The morning started very strangely. I was happy, carefree and then I the news came in. The mesmerizing director, Rituparno Ghosh passed away.. I don’t know what to say…
A huge loss to the entire film fraternity!
Lets say that one of the most enigmatic directors of the Indian cinema, Rituporno Ghosh started his journey in this particular film, “Chitrangadaa – The crowning wish”, from where he left his scripts in his earlier acting venture, “Memories in March”. The sensitive notion about sexual preference and choosing one’s identity is the subject of this movie. Rituporno Ghosh, armed with a vast knowledge in cinema, practical wisdom and a perfect insight about this section of the society crafted his story in a commendable screenplay. His direction was exceptional and the frames that comes and goes on the screen gives us a mesmerizing experience as far as watching an outstanding cinema is concerned. The narration and the present story including all the characters were wonderfully show-cased in the film. The experience and creativity of “Rituporno Ghosh” was quite significant in the entire movie. He dominated the sequences on every part of…
Primarily, the articles on the completion of hundred years of Indian cinema reflected a collage of nostalgic incidents entwined with some bleak success stories of Indian cinema. The regional silver screens were predominantly under rated and commercial films that procured solid establishments in the hearts of the mass were glorified. I would like to site some unseen features of this huge industry and speak in favor of some of not so important parts of cinema.
Arranging a set where the actress leaves her attire before embracing her beloved; I know, no one cares about those candle lights that falls on the shoulders of the scantily dressed couples in the frame. They look alarmingly sensual. However, the sensual scenes or a romantic scene demands a lot of hard work as far as the composition is concerned. From the color of the walls to the positioning of that Monalisa painting on the wall, the director along with the supporting staffs spend a lot of time planning and making things that perfect. You may enjoy those drenched lips and their fading proximity, but that enjoyment insists the light man in the studio to re-create that ambiance every time the script demands for it. Well, it is not only about those cozy bed scenes that I will be talking about. I am interested to discuss all those scenes that require some special gambling of light and shadow.
Mis-en-scene is a French term that means the arrangement or framing a particular scene. The composition of a scene takes a number of things into account. The director controls over the things that appear prominently and not so prominently on the screen. The set designs, décor, props, costume, make-up are parts of the production design, whereas, cinematography includes lighting, camera position and movements. Acting by the characters in the frame is also a part of the mis-en-scene. From ancient times, Indian movies were typically upgraded versions of plays enacted on stages. Thus, the point of view of a director was mostly on the dialogue deliveries and the acting of the characters framed in the scene. However, with exposure to European movies and various film movements, the Indian cinema developed its own doctrine of mis-en-scene to depict the various visual metaphors. In my opinion, lighting does play a very important role in the composition. The intensity of light, direction and the quality have a profound effect on how an image is perceived. Light affects the way colors are rendered both in terms of hue and depth, and can focus attention on parts or elements in the scene according to its arrangement. So, now you might know why those glossy shoulder lines of your favorite Bollywood damsel shine!
In scenes where the protagonist exchanges some heated dialogues with his darker counterpart, you will notice a huge difference in the camera angles. How time, space and the chapter of the story determines the camera position speaks so much about film making. Say, the desperado of the movie is a massive man with lots of political and physical power; we tend to look at him from a low angle. They look greater and graver. Consequently, the hero is shot from a high angle or eye-line camera position. That makes him look so humanly and natural. These features of the cinematography are general practices. However, there are a number of examples where innovative ideas are implemented and the mis-en-scene is composed poetically to describe the identity of the scene. Another contrivance is the use of shallow depth of field. This one sets the attention primarily on the subject on which the director wants to focus on. Sometimes placed afar and sometimes nearer to the lens of the camera the use of depth of field helps a lot in the composition of the scene and the process of storytelling.
Imagine a scene from the films in the seventies or even earlier and the ones we watch now, some of the films from sensible film makers have developed by leaps and bounds and the ones that fall under the category of senseless movies have deteriorated like never before. Thus, it is quite imperative to underline the effects of these arrangements in the framing of a scene depicting love, empathy, anger, romance, grief or every other emotion on-screen. The film makers of the present industry are assisted by a number of trained technicians who offer their experience and practical wisdom in making those riveting scenes we enjoy every Friday! The mis-en-scene of Indian cinema will be incomplete without the contribution of all those names that scroll up after the movie. Your pop corns are exhausted, your cold drinks glasses are empty and you know who made the films. So, their names remain unnoticed. This article would rather demand a definite detailing of these people working behind the scenes. However, with the constraints of time and space, I would like to conclude with a huge thanks to the entire team of light man, cameraman, assistant directors, Foley artists, sound man and all those people who add so much life to those films. The films become that particular piece of art only because these people help in the mis-en-scene of the film.
