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Showing posts from April, 2009

Satyajit Ray, Ray's Films, and Ray-Movie

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Film-maker and critic Chidananda Das Gupta, around the time he published his definitive The Cinema of Satyajit Ray ,' pointed to a slight problem he was having with his mentor: .. the Golden Lion of St Mark in Venice, the Golden Bear and two Best Director awards and a special jury award for the totality of his work in Berlin, the Selznick Award, the Sutherland Trophy, Best Film for 1957 and Best Director of the year 1959 at San Francisco, honorary doctorates from Oxford and London Universities, Most Outstanding Film Director of Half-a-Century citation from the British Federation of Film Societies, and innumerable others that Indians have stopped counting. . . The depth and extent of the western response to Ray often mystifies Indians; he is great, but is he that great? Sometimes even his ardent admirers at home are baffled by the chorus of praise abroad that greets those films to which their own response is lukewarm. Ever since Ray made his influential Pather Panch

Cannes 09 Lineup

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Looks like a no of heavyweight auteurs are competing for the Golden Palm this year. The festival opens on May 13 with Pixa'r "UP" (for the first time in the history of the festival) and closes on May 24th with Coco Chanel&Igor Stravinsky. India like every year is missing in action. But, I'm sure, it hardly bothers our "creative mainstream Industry" they will still land up at the festival through the Indian Booth section and our media will report their presence as if they just conquered Mt Everest- even if most people fail to recognize them." We make films for masses not film festivals" is one of the favorite cliches of our Industry. So without further ado...let's move on to the lineup. The Director’s Fortnight and Critics Week will be announced tomorrow. Competition : "Bright Star," Jane Campion (Australia/UK/France). "Spring Fever," Lou Ye (China/France). "Antichrist," Lars von Trier (Denmark/Sweden/F

Interview with Anurag Kashyap

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A massive presence among us – Anurag Kashyap , we let him another sip on his Margarita. For the most part, we were poking, biting, probing, and seeking; for the remaining, we wanted to let the interview become a discussion between our favorite type of people – people who love cinema. Indian Auteur talks to Mr. Anurag Kashyap. NOTE – A lot of discussion off-the-record remains unpublished, for the fear of inviting controversy, no more of which, Mr.Kashyap seems to be very welcoming towards now. I can only assure the gentle reader that he stands to miss a lot, but then, such is life. Plus - Those who have missed, do check out the legendary debate between Anurag Kashyap his band of followers and us. The Filmmaker, Fanboys&Cinephile Debate How did your vast reading of the Hindi pulp novels help in developing your screenwriting style? I would have to say that I am not consciously aware of any such influence. As an afterthought, however, I would have to say that they did hel

Cinematography and Time.

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Cinephile Meeting-III Mani Kaul is one of the greatest Indian cineaste working in India. This essay is reproduced here so that a new generation of film lovers are acquainted with his writings on cinema. Hence, in time to come we can introduce his films to a new audience, with an eventual Issue on his life and films. Beneath the surface: Cinematography and Time The object of this article is to provoke debate on a basic cinematographic contradiction: a plethora of a films across the world continues to fashion awe-inspiring cinematographic spaces (stunning visuals), however, only a few are able to realize a simultaneous and direct experience of cinematographic time. With the current epidemic of "special effects", the awe-inspiring space has taken a turn for the worse- we appear headed for an immersion into an immaterial world. As opposed to what has been presumed as the obvious(that space/time is an integrated vehicle that makes cinema move)space and time in cinema are s

Cinephile Meeting-III

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Invisible India is the elephant in your bedroom, what we should be talking about is the Blind India that can't see this elephant. - P Sainath. Topic : A more Political Cinema and awareness. With the elections round the corner and the current strike in Bollywood, the truth is out for all of us to see- how badly our movies fare. And it’s not essentially what Bollywood feeds us is what audience wants. Hence, this meeting is to discuss on how we can take an active role in supporting the right films and create an awareness regarding the role cinema can play in highlighting issues, that are not part of any media. It's important to understand that the role of cinema should not mean reducing it to the purpose at hand. Lets create an awareness friends, not that anyone is taking away peoples right to freedom or a choice at entertainment but India today needs to engage, question and our generation needs to wake up. So for every film of Sharukah Khan we should have a counter c

Kumar Shahani- a portrait

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Indian Auteur - Issue 1 - Issue 2 Discussion- Bollywood Strike. It’s difficult to be Kumar Shahani. Not that there is a great public demand or media attention like our superstars. But its his path to continue pursuing the struggle to understand and evolve the form of cinema and its relationship with life and other art forms that has made things difficult. It's best put in his own words: "You know Subrato Mitra, whose camera work for early Satyajit Ray turned films into masterpieces. Subrato was also a film-maker in his own right. Can you imagine that all the films made by Subrato are reportedly reduced to ashes because of a fire in the studio which kept them in London?" asks Kumar. "Isn't it shameful that nobody seems concerned about such things?" Kumar should know. He is himself running from pillar to post to retrieve the negatives of one of his films. The lab, which is holding the negatives simply refuses to oblige because NFDC (the producer) has n

Cinephile Meeting: Bangalore via Delhi

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At the beginning, there are questions. People, some cynical, some supportive, often ask them. The common concern is ‘why’, and not ‘what’, or even the generous ‘how’. As Delhi baptized itself into the series of Cinephile meetings across the nation, in a small cafĂ© atop a bookshop in the heart of the city; people gathered to assuage their skepticism. While Delhi planned a glorious debut, it turned out to be a sedate induction of sorts. The topic, “State of Indian Cinema & The Massive Success of Slumdog Millionaire”, was bound to invite divided voices, based purely, on the accessibility and its presence in the public domain. Rapidly a thing of the past, but when it wasn’t, Millionaire was a film that belonged to everyone, and to everyone’s dissertation of it, thus. People from all over, journo, students, social activists, producers, actors et cetera made their way to the meeting spot, to both voice their opinions on the subject, and to inquire, about the curious topic called the

Postmodernism and Cinema

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ISSUE- no1 ISSUE- no2 Asim Ratan Ghosh discusses about the characteristics of post-modern cinema with examples from different significant post-modern films Today’s life is a post-modern one. Cinema and TV are shaping our lives - life styles and attitudes towards life. The social, economic and political problems have direct relationship with it. The cinema and TV serials are simulating a hyper-real world. They pretend to show a ‘real’ life. That world lures people. They try to search out that ideal life but without success. This failure creates hatred, frustration, anger and a sense of revenge. That is why the instances of suicide, homicide and other crimes and misdemeanors are gradually increasing. All over the world another phenomenon can be observed: social unrest and change of social order are taking place all over the world. In the economic front Capitalist flavour is almost lost. Multinationals are reigning the world. Economists call this ‘Late Capitalism’. This ‘Late Capi

An Interview with Ritwik Ghatak

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Our second issue looked at the legacy and the cinema of Ritwik Ghatak which has continued to thrill and find new audiences across the world. The following Interview is from his book of essays( Cinema and I) that was later published in Rows and Rows of Fences . Both books are now out-of-print and it is a testament to the sad state of affairs of his legacy. I hope in times to come we can be instrumental in protecting, preserving and making his movies and writing accessible to a wider audiences. Here is an excerpt from the Interview, the full Interview can be read from the link specified below. ........................... Q. Mr. Ghatak, what inspired you to turn to film making? R.G. You could say that I strayed into films down a zigzag path. If may father had had his way I should have been an income-tax officer. I got the job but left it to join the C.P.I. if I had stuck to it I might have become a Commissioner or Accountant General by now. But now I am only a street dog! After