Amit Khanna | April 24
Somewhere in the post World War II era of print were created two distinct approaches: first and more popular was the film reviewer and the other the film critic. By and large film reviews are what appear in newspapers and magazines, radio and TV and of course now online. A recent phenomenon is social media reviews, some even typed from inside a cinema while the reviewer is still watching the film. Reviewers generally follow a set pattern—Give a gist of the plot (nowadays with spoiler alerts), talk broadly about the main players’ performance, make broad comments about the screenplay, cinematography, music, production design, etc. There is usually a reference to direction. Often the reputation of the creative professionals and artistes colour the review. A trend started by American publications in the late 1940s of awarding stars based on some arbitrary methodology caught on in India as well. Even now the so called ‘serious’ film critics dispense stars as some sort of personal dole.
Any criticism of artistic work is subjective and there will always be personal biases. A peculiar hang up of Indian critics of all arts is that they become all knowing arbiters of aesthetics, form and content even when their knowledge is based on a casual read of a few books and articles. Merely watching films in film festivals or week after week in cinemas and cosying up to a select group in the art circuit in media does not give anyone the authority to pass unqualified judgement on all creative efforts. Interestingly most of these purveyors of good cinema gladly land up at a star’s house for an exclusive interview (stars sell, or so say their bosses) and do puff pieces on successful film makers.
Documentary Films: Local Narratives/Global Issues
Parthajit Baruah | Apr 30
Theoretically, the notion of documentary making has got a tremendous transformation with times. Earlier, documentaries were nothing but the short newsreels, records of current events, or travelogues which were known as ‘actualities’… The focus of my paper will be on how the Indian documentary filmmakers have taken the diverged local subjects and how they have gone beyond the reality in quest of the untold stories of the human world.
Dalits and Victimhood in Indian Film
MK Raghavendra | Apr 24
When we come to Indian cinema we find victimhood treated differently and this is true of the portrayal of Dalits as well. The tendency is to show the Dalit victim as belonging to a monolithic category transacting only with those outside. A common issue here is that of the forbidden inter-caste romance in which one of the lovers is Dalit. There are a series of films which work by this formula which, when analysed, yields the sense that ‘Dalithood’ gains significance only in relation to caste society. One does not, for instance, find romances between two Dalits from different strata which might also have been opposed. Films about Dalits appear to proceed from social preconceptions rather than unbiased observation and this is apparently because Indian cinema has not favoured mimesis.
Talks & screenings
Utpal Borpujari’s children’s film ‘Ishu’ screened as part of IIT-Guwahati's Rongali Bihu Festival | Guwahati
Jai Arjun Singh conducts a film appreciation camp for kids of Doon School | Dehradun, Uttarakhand
Premendra Mazumder on red carpet, prior to panel discussion, ‘Education and cinema’ | Kazan, Russia
Utpal Datta following an interactive session for upcoming journalists at Cotton University | Guwahati
Rashmi Doraiswamy at debate organized by Academy of International Studies, JMI university | N. Delhi
GP Ramachandran at film appreciation camp for children organized by Kerala State Film Academy | Kerala
Ratnottama Sengupta at FTII retro event, "Mastering the craft with Nabendu Ghosh" | Pune
|An attempt to recognise Eurasian cinema—and celebrate it|
|Jordan Peele’s Us as a failed political satire|
Apurba Sarma ................................................
Apurba Sarma .........................