film viewing all the more enjoyable. :) Angel keeps adding more videos each week, so the collection requires constant checking to see what's new.  They also appear to be also trying out a pay-per-view option on some of the films for $1.99, but these are in the minority.

Despite YouTube's annoying "load more" button, I've had so much fun visually browsing through all of Angel's uploads avidly scouting for any dances. I don't think anything can top Roshan Kumari's Kathak dance in Jalsaghar (1958). Angel has of course uploaded the entire film with subtitles, and the print is lighter and has less shadows then the other versions online. Here's the Kathak dance in all it's glory:

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While I wasn't able to find any dances that can remotely compare to Jalsaghar's, I did find some interesting ones to share:

I think this song from Jamalay Jibanta Manush (1958) is the only time I've seen South Indian dance attempted in a Bengali film. It's not very good, but the dancer is clearly going for semblances of Bharatanatyam in her choreography and costume.



Helen's cabaret performance as Madhumati, the famous dancer from Bombay, in Kalankito Nayak (1970).  (She can also be seen in Gali Theke Rajpath, but no subs unfortunately!) Edit: This is not Helen, but Madhumati (see comments)!



Bhalobhasa Bhalobhasa (1985) features a very short but graceful stage performance in this song- I really wish it had been developed and longer!



Mujra performances abound in classic Bengali films, at least from what I saw of Angel's collection!  I found a bunch of seated Mujra's, such as this "twin" one in Antariksha (1957), the one in Mahabiplabi Arabindo (1971) or Dui Purush (1978), and the standing active kind can be seen in Sanyasi Raja (1975).

"Ghir Aaye Kari Badri" from Aalor Pipasa (1965) features a very a sweet mujra performance.



Kishore Kumar's "Sing Nei Tobu Nam Tar Singho" from Lukochoori deserves a watch simply to see the hilarious English translations for the subs! "Stunned moo... moo! right right right right!"



I'm looking forward to browsing through the films and hope to find some gems (and see more of the famed work of Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen). I was especially surprised to find the 1932 Bengali film Chandidas with subtitles!  If anyone finds some good clips, do share!

11 comments:

  1. I saw Jalsaghar at the Indian Film Festival here a few years ago and that dance is such a highlight. It's a wonderful film. You never fail to amaze me Minai, with your dedication to tracking down such beautiful and fun clips and films. That Kishore song is going straight to my favourites!

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  2. OMG! That's such an awesome discovery, thank you very much, Minai :)

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  3. Temple - I really need to watch the full film as I keep hearing such great things about it. Thank you for the compliment, and yes, isn't that Kishore song great? I'm besotted by the subtitles- it seems like they tried to make the translation work and rhyme in English but it ended up being simply hilarious! :)

    Louella - Nice to see you! Glad you enjoyed- happy Bengali film watching. FYI - they've got films like Pather Panchali, Aparna Sen's Unishe April, etc., if you're interested. :)

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  4. This is amazing find! It is remarkable that there are subtitled films in this site going back to 1932...

    I was most delighted to find a copy of Mukti (1937). I love Kanan Devi, and Mukti was her breakthrough film. Unfortunately, for a long time, the only clips available were of very poor quality, but now here's a copy of the whole movie, and it looks really good!

    And there's Jalsaghar... I thought that was a great film even outside of Roshan Kumari's dance. It's very moving, and all the music is fantastic. If you haven't seen the whole film yet, I hope you will treat yourself to it.

    Many thanks for pointing out this site!

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  5. Thanks Richard! I was dumbfounded when I found so many films that were subbed- amazing. Glad you found a film you've been wanting to see! I searched a bit on Kanan Devi and I like her look; she's very delicate and nontraditionally beautiful. Will have to add to her to my list of people to learn more about! :)

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  6. Nice, Minai. Looks like there lots of hidden gems to be discovered on that channel. Btw, actually that's Madhumati's cabaret perormance, not Helen, as Madhumati in Kalankito Nayak. Madhumati copied Helen's look and dancing style in many movies and was often mistaken for her :)

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  7. Mister Naidu - It's not Helen?? Wow! Uncanny! She looks so much like Helen, though watching the close up around 6 minutes I can see the eyes/face structure looks a bit different, especially in profile. But I'm confident in your ID because if anyone knows Helen, it would be you! :) (This is Minai - having blogger comment problems!)

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  8. ...And it's almost a year since Mister Naidu caught me making the exact same mistake:

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/a-good-show-on-ancient-vedic-tv/

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  9. Richard - Oh that makes me feel much better! :) It's just amazing how similar they look- I'm sure it all was intentional.

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  10. hi nice channel maybe you can help me to find the film gohine shabdo with english subs cant seem to fine it anywhere and really eager to watch it....thnx!
    really nice n interesting work you put in here i love it.....keep it up

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    1. shasil-ullah - Hello! I've neither heard or nor am I aware of that film being anywhere online. You might check with Induna.com- they stock a ton of Bengali DVDs, some with English subs.

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