How the Academy saved APU from oblivion!

The Academy recently shared a video showing how they restored the legendary Apu-trilogy by Oscar recipient Satyajit Ray. The Academy Film Archive started the preservation project post the 64th Academy Awards in 1992, when Ray received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to world cinema. So, it took more than 20 years for the team at work… Incredible! Isn’t it?

The process was rigorous and the endeavor is worth a standing ovation!

Subir Banerjee plays the young Apu
Subir Banerjee plays the young Apu

The three films Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), Aparajito (The Unvanquished), and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) — based on two books by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee changed the paradigm of Indian cinema to say the least. Albeit all the challenges such as mangled film reels to missing and beaten-up clip sections, the restoration team reinstated something that marked the uprising of Indian cinema in true sense.

 

This humble post is a signature of gratitude to all those people who put in their efforts to preserve one of the classics of international cinema. All said and done, you must watch this short video which they called, ‘An act of faith – saving the Apu trilogy’ and I am sure you will second my thoughts that will follow…

 

Ray received an academy award and he is lucky that his works are reciprocated with the same honor received by his western counterparts. However, are we equally concerned about the preservation of classics from other film makers from India who equally contributed to the developing finesse Indian film art?

 

Although there are efforts from Shivendra Singh Dungarpur who formed the Film Heritage Foundation, there is still a lot to achieve and the efforts from the Academy Film Archive and The Criterion Collection, and L’Immagine Ritrovata speaks volumes about that.

 

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture with the hope that the classics from veterans like Bimal Roy, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen and the likes receives the same treatment in the near future!

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Best Bengali movies of 2013 – First Quarter!

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.

Experiment, Analysis, Conclusion...
Experiment, Analysis, Conclusion…

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.

goynar baksho

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.

Aparna-Sen

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!

kaushik-ganguly shobdo-movie

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…

What is still wrong with Indian Cinema???

Remembering Ray on his birthday… 🙂

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. ”

mymotionpicture

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…

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Film criticism – Expecting more insight in film making…

In an attempt to describe and rate movies, the basic ethnicity of human instincts gets deceived very spontaneously. A film get released, hits the theaters, welcomed or rejected by audiences and then people speak about its success or failure stories. The entire routine of film making is more than what is described by the film critics in India. I wouldn’t have hesitated to name a few of them; however, a sense of gratification encapsulates my latent wishes. I am not writing this to criticize film critics in India, rather to reform the whole practice of film criticism in India. In one of my other articles in my-motion-picture, I voiced my opinion about development of authentic motion picture criticism in India and here I would like to speak some basic things about a proper film criticism. An expert observation and a comprehensive perception of the entire film should be the words of the film critic who happens to earn his living through these appraisals and excerpts.

I got filmed!
I got filmed!

If Pather Panchali marked an era in Indian film industry where potential contenders are recognized worldwide, the director of the film, Satyajit Ray should be accountable for his contribution towards the development of the film industry. Be it the Mumbai industry (Bollywood) or the prominent regional film industries in India. In one of his writings, Ray spoke about the dicey reviews and unprofessional approach of the film critics not only in India but also a few hailing from some developed countries of the world. In his words, “Since film critics repeatedly said that Pather Panchali was my best film, it naturally evoked a question in my mind; hasn’t the effect of criticism been beneficial to my art?

Long times; many a springs and autumns are wasted. We are living in 2013 and still film criticism in India is merely a profession where the so called intellectuals draw money for describing box office reports and how an item number is so high on the list of a commercial radio channel chart-buster! Pity… In terms of a promising criticism, a genuine film critic should ideally be a bridge between the film maker and the audiences. Some of the films made might not be ideal for the audiences of a particular region. Or, an adaptation from a novel might require some basic changes which should be readily accessible and reasonable to a film critic. However, the critics I read are mostly after the directors if a film fails to appeal in the first week. Similarly they praise some senseless cinemas which might see some bright opening due to the presence of a super star. I would echo Ray again and would like to request these film reviewers to drop their pens and rather establish their identity as someone from the crowd.

