Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Third Week, Feb '07

Hi you all,

In keeping with the month’s agenda, we have kept this week for Ritwik Ghatak, a director who ought to be better known. Even here in India, his audience is mostly limited to “serious” filmgoers, a level of renown far below what his name and achievements rightfully deserve. Whichever way you choose to approach these films, be it as an intellectual or as a casual viewer, the experience will be a rewarding one.

20th February 2007
6:15 p.m. at the Auditorium

Runtime: 2 hours
Directed by Ritwik Ghatak

An otherwise ordinary taxi-driver infected with a strange devotion to his ancient, clattering jalopy of an automobile - the basic premise of AJANTRIK. The title (the English title is either “The Unmechanical” or “Pathetic Fallacy”) informs us as to his sentiments, and those of his neighbours. For a Ghatak film it is quite accessible for most people. Its beauty lies in its simplicity of narrative, which is so effective that we feel for the stubborn protagonist in his childlike travails. Remember, this is Ghatak, so one can see it in any light; exactly which is up to you.

22nd February 2007
6:15 p.m. at the Auditorium

Runtime: 2 hours 14 minutes
Directed by Ritwik Ghatak

This is actually part of a trilogy set in Calcutta and dealing with the then-endemic refugee issue. KOMAL GANDHAR gradually scratches away at the petty superficialities of individual lives, to reveal a shared tragedy that the squabbling parties realize binds them in a way beyond common understanding. The theme of cultural schism is a preoccupation with Ghatak. It is thus fitting that he emplaces layer upon layer rich in cultural detail, particularly music, intricate raiment draped on a storyline at its most essential. The connotations may escape you at times, but the rest of the film makes up for this.

About the Director: Ritwik Ghatak (b. 1925, d. 1976) knew well enough the pain of separation. Born in Dhaka, now in Bangladesh, his family moved early to Calcutta; thereafter he would witness the human tides that came. Steeped in the ferment of the times, he imbued his stints in theatre, documentaries and fiction filmmaking with deep conviction and insight. JUKTI TAKKO AAR GAPPO (1974), his last feature, features the director as a dissipated intellectual on a journey across the land, revisiting an old dream.

With regards,
The Film Club.

1 comment:

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