of the dingonek-inspired African bunyip featured within the Bengali blockbuster
film Chander Pahar (© Kamaleshwar
Mukherjee/Shree Venkatesh Movies – reproduced right here on a strictly non-commercial
Honest Use foundation for academic/assessment functions solely)

Sure, you learn this ShukerNature article’s
title appropriately – an African bunyip,
not an Australian one. Enable me to clarify.

One of the crucial well-known Bengali journey
novels is Chander Pahar (retitled as Mountain of the Moon in subsequent
English-language translations), which was written by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, an Indian author within the Bengali language,
and was initially revealed in 1937. Just below a decade in the past, it was turned
right into a blockbuster Bengali film that I’ve lengthy needed to observe, and eventually
succeeded in doing so a fortnight in the past, because of native buddy and Amazon Prime
subscriber Jane Cooper, who very kindly enabled me to observe it in the end by
buying it on AP – thanks Jane!

Directed by Kamaleshwar Mukherjee,
launched in 2013 by Shree Venkatesh Movies, and set within the years 1909-1910, Chander Pahar follows the thrilling
(albeit typically positively Munchausenesque!) adventures of a 20-year-old
Bengali man named Shankar Ray Choudhuri (performed by Indian film/singing
megastar Dev). He has lengthy dreamed of being a derring-do explorer in Africa,
however appears destined to spend his life far more mundanely, working as an
administrator on the native jute mill in his small Bengali city as a substitute.
Fortunately, nonetheless, destiny steps in, within the form of a relative who secures for
Shankar a job in Kenya, because the station-master of a tiny railway terminus miles
from wherever.


Bandyopadhyay (public area)

This posting turns into the very important stepping
stone that Shankar has lengthy sought, to set him on the trail to turning into a daring
African explorer. Many thrilling exploits duly observe, so make sure to click on right here
in an effort to learn my
complete plot description and assessment of Chander Pahar on my companion Shuker In MovieLand weblog. A few of these,
furthermore, are so implausible that Baron Munchausen himself might effectively have thrown
up his arms in despair!

Nonetheless, the film’s principal focus is
Shankar’s eventful journey with an older, veteran Portuguese explorer named
Diego Alvarez (performed by celebrated South African actor Gérard Rudolf) to an
inhospitable and just about inaccessible arid land of excessive hills and even larger
mountains often known as the Richtersveld, located within the northwestern nook of
what’s in the present day South Africa’s Northern Cape province. They’re looking for a
legendary diamond mine supposedly hidden inside a cave deep inside a mysterious
Richtersveld mountain often known as Chander Pahar – the Mountain of the Moon.

In response to native legend, nonetheless, this
diamond mine is fiercely guarded by the cave’s monstrous inhabitant – a
gigantic beast still-undescribed by science, however which for causes by no means
defined both on this film or in Bandyopadhyay’s
unique novel is understood right here because the bunyip (regardless of the latter title being in
actuality an aboriginal title particularly utilized to Australia’s most well-known
indigenous thriller beast!). It seems that the bunyip has already killed one
explorer who accompanied Alvarez throughout an earlier try by him to find the
mine and relieve it of a few of its hidden treasures. Will historical past repeat itself
throughout this newest expedition, through which Shankar is now Alvarez’s companion?
I am going to depart you to learn up the total storyline right here
on my Shuker In MovieLand weblog, and focus now on this ShukerNature article
upon this film’s cryptozoology content material – the bunyip.


extra photo-stills of the ferocious bunyip (© Kamaleshwar Mukherjee/Shree
Venkatesh Movies – reproduced right here on a strictly non-commercial Honest Use foundation
for academic/assessment functions solely)

Chander Pahar has proved vastly standard – having
grossed US$ 3.41 million worldwide to this point, it’s the second highest grossing
Bengali film of all time (certainly, the one Bengali film to exceed its takings
is Amazon Obhijaan, launched in 2017,
which is itself a sequel to Chander Pahar,
as soon as once more centering upon the character of Sankhar, however this time the motion takes
place in South America). Nonetheless, it has not been with out its critics, particularly
amongst literary purists who imagine that it has taken too many liberties in adapting
Bandyopadhyay’s novel for the large
display screen – however none extra so than with its presentation of the bunyip.

In the novel, the bunyip is rarely immediately seen – a shadow of it
shifting exterior the tent of Shankar and Alvarez one night is as a lot as is
supplied to the readers, leaving the remaining to their creativeness. In distinction,
this film presents the viewers with a really memorable CGI bunyip in all its
hideous glory, and gory exercise, however which some reviewers have denigrated for
destroying the monster’s mystique, and others for what they thought-about to be
its inferior high quality (comparable criticisms relating to their high quality, or lack of
it, have additionally been geared toward a CGI-engendered volcanic eruption).

As revealed right here through the above sequence of
photo-stills, the bunyip is undeniably a startling creation – in contrast to any beast
recognized to science, that is for positive. A waddling,
feline-faced abomination with
a swollen, toad-like physique and an exceedingly lengthy, whip-like tail, plus a
large and revoltingly-vascular, pendant throat-sac, furious crimson in
color and
hanging down to this point that the creature appears in everlasting hazard of
tripping over
it when galumphing after certainly one of its potential human victims. Most
noticeable of all, nonetheless, is its pair of
huge vertical fangs that any prehistoric sabre-toothed cat would have given
its excessive tooth for (so to talk!). (In truth, a Kindle e-book version of Bandyopadhyay’s novel truly depicts
the bunyip on the entrance cowl as a bona fide residing sabre-tooth.)


A Kindle
version of Bandyopadhyay’s novel
Chander Pahar through which the bunyip is
depicted as a residing sabre-tooth (© Kindle – reproduced right here on a strictly
non-commercial Honest Use foundation for academic/assessment functions solely)

Apparently, nonetheless, this terrifying
apparition does recall a standard African thriller beast often known as the
dingonek (click on right here
to learn my intensive ShukerNature article surveying this and varied different
comparable African cryptids, the so-called jungle walruses). Furthermore, the dingonek is definitely talked about in Bandyopadhyay’s novel along with
the bunyip. In distinction, as famous earlier, I’ve but to find why Bandyopadhyay utilized the title of an
completely Australian water monster to his terrestrial African thriller beast.

In response to
conventional African lore, conversely, the dingonek is amphibious in nature,
i.e. each an adept swimmer in rivers and a formidable adversary on land – so
why did not Bandyopadhyay merely name his monster the dingonek as a substitute of
distinguishing it from the latter? However this etymological enigma, there
is not any denying that the climactic scene that includes a veritable duel to the demise between
Shankar’s creative mind and the bunyip’s immense brawn is a spotlight of the complete

So, if you would like to expertise for
your self a glimpse of the thrills and spills that Shankar experiences throughout
his seek for the Mountain of the Moon and its hidden diamonds, make sure to
click on right here
to observe an official Chander Pahar
trailer on YouTube showcasing its very stirring title track. (It’s also possible to watch
the complete film free right here on YT,
however solely within the type of an Odia-language model with no English subtitles,
sadly.) And remember to click on right here
if you would like to view an excerpt from Shankar’s chilling confrontation with the
belligerent bunyip! And for additional particulars relating to the dingonek and different African sabre-toothed cryptids, try my current e book Thriller Cats of the World Revisited.


posters for the unique Bengali (high) and American (backside) cinema releases of Chander
(© Kamaleshwar Mukherjee/Shree Venkatesh Movies – reproduced right here on a
strictly non-commercial Honest Use foundation for academic/assessment functions solely)



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