A film critic should have the knowledge and insight of the entire process of film making from scripting to editing. He should be clear with his sentences and descriptions which will enlighten the audiences about the pros and cons of a movie. I personally believe that a film maker or director hardly needs to know anything more about his own film. He knows where his movie excelled and what the limitations were. He, as a director has anchored the entire team to produce something that he would expect audience to relate to. In this scenario, if a critic cannot substantiate his words and describe the merits and demerits of the film, it is surely going to irritate the director. A critic, as I already mentioned, should recognize that a film is not a personal creation rather a joint venture. He should understand that a bad movie is not entirely the result of poor direction; a blockbuster is similarly a collective effort where the director should get a major share of the praise.

Black reels hurting arty Indians.The problem does not evoke a sense of emergency among the readers of this article. Accepted! But, as an audience you should also accept your money going wayward. You tend to believe reports from people who hardly connect with the art of film making. Bribes and personal endorsement from the producers ensure the box office results and then after those cold and rough three hours you have a tendency to accept the bleak prospects of a mindless film. A good movie fails to reach more audiences due to the similar reasons. How will the audience assess a movie when the preacher speaks ill of it without knowing the basic aesthetics of film making.

In this entire course of the article, I wanted to encourage new-age film students to come in front and take up the onus of describing films and its deeper implications. Film is a form of art that requires the collective effort of other artists and thus as a critic you should have the understanding of each of those sections, at least the basics. Satyajit Ray’s famous quote on his decision of making music for his films, “Ever since Two Daughters I’ve been composing my own music.” speaks vividly about the importance of a basic aptitude in all the forms of art that constitute a movie.

Motion pictures or films are almost like daughters to a director. They are nourished, fed, molded, reformed and corrected for so many reasons to be that piece of art. The art that causes tears and laughter in the theaters, that creation which demands claps and praises from the audiences and that piece of commerce which will fetch trust and money for the producer who believed in the concept of the film.  So, let film criticism evolve as an art in itself and not a duping profession that manages to draw a salary out of some dead words.

Signing off from the desk of my-motion-picture till critics rises with a new sun as the key-light of scenes and cinemas in India…

 

Rejection in the Oscar Awards – Yawning audiences and Duping producers!

We watch movies in theatres and now we have multiplexes to cater our pride and beat the hectic city schedules. But, have we sold our logic and reason to some unknown sheriff from a distant land or are we relentlessly poised to receive whatever trash we are subjected to? The answer to the question seems rhetorical. India produces the most number of films on this planet. However, we are yet to get congratulated by the biggest academy award in films, the Oscars! Let’s ask ourselves. Why?

India’s first ever entry to the Oscar “Mother India” got the nomination in the category of best foreign film, but lost by just one vote. After that it was a long wait of 31 years as “Salaam Bombay” by Mira Nair made it to the list of the last five. Recently, India’s interest in the Oscars was re-ignited when “Lagaan” was nominated but lost to “No Man’s Land”. I said recently to be ironical enough!

It does seem the Academy tends to favour European films with France leading the foreign language film nominations with 34 in total and having bagged nine Oscars, and Italy following with 27 nominations and 10 wins. But the Oscar has also gone to movies with people from Arab, Far East and Slavic backgrounds. Indian films never seem to have fitted the Oscar bill. Satyajit Ray, whom the Academy conferred with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” on his deathbed, never bagged a film-specific award. His “Pather Panchali” won 11 international awards, but no Oscar.

When will India represent Oscars like the ones in Europe and America?
When will India represent Oscars like the ones in Europe and America?

Ironically, Vittorio De Sica, who won two Oscars for “Shoeshine” and “The Bicycle Thief”, had deeply impacted Ray’s work. Even last year’s Oscar-nominated Iranian director Majid Majidi is a self-confessed admirer of the legendary Ray. Besides Ray, many filmmakers and an endless number of films have missed a chance at the Oscars but have gone on to join the repertoire of the finest cinema of the world. They include Jean-Luc Godard and Francoise Truffaut, masters of the French New Wave, and others like Yasujiro Ozu, Michelangelo Antonioni, Mrinal Sen, Claude Chabrol, Alain Resnais, Kristov Zanussi, Robert Bresson and many more.

The other Indian to have won an Oscar is Bhanu Athaiya, well-known costume designer from Mumbai. She was jointly named for the best costume designing for Richard Attenborough’s multiple-Oscar winner “Gandhi” (1982). In 2005, filmmaker Ashvin Kumar’s “Little Terrorist” got nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Short Film category. And then in 2006, “Born into Brothels”, a documentary filmed in part by children of sex workers of Kolkata took home the golden statue.

