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HomeZoology BlogsTHE MOUNTAIN OF THE MOON AND AN AFRICAN BUNYIP

THE MOUNTAIN OF THE MOON AND AN AFRICAN BUNYIP


 

Photograph-still
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
Truthful Use foundation for instructional/assessment functions solely)

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

One of the 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 look at, and at last
succeeded in doing so a fortnight in the past, because of native pal and Amazon Prime
subscriber Jane Cooper, who very kindly enabled me to look at 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 generally 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 an alternative.
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 anyplace.

 

Bibhutibhushan
Bandyopadhyay (public area)

This posting turns into the important stepping
stone that Shankar has lengthy sought, to set him on the trail to changing into a daring
African explorer. Many thrilling exploits duly observe, so remember 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 could effectively have thrown
up his arms in despair!

Nevertheless, 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 nearly inaccessible arid land of excessive hills and even greater
mountains often called the Richtersveld, located within the northwestern nook of
what’s as we speak 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 called Chander Pahar – the Mountain of the Moon.

In keeping with 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 identify being in
actuality an aboriginal identify 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, during which Shankar is now Alvarez’s companion?
I will 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.

 

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

Chander Pahar has proved massively widespread – having
grossed US$ 3.41 million worldwide to date, 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). However, 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 massive
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
transferring exterior the tent of Shankar and Alvarez one night is as a lot as is
provided to the readers, leaving the remainder to their creativeness. In distinction,
this film presents the viewers with a very 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 concerning 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 – not like any beast
identified 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
big and revoltingly-vascular, pendant throat-sac, furious crimson in
color and
hanging down to date that the creature appears in everlasting hazard of
tripping over
it when galumphing after considered one of its potential human victims. Most
noticeable of all, nonetheless, is its pair of
actually
monumental vertical fangs that any prehistoric sabre-toothed cat would have given
its excessive enamel for (so to talk!). (The truth is, a Kindle e-book version of Bandyopadhyay’s novel really depicts
the bunyip on the entrance cowl as a bona fide dwelling sabre-tooth.)

 

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

Curiously, nonetheless, this terrifying
apparition does recall a standard African thriller beast often called the
dingonek (click on right here
to learn my intensive ShukerNature article surveying this and numerous 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 identify of an
solely Australian water monster to his terrestrial African thriller beast.

In keeping with
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 an alternative 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 dying between
Shankar’s creative mind and the bunyip’s immense brawn is a spotlight of your complete
film.

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, remember to
click on right here
to look at an official Chander Pahar
trailer on YouTube showcasing its very stirring title tune. (You may as well watch
your complete film free right here on YT,
however solely within the type of an Odia-language model with no English subtitles,
sadly.) And do not forget 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 concerning the dingonek and different African sabre-toothed cryptids, try my latest e book Thriller Cats of the World Revisited.

 

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

 

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