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தமிழ்நாடு திரைப்பட இயக்கமும் NFSCயும் இணைந்து வழங்கும் ரிட்விக் கடக் திரைப்பட விழா

This entry is part of 45 in the series 20081023_Issue

சிவராஜ்


RITWIK GHATAK FILMS BENGALI CINEMA
29.10.2008
6.00 P.M.: Meghey Dhaka Tara
B&W / 120 mins

30.10.2008

6.00 P.M.: Ajantrik

B&W / 120 min

MEGHE DHAKA TARA (1960)

Meghe Dhaka Tara (The Cloud-Capped Star) is a 1960 film by director

Ritwik Ghatak. It stars Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Gita Ghatak,

Bijan Bhattacharya, Niranjan Roy, and Gyanesh Mukherjee.

This film was directed by alternative filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak in Kolkata

(then Calcutta). In contrast to many Bollywood films made in Mumbai, India’s

main film center, Ghatak’s films are formally elaborate and somber, and

often address issues related to the Partition of India. Although Partition is

never explicitly mentioned in Meghe Dhaka Tara, it takes place in a refugee

camp in the outskirts of Calcutta, and concerns an impoverished genteel

Hindu bhadralok family and the problems they face because of Partition.

The film is perhaps the most widely viewed film among Ghatak’s works; it

was his greatest commercial success at home, and coincided with an

international film movement towards personal stories and innovative techniques

(the so-called ‘new wave’). After Ghatak’s death, his work (and this film in

particular) began to attract a more sizable global audience, via film festivals

and the subsequent release of DVDs both in India and in Europe.

The film revolves around Neeta (Supriya Choudhury), a beautiful young

woman who lives with her family, refugees from East Pakistan, in the

suburbs of Calcutta. Nita is a self-sacrificing person who is constantly

exploited by everyone around her, even her own family, who take her

goodness for granted. Her life is ridden with personal tragedy: she loses

first her fiancé, then her job and finally her health by contracting tuberculosis.

Her mostly absent would-be singer brother (Anil Chatterjee) is the only

person who cares about her. In the end, she screams out her agony,

throwing herself into her brother’s arms.“Meghe Dhaka Tara” tells the tragic

story of the beautiful daughter of a middle-class refugee family from East Pakistan,

living in the outskirts of Calcutta under modest circumstances. Neeta sacrifices everything for her

family, including her personal happiness, her money, and her health, while

her achievements are hardly ever recognized by the people around her.

This movie by Ritwik Ghatak is on the list of most of the Indian big times

directors as one of the best movies of Indian cinema. The name of the

movie means Cloud Capped Star – what a lovely name.

The story is about a girl Nita (Supriya Choudhury) in a family who have migrated

to India from Bangladesh, after the partition and staying in a small West Bengal

town in poverty. Nita is the second child in the family of two boys, two girls and

parents. After her father’s (Bijon Bhattacharya) health detoriates she has to

take the responsibility of being the bread winner – because she is educated.

Her beloved elder brother Shankar (Anil Chatterjee) is an aspirational singer

and does not want to work. Her younger brother Mantu (Dwiju Bhawal) leaves

his studies and becomes a daily laborer. Nita’s boy friend Sanat (Niranjan

Roy) gets attracted to her sister Gita (Gita Ghatak) and marries her. Nita carrier

the burden of all these silently, but it takes toll on her health and mind – who is

finally sent to treatment in a remote hospital where Shankar goes to meet her in

the end of the movie.

AJANTRIK

(Pathetic Fallacy or The Unmechanical, 1958) is set in Bihar around the activities

of a taxi driver who lives at a bus station, it was his first film to be released

commercially.It’s just a lump of iron. Why this attachment?This is a question asked of taxi driver Bimal (Kali Banerjee), the central characterof Ajantrik, regarding his dedication to his very old and battered 1920 Chevrolet jalopy, called Jagaddal. It seems to me that it is the same question Ritwik da wanted to ask of the presumption of a filmmaker’s attachment to the apparatuses

of the cinema – an attachment he always claimed not to possess. We could draw

some interesting conclusions about his investigation of this taxi driver’s relationship

to his car and Ritwik da’s own attempts to explain what it is about the cinema that

draws his commitment. Much later while some one talked about filmmakers &

their obsession with certain types of cameras & lenses Ritwik da would often

retort by saying that equipment can never become a director’s mistress.

Let us consider further the mingling of the human and the mechanical that traverses

Ajantrik.When questioned by a so called educated gentle man Bimal pauses, pensively&

Says “That I’m a machine. I like the smell of burnt gasoline. It makes me high…”

A light giggle escapes him.“What they don’t understand is that Jagaddal is also human.”

Venue: Indian School of Folklore

(Academic Wing of National Folklore Support Centre)

#505, 5th Floor, Kaveri Complex,

96, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam,

Chennai – 600 034. Ph: 28229192 / 42138410

(Behind Hotel Ganpath)

All are Welcome! Entry Free!!

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