With Indian studios churning out 1,000 films a year, it has the potential to be a film superpower. An Oscar will help in consolidating its power. But most experts say that India is simply not sending its best to the Academy. We still believe in films that make money in box office and we deprive that handful of quality motion pictures celebrating the bogus and senseless Indian films produced all round the year. Leaving a few alternate film makers who are recently making the headlines, the trend of Indian cinema never took the right decision of making and promoting better stories along with quality screenplay and splendid direction. Believe me, the jury members of the Oscar look for strong scripts with tight direction and not stories of ghosts, disabled people or a historic literature that fails to go up to the standards of Gladiator or Lord of the Rings! So, why don’t we send the right ones?

India's recent entry to the Oscars...
India’s recent entry to the Oscars…

I believe the financiers are skeptical  lest they lose this so-called commercial market and the chance of looting the audiences by showing senseless trash for a tedious 180 minutes! The answers are still resonating down your throat, come on and speak it up! India cannot be a country producing films with rain dances! We have a better appetite for movies and we will claim our rights very soon! Investigate!

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture, expecting disarray in the system of film-making in India…

Logically Disputing Stories – A tribute to Ritwik Ghatak!

Some said he was unstoppable!
Some said he was unstoppable!
Reflecting on an Indian postal stamp!
Reflecting on an Indian postal stamp!

     An accolade or a tribute to the great film maker and one of the pioneers of Indian parallel cinema, Mr. Ritwik Ghatak seems like a forced act to me right now. I do not know, for how many nights he stayed awake and for how many days he starved out of frustration, although I know how his works gives me a vision. I know how terrible my future will be if I do not take lessons from him. Very irrelevant at this point! However, I urge for a patient read…

Born to a family with poets and play-writers around him, Ghatak grew up watching the sufferings of common men as they migrated to the newer Bengal. His cinemas based on the city outskirts like “Meghe Dhaka Tara” or “Subararekha” spoke a lot about the refugees and the ill-treatment they received from their own realm mates after our country got the so-called independence. The decision of Ghatak, being a part of the film making fraternity was quite indispensable as far as his growing up and his education was concerned.

Ritwik Ghatak -Logically disputing stories!
Ritwik Ghatak -Logically disputing stories!
Ritwik Ghatak - Nagarik
Ritwik Ghatak – Nagarik

From “Nagarik” (1952) to his last film “Jukti Tokko Goppo” (1974), Ghatak was more of a social commentator who believed in the aesthetic feature of film making. In one of his quotes he said, “Film making is not a form of art, it has forms.” He was more inspired by the sufferings of innocent souls and he wanted to portray life with his films. He celebrated grief like no one in this world. His works as a script writer, director, producer, actor, singer and film author would always metaphorically describe some of the major concerns of our plagued society. Sadly, we still live with some of those social evils and pathetically we inculcated each and every habit to live with them proving our logical abilities. This article is going wayward, I know. However, the kinds of message conveyed by Ghatak during his life time were hardly reciprocated. So, let us fasten our thoughts to cinema and pay him a tribute for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema.

Satyajit Ray once said, “For him, Hollywood might not have existed at all” I would still wonder, what exactly the thought was that made him say so. Often while watching a Ghatak movie, I would relate some of my emotions and self-speak, “time basically is so CONSTANT…” The untimely demise of the great man deprived us from better analytics on film making and true characterization. His films hardly had typical Heroes or lead roles. One of his pupils commented, “The heroes and heroines of Ritwik’s films, while their energies are sapped by a society which can sustain no growth, have inner resources that seem to assert themselves. […] He was extremely disenchanted with those of his colleagues who wanted to maintain a false unity and was not, implicitly, pained enough by the splintering of every form of social and cultural values and movement. It is these factors that make Ritwik’s films a vitally generative force for the young. He does not hide behind a medieval or a dead past or a decorative Indianess…Very few of his contemporaries have avoided these pitfalls whether they work in the cinema and the other arts, or in the theoretical and cultural sphere. It is as if they were ashamed of being themselves, today, with their true history.

Poster of Ajantrik...
Poster of Ajantrik…

I have always believed that any form of art has two paths for a potential learner or a practitioner, either you follow history or you define your own path. Ghatak was the pioneer of establishing the thought that film making was his signature language. He interpreted a screenplay with “never seen before” treatments and wished to introduce some new-fangled means to capture motion picture. His efforts in introducing a different and distorted musical forms as background scores, and his experimental form of cinema does hardly reflect in any commercial film maker’s work in times after Ghatak. The parallel or alternate cinema movement in India experienced the trio-preamble of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak as they lead from the front. As described earlier in my blog, Indian film is growing towards debris of senseless Indian cinema apart from a few silver linings behind the black clouds of commercialization, 100 crore clubs and box office illusions!