Signing off from the desk of my-motion-picture till a heartfelt mis-en-scene captures that much-needed standing ovation…
How are you movie watchers from the land of Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray? I hear, they cut cakes together now-a- days! Celebrated their birthdays recently! The film industry of this part of the world is seeing some change. Some change for the good. I believe every time I am discussing something with someone from this good old place which was once called Calcutta (now known as Kolkata), the refinement of the thoughts always reflect cream and something else that raises the quality of the discussion. So, discussing movies has always been a pleasure! Movies critically analyzed and then pitched with mixed emotions and changed climaxes. I am sure you did this with your silver screen peer as well.
Bengali films, rather the new age Bengali films have really managed to make place in the hearts of urban Bengal. However, there are still senseless movies produced for the huge audience in the remote areas of the state. I would not chastise those producers and directors for capitalizing illiteracy; however, I would like to let them know, that we know as well. There is a very thin line between senseless and sensible in terms of creativity and here lies the question. For those who mint money with item numbers and rain dances, are they happy to serve their hunger with these or have completely murdered their urge for excellence in terms of creativity and inspiration!
Recently, I saw “Goynar Baksho” by Aparna Sen and the national award winning movie “Shobdo” by Kaushik Ganguli. I loved them for entirely different reason, although I can only say that both of them (the directors) were brilliant in their approach. One explained contemporary commercial movies and the wide window it has to improve. The chances where one can improvise and make it an out and out entertainer without letting the audience know that its fiction. On the other hand, Shobdo was an attempt for which I should thank the producer first. I don’t know how Mr. Ganguli managed to gather enough courage and money to go and hunt for a dream film like this. I was overwhelmed with the editing, cinematography and specially the sound effect of Shobdo. It was rightly felicitated with the National award in Sound Design.
Speaking more about Goynar Baksho, Aparna Sen adapted a story of Mr. Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay and brilliantly screened it with Mousumi Chatterjee excelling in her flick as the ghost Pishima protecting her closet of jewelries. Konkona Sen Sharma, Saswata Mukherjee, Paran Bandyapadhyay, Shrabanti and others did exceedingly well. The director used some apt visual imagery to portray the three generations attached with that particular box of jewelries. You can still watch the movie to know more about it.
I was rather interested in describing a well made commercial film that can also fit into the genre of art films. If I am through to you, you can reciprocate with names like Hawa Bodol in Bengali or something like Barfi in Hindi. Aren’t they commercial films? They are thoroughly commercial ones. The ones with high box office risks, but the way they are presented brings this outlook of intelligent movies. The film makers who tend to reason the prospects of Masala movies can learn how to cook a quality recipe from film makers like Aparna Sen. She thanks her producer for realizing her long back dream script into a successful movie with a gesture indigenous to the crispy dialogues of Pishima!
Well, AnandaBajar Patrika – the eminent newspaper of Bengal rated Shobdo with an all time best of nine and a half on ten! Shobdo is acclaimed with a national award for sound and one for the best Bengali movie. Screened in various international film festivals and rated highly. Numerous reviews and many a wonderful words spent to describe this lifetime work of Kauhik Ganguli. How should I describe it now? A story about a Foley artist (Ritwick Chakroborty) who gets over-obsessed with the creativity involved in his work and fails to register normal human voices. He becomes engrossed in background sounds, precisely the free sounds in the nature. So, his wife (Raima Sen) becomes worried about this abnormal behavior and takes him to a psychiatrist (Churni Ganguly). She chases the case to its end and I would love to realize something what she actually discovers. Human beings like them are labeled abnormal, however, we the so called sane section of the society are more vulnerable. Anyways, go and watch the sound of Shobdo in case you missed it in the theater!
Shobdo, is a film about a film technician or rather sound artist. We hardly wait in the theaters when the size of the font decreases. We hardly realize their contribution towards the movie. They don’t know about us and we don’t try to know about them. The film was special to me for many reasons. This was one of the major ones. It was wonderfully crafted barring a small section where Victor Bannerjee (respect) was probably over used. I was mesmerized with the acting skills of Raima Sen in this particular movie. The director was very particular about the continuity and rightly describes a splendid art film. Shobdo was articulately designed for the hearts of a niche crowd that applauds good work, rather exceptional work.
