You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


A fresh-faced actress draws a powerful movie star out of his protective shell in "Autograph," a nuanced exploration of fame and self-betrayal.

With: Prosenjit Chatterjee, Nandana Sen, Indraneil Sengupta, Rudraprasad Sengupta, Piyush Ganguly, Biswajeet Chakraborty, Dwijen Banerjee, Dhruv Mookerji, Sohini Pal.

A fresh-faced actress draws a powerful movie star out of his protective shell in “Autograph,” a nuanced exploration of fame and self-betrayal. Taking cues from Satyajit Ray’s “Nayak,” freshman helmer (and former statistician) Srijit Mukherji updates the Bengali master’s classic while treating it with appropriate respect, offering not a remake but an incorporation of the earlier pic’s themes in an inventive tale that becomes increasingly powerful. Notwithstanding some first-film slips, “Autograph” boasts strong perfs and editing plus an ace soundtrack, making it just the kind of non-Bollywood Indian pic Western programmers want for their fest lineups.

When jaded star Arun Chatterjee (Prosenjit Chatterjee) needs a new film project, he handpicks eager novice Shubhobroto Mitra, aka Shubho (Indraneil Sengupta), who appears easy to manipulate. The young helmer then convinces live-in g.f. Srinandita (Nandana Sen) to put her stage career on hold and accept the co-star role in a pic he hawks as a remake of “Nayak” with elements from Ingmar Bergman’s “Wild Strawberries.”

Mukherji, also scripting, gets the playfulness of the young couple’s relationship right, fleshing them out via well-paced dialogue and an aura of normal modern life. In one of several problems of balance, however, a shift in Shubho’s character comes all too quickly, eliminating the pair’s very believable rapport in a manner that sweeps away what had been artfully established. The fault lies in how he’s conceived, becoming unpleasantly one-dimensional in contrast to Arun and Srinandita, who grow into more complex figures.

In their “Nayak” update, Srinandita plays the journalist approaching the big star (this time on a plane rather than the original’s train setting) to get his story. In conversations between takes, Arun lowers his defenses, revealing the parallels between himself and his character and gradually exposing the unattractive path he took to reach the heights of success. As Arun reconnects with the person he was all those years ago, Shubho turns into a man Srinandita can barely recognize: arrogant, power-hungry and ruthless.

Transitions between the film-within-the-film and the main narrative are deeply satisfying, cleverly complementing each other with their invocations of Faustian bargains that advance careers but chip away at the soul. Several scenes are especially memorable, such as a multilayered sequence during a take when Shubho browbeats Srinandita as Arun helps her run lines about the heartbreak of loving in vain. It’s this complex interweaving of narrative and emotional states that especially reveal Mukherji’s budding talent.

Chatterjee (“Chokher Bali”) gets better and better as the pic and his character develop, gradually stripping away masks to expose the things Arun wants to forget; the more introspective he grows, the more interesting the thesp becomes. Sen effortlessly combines warmth and intelligence in a role that sporadically feels underwritten.

Occasionally the dialogue is overly dramatic, and there’s a late flashback montage that’s unnecessary and derivative, but otherwise the script is successful in its ambition. At times Mukherji is too fond of shaky handheld lensing, sliding the generally graceful camera from one interlocutor to another, slightly zooming in and out: When the lines have punch and the songs provide energy, the lensing doesn’t need to compete. Debojyoti Mishra’s excellent soundtrack became a hit one month before the pic’s release.



Production: A Shree Venkatesh Films production, in association with Cinergy Pictures. Produced by Shrikant Mohta, Mahendra Soni, Madhu Mantenai. Executive producer, Abhishek Daga. Co-producers, Nandana Sen, Vishnu Mohta. Directed, written by Srijit Mukherji.

Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-35mm, widescreen), Soumik Haldar; editor, Bodhaditya Banerjee; music, Debojyoti Mishra; lyrics, Anupam Roy, Srijaato Mukherji, Srijit Mukherji; production designer, Gautam Basu; costume designer, Pooja Chatterjee; sound, Dipankar Chaki, Anirban Sengupta, Arun Pandey; line producer, Pritam Choudhury. Reviewed at Abu Dhabi Film Festival (Showcase), Oct. 21, 2010. Running time: 132 MIN.

With: With: Prosenjit Chatterjee, Nandana Sen, Indraneil Sengupta, Rudraprasad Sengupta, Piyush Ganguly, Biswajeet Chakraborty, Dwijen Banerjee, Dhruv Mookerji, Sohini Pal.

More Film

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Interscope Films Relaunches With Full Slate at Tribeca (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Interscope record label’s interest in film/music crossover isn’t exactly a secret: With hit companion albums for “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther” and “La La Land,” they’ve seemed to own the soundtrack space at times in recent years. And the company hasn’t completely made a secret of its desire to move into film production. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Fans and Theaters Assemble for Biggest Marvel Movie Ever

    For San Diego resident Shawn Richter, “Avengers: Endgame” is more than the conclusion to a monumental period in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the West Coast branch chair of Avengers Initiative, a cosplay charity that raises money for causes like the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities, the comics of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are [...]

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

  • A Womans Work-The NFLs Cheerleader Problem

    Tribeca Documentaries Explore Gender Issues in Sport

    Up until recently, what it meant to be a professional female athlete in a world dominated by men wasn’t an issue that garnered high volumes of public interest, let alone national headlines. But that all changed in October 2017 when stories from the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing sexual allegations and improper [...]

  • Lizzo Coachella Valley Music and Arts

    Lizzo Joins Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in Stripper Film 'Hustlers'

    After the release of her third album and a pair of high-profile Coachella performances, Lizzo announced today that she will be joining Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez in the stripper-themed film “Hustlers.” Based on a true story, the film focuses on strippers who band together to turn the tables on their wealthy Wall Street male [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content