A still from Meghe Dhaka Tara.
A still from Meghe Dhaka Tara.
The man with the camera that spoke about life.
The man with the camera that spoke about life.

The Indian film Industry was always synonymous to the films produced in Bombay (now Mumbai) and the regional industries were fatigued with similar theater portrayals and poor commercial cinemas with melodramatic stories and baseless song sequences. The trio Ghatak, Sen and Ray gave Indians something more to chew upon. The films made by these film makers are still acclaimed as text materials for film students and even their millionth view have some special delicacies for your mind. However, their efforts and plea to our countrymen are distant echoes. Ghatak died before puking blood for many months! I believe, it was not alcohol and its consequences but the disillusion brought into his life due to the unfathomable pain of being this ill-treated visionary of this country.

Bengal was and is always ahead of the country whenever a discussion on films and other forms of art commence and audiences in Bengal get respect as authors and speakers deliver something that meaningful which hardly gets a resonance in any other part of the country. This is where we are and we are here because Ghatak and his contemporary film makers gave us that recognition! Although an afterthought, a tribute to Ray and a tribute to Mrinal Sen were nothing but an image of what I want to convey here in this homage article to one of the most incredible film makers of this country. My article could hardly reflect his enormous contribution towards Indian cinema, so, for something more meaningful that actually depicts his work I would like you all to go through this.

Signing of from the desk of mymotionpicture till i find some more logically disputing stories to chew upon…

 

How I perceived Calcutta 71 – A tribute to Mrinal Sen!

Beginning of an era! - Mrinal Sen in his early 20's.
Beginning of an era! – Mrinal Sen in his early 20’s.

A young man completes his degree in Physics from Scottish Church College, Calcutta and then becomes a journalist. Political backdrops and unseen personal clashes drive him out of the city and compel him to be a medical representative and medicine seller in an unknown land. He comes back to his city to take up a job of a sound technician in Calcutta and then the story begins. The journey through which Mr. Mrinal Sen took us, the film lovers of India, instigated and regularly echoed his struggles and frustrations about the fake and senseless culture of Indian cinema.

A still from the movie Mrigaya (1976)
A still from the movie Mrigaya (1976)
Sound - Camera- Action!
Sound – Camera- Action!

He believed in the art and realized its mass appeal. He wanted to tell stories in a different way. He tried to cause worries and also supplied means to tackle them. India has wasted many years after his efforts were fizzing off. He is 90 years old now and his dreams are still dreams in terms of implementation and honesty in the approach which beautified his films. The entire film fraternity saw three dominating film makers at that point as Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen complemented each other with their strong story line and candid cinematography.

A still from a Mrinal Sen's film.
A still from a Mrinal Sen’s film.
A still from Khandahar.
A still from Khandahar.

I personally believe that a even simple story can reach the hearts and minds of the audience with sheer brilliance of effective story telling technique. Mrinal Sen colonized this idea and he had this in-born talent of insightful story telling. With technicians and machines that are obsolete and out of practice in the modern film industry, he made some of the best films that Indians ever experienced.

Mrinal Sen, disillusioned by the inflexible and unjust rules of the world and specially his country had the guts to comment on some of the most sensitive issues of the 60’s, 70, and 80’s. His films in the 90’s and one in 2002 also had a social commentary to ensure food for his thoughts. He was a rebel as far as film making is concerned. The film industry broke some of the traditional shackles as he introduced his formula of new age films.

As he watches the proceedings...
As he watches the proceedings…

Sen’s works were inspired by a lot of unseen people and associations. His love for theater and drama might be the primary cause for shifting his interest from physics to films. Similarly, his respect for the doctrines of Karl Marx made him direct the Kolkata trilogy in the early 70’s. Interview (1971), Calcutta 71 (1972) and Padatik (The Guerilla Fighter, 1973) speaks about romantic and idiosyncratic Bengalis who fought for civil independence in their own land. He depicted emotions of a large section of our society who are deprived every day.  The Naxalite movement was enclosed and celebrated with correct mindset and apt verbiage.