To wrap up a heart feeling discussion about two recent Bengali films, I would like to express my expectations and excitement for the entire year. I wish like the last year, I get to watch a flock of differently beautiful Bengali movies. Some of them are already waiting to hit the screens. Fingers crossed for “Ganesh Talkies” by Anjan Dutt.
Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture till I find a SOUND jewelry Box to sponsor my movie…
Recently, I got the opportunity to befriend a few wonderful musicians of my city. I was awestruck with the excellence and serenity of their music as I witnessed them improvising their original numbers in their rehearsal pad last Friday. MASEEHA, as they would call themselves, encompasses a diverse range of genres. Be it Folk, Sufi, country, pop or mainstream rock, the band continues to experiment with melodies and lyrics.
As I was in conversation with the band members, I was etching towards superlative degrees. The primary objective of the visit was popularizing an upcoming live show at ICCR auditorium, Kolkata. Cometh the 11th of May, MASEEHA will be performing for ‘Her’ – a show dedicated to the burning issues related of our deceased society. A live music show at the ICCR auditorium is organized and will be dedicated predominantly to the fairer sex of this planet. MASEEHA with their indie original numbers and some popular folk songs will surely strike the right chords of your mind as they states their views and claim equality in the society.
Irene, the lead singer of MASEEHA was speaking about inner conscience, where Subhomoy, the bassist was more concerned about the anarchy in the society. As I was getting engrossed in their original songs, the lyricist and the drummer spoke. Arjyesh, who writes the lyrics for MASEEHA was describing his down to earth feelings and his perception about life. Monty, the lead and rhythm guitarist at MASEEHA was explaining how this mystic world exchanges views on issues that are so seldom addressed. Aviiraj, the soulful keyboardist of MASEEHA was telling about their efforts and their plans to voice their opinions through their music. They uniquely addressed something so pleasant, they wanted equality in the society, and they want to usher new hopes in the minds of common people that stand for truth and innocence.
MASEEHA, comprising of individuals with less materialistic and more spiritual inclinations towards life, believes in following the decree of the spirit. Reaching out to souls, regardless of caste and creed, is the aim of MASEEHA’s music. With developing eminence and growing popularity in the city, the recent event will draw attention of premier music lovers and professionals of the industry. Make sure you collect your passes before they sublime.
MASEEHA’s line up:
Irene Sarkar– Lead and backing vocals
Monty Sen – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Subhomoy Mitra– Bass
Arjyesh Ray– Drums, percussion, lyrics
Aviiraj Sen– Keyboards
Soumyajyoti Ghosh– Flute
This forthcoming show of MASEEHA will genuinely sing you an array of issues of the society that should be treated on priority. Materialistic expectations and inhuman feelings will take a back seat and your inner conscience should come to rescue the paralyzed system of this society. Be it the age old discrimination of man and women or a male chauvinism that drives the entire calendar of events. Let’s stand up with MASEEHA and voice our opinion against social violence and sexual discrimination.
For passes and more information; please visit MASEEHA at their facebook page and don’t forget to drop in at ICCR on the 11th of this month at 1730 hours.
Robin Wood, Film Critic (The Apu Trilogy 1972)
“Can we [the Western audience] feel any confidence that we are adequately understanding, intellectually and emotionally, works which are the product of a culture very different from our own?
… What is remarkable is how seldom in Ray’s films the spectator is pulled up by any specific obstacle arising from cultural differences … Ray is less interested in expressing ideas than in communicating emotional experience. ”
In a 1948 article entitled, “What is Wrong with Indian Films,” Ray criticized India’s movement away from art and towards either musicals or heavy mysticism:
“The raw material of the cinema is life itself. It is incredible that a country which has inspired so much painting and music and poetry should fail to move the movie maker. He has only to keep his eyes open, and his ears. Let him do so.”
After thousands of years of cultural ecstasy any individual will tend to believe that cinema, rather Indian cinema would reflect something of a corresponding breadth and depth. Unfortunately, in India, quite the contrary is true, especially after the explosion of trade affairs associated with the art of film making and a development of entertainment industry known as “Bollywood”. It is quite evident that the low tastes of people are governed by the media…