This blog is about similar themes of 2 movies made 4 decades apart in different languages. Satyajit Ray was a pioneer and he made Seemabaddha in 1972 about the greedy corporate culture. I don't recall any other movies on corporate in Bengali, in Hindia not either.. In Bollywood in 2006 Madhur Bhandarkar made Bipasha Basu, Kay Kay Menon Starrer Corporate movie based on Cola wars between two giants. I am inserting the links of the both for your perusal. Though the languages are different, times are different but you will find the unmistakable strain of commonness in the reckless greed and moral implications thereof. In Hollywood there are many examples of movies based on Corporate culture eg., The Wall Street, Inside Job, Erin Brokovich etc, however in India films on this premise is almost non existent. Hence I thought a discussion on Seemabaddha and Corporate can be relevant to display the similarity in corporate culture despite a gap of 4 decades in 2 different Metropolises of India - Calcutta and Bombay.
Satyajit Ray based Seemabaddha on a novel by Shankar. It is about the ruthless bigwig of Peter Fan Company Ltd who wants to become a Managing Director by any means. Shyamalendu played by Barun Chanda forgets his literature loving past and gets on the competition to head the company he works in and he adopts an unscrupulous mean to do so. His greed is reckless , he soaks in the opulence of grand old days of Industrially developed Calcutta and he compares himself to a race horse whose end line is shifting.
This was made in the hey days of Calcutta when it still enjoyed financial glory and Industrial productivity. All the major British industry houses eg. Bird Company, McNeil Magor, GKW, Texmaco, Metal Box, Sen Raleigh, IISCO, Burn Standard, Balmer Lawrie, Andrew Yule were roaring at its supreme. In 1971 major corpoarte head offices were still in Calcutta though Naxals were uprising. Night life of Park Street was still a legend on the east of Suez canal. The premise of the movie was very timely.
In this backdrop of big corporates Ray showed his hero indeed achieves what he wants but Ray shows the moral depravity of the entire fiasco by a charmingly naive sister in law Tutul ( played by Sharmila Tagore) who disapproves the entire thing by subtle gestures. In the end Shyamalendu's rise appears futile with moral pangs ridding it.
Similarly in Corporate made in 2006 Bombay shows Nishigandha Dasgupta ( brilliantly played by Bipasha Basu) becomes a pawn in the hands of the corporate bigwig and gets destroyed in the eventual brand war. Bipasha Basu probably gave her career best performance in this film and Madhur Bhandarkar directed the movie with elan showing the inner workings of 2 corporate Cola majors. As always in his movie the city of Bombay with its glamorous highrises, posh locales play the role of the Financial Capital of India. If Ray chose 1970's Calcutta, then Madhur's choice of Bombay as the corporate city of India in 2006 is unmatchable. In the end of Cola wars, we see the death of Riteish ( Kay Kay Menon), Nishi's beau and Nishi battling in the court whereas the corporate kings make convenient adjustments for unbridled greed.
I found significant similarity in terms of greed and power in both. I am sure readers will not miss the a common thread in both the films though they were made 45 years apart , at a different timepoint in different cities of India.