Poster
Poster
A still from Calcutta 71
A still from Calcutta 71

Humor was also an integral part of Mrinal Sen’s films and classy humor should be the term to define his witty depiction of scenes. He used visual metaphors and efficient ironical dialogues to establish his thoughts. He commented on a number of political events of that time and also displayed the pains and anguish of his hapless inmates due to the reckless and selfish political system of our country. From being a petty medical representative to be a film maker respected by the entire nation, Mrinal Sen’s journey witnessed 27 feature films, 14 short films and 5 documentaries.

My motion picture pays a humble tribute to Mrinal Sen for his lifetime achievements and efforts. He was a visionary who tried his best to reform the film industry, to enhance the creativity and film art, to negotiate unprofessionalism and establish honest intellectual approach towards films. His efforts didn’t go in vain but lacked proper support as sluggish film makers found means to promote their ideas about senseless cinemas and its profit quotients. The affluent educated society of the country still believes what Sen, Ray and Ghatak wanted to portray in their films, writings and interviews. However, the system has lost the zeal to implement new ideas.

Ghatak
Ghatak
Ray
Ray
Sen
Sen

The critics will be shouting and filthy business policies will be flourishing. Time goes by and Indian film industry including the regional film industries are still satisfied with box office returns. Film business schemes murders film art on a regular basis and deceive the illiterate common mass by showing rain scenes on the road, half-clad women in item numbers and sensual scenes of extra marital affairs.

As desperation and frustration creeps in my mind while I finish my reverence article for one of the pioneers of Real Indian movies, Mr. Mrinal Sen, someone tells me “Dabang 2” becomes a 100 crore member! (*sighs)

Shyam Benegal speaks about Satyajit Ray…

A master and institution in Alternate cinema
A master and institution in Alternate cinema

A living legend expresses his regards for another immortal artist that India ever had… How Satyajit Ray influenced Mr. Shyam Benegal was rather my curiosity and that makes me pen down some thoughts and impression about these two spectacular men that Indian Cinema has ever witnessed!

Should you miss this?               

I got filmed!

 

When I first saw this video I was trying to relate the time, the era and the magnificent collection that Ray and Bengal gifted us. It will be too harsh on my part to speak right now; I would rather request all my readers to view this short video where Mr. Shyam Benegal speaks about his experiences, influences and interaction with Satyajit Ray.

I would like to hear my readers and their views about these amazing people. My-motion-picture salutes the legend on screen and the man about whom he spoke with such candidness and reverence.

Watch this or miss this!!

Thank you…

Development of authentic motion picture criticism in India…

A heading photo!!!

A section of the audience in every movie theatre prefers to appreciate the work of the film maker keeping the flavour of the film and the message conveyed by the film in mind. They can see through the scenes of the film and read between the lines written by the writer and as the movie comes to the climax, they develop a perception about the merit of the film.

How we see Indian cinema!

In India, criticism is hardly enjoyed, forget about appreciation. A critical appreciation of a film, music piece or any other piece of art always helps an artist to improvise his skills and diminish the unforced errors… However, constructive criticism in Indian films including the regional film industries was never encouraged. The result? A hell lot of poor quality films hitting the theatres every week and our taste for quality cinema is almost breathing its last breadths.

They ruled the Industry.

 What is Cinema for  you?

If you can answer this question without thinking, you will be able to evaluate the average quality of films made in India. A country where people die of starvation and kids hardly get the opportunity of primary education produces hundreds of films worth some billion shameful currencies! India never experienced a film movement like the ones in Europe. I feel that a mass movement was required to change the obsolete and paltry ideas. The entire conception of films, movies and cinema in Europe is different from what our so-called film makers think here in India. I am not speaking about the exceptions. We treat films to be a part of our entertainment. However, we hardly look for enrichment of ideas, thoughts and culture. We merely notice the art and the artist that took the pain to design that piece of entertainment. Film critics judge the success of a movie on the basis of its box-office collection. Had we read a few articles on European movies and their thoughts post world war-2, our notion about a “good film” would have been straighter and better. We the educated section of the audience are socially and economically responsible for this mass wastage of resources. We praise trash and we pay money to those people who make these trashes.

Crowds engrossed in watching a movie...

Our culture and studies are extremely limited when it comes to critical appreciation of a movie. We can easily understand that by comparing the standards of European movies in terms of its treatment. In India, film makers used to treat a story like a stage drama enacted in-front of a Camera. I know the statement give rise to a lot of other questions as well. However, if we start comparing the movies from an era of the late 50’s to today’s date, it is quite evident that European movies were far more advanced. We are the luckier generation as we get to know the views and perception of Indian film makers like Satyajit RayRitwik Ghatak, Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen, Girish Kasaravalli and some others. Their works were screened in various international film festivals. They had the taste of ‘real cinema’ and also were a part of the ‘film movement’, I was speaking about. Not with the European style but their works depicted the ideas and the culture of Italian Neorealist film movement, Russian futurist movement in visual art, French Impressionist Cinema, Soviet Parallel cinema and German expressionism. They practiced their form of art in Indian cinema abiding by the philosophies and views asserted by the leaders of these movements. These people tried to explain the various shades of cinema. Indian Film Education has started to see through their ideas and statements as far as film theories and film aesthetics are concerned. Indian film movements never shifted gears and lost their goals in between seasonal turmoils in the social, political and economic scenario of our so-called independent nation.

Two film critics in an auditorium in Europe. an old picture!

If we take the courage to look what’s happening beyond the seas, in the western countries, you will sadly realize that India’s contribution to this form of art is handsomely negligible! So, are we still nagging with our rich cultural heritage designed before centuries, or, are we ready to make a significant move to ensure that the people in the generations to come acknowledge this effort with a warm ovation. However, we are still waving the flag for commercial movies high up in the sky and getting entertained with what we call a package of happiness in the weekend.

Can’t we change our views and tastes for the betterment of this form of art? Can’t we stop producers who make mindless movies and name that entertainment? The answers are still pending. Revolution has various ends and edges. I stand by class of ideas and true culture which gives us the hope of progressive life in every sense.

A mymotionpicture presentation!

Documentary on Tagore by Satyajit Ray

A documentary by Satyajit Ray on life of Ravindranath Tagore (Thakur) – the first non-European Nobel laureate (Literature, 1913). Narrated by Satyajit Ray. Some rare glimpses!

To back my last pressed document, “A tribute to Ray…“, I would like to post a documentary made by the man himself on Kobi-guru Rabindranath Tagore. His achievements in the Indian film Industry touched almost all the possible chords! Lets applause his works and compliment his visions with renewed enthusiasm!

Here goes the real documentary made by Ray…

A tribute to Ray…

An effort to materialize a vision, a dream and an imagination is reciprocated by one and all if and only if you have the courage to define the form of art that you want to profess, preach and practice. Cinema is a huge subject which tends to have its direct effects on my imagination and vision towards life. As an Indian citizen, I feel immense pride and pleasure to announce that a master of this art form was born in our country. He made his countrymen feel the pompous and gave them the opportunity to taste victory over their international counterparts in the field of cinema. India was marked in the map of International film industry after Satyajit Ray came into the picture.

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The period was 1955; exactly 57 years ago the release of “Pather Panchali” marked the beginning of an era of “Neo-Realism” in Indian cinema. Satyajit Ray, son of the famous poet Sukumar Ray came to the fore front representing India and managed to earn a fair bit of respect in the World of cinema. Over the next four decades his work was praised and acknowledged by film critiques and general mass all over the world. He is rightly regarded as one of the finest film-makers this world ever experienced. Even today, he continues to be an inspiration for all the upcoming film makers of this country. He still holds the most respected position as an Indian film maker in the international film circuit. He was truly the master of this art.

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Ray was one of the prolific writers that Bengal and India had. Apart from his achievements in the world of cinema, he wrote many novels. Short stores, essays on cinema and his views about Indian and foreign films. His articles were a treat for the readers and his work for children remain etched on your mind. He worked his way out in between immense constraints and defeated physical and material causes which were hindrances to his creative work. His dedication towards work and his urge to excel helped him to overcome every odd situation that came through his way.

In this post, I hardly have the opportunity to speak something which will really imply and describe his enormous popularity and his huge credibility in the field of art and culture. However, I would like to dedicate my blog, my wishes and my dreams to this man and expect to be a part of his vision which actually gave him the courage to stand out from the crowd and leave an autograph on the minds of every Indian film lover. I would like to demonstrate life with pictures which have motion and my-motion-picture depicts every bit of his struggle towards excellence, failures that taught him lessons, success that made him urge for more and accolades that made him an institution in the field of cinema.