Journal of Indian Cinema

Vol. 1. Iss. 7 | January – February 2020

Film Critics Circle of India
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Directors’ Diaries: The Road to Their First Film

Utpal Datta | Jan 26

The principle attraction of an interview lives in the questions thrown by the interviewer. Questions are framed to dig out unknown facts from the inner core of the interviewee. Additionally, they mirror the study, preparation, insight, mental makeup and so much more of the interviewee too. And that mirrored picture determines the character, purpose, and philosophy of the interview…

…Readers enjoy reading any kind interview when they feel attached with the interviewer. Instead of lengthy, boring questions or a scholarly self-presentation of the interviewer, the author throws questions that are crisp and lead the interviewee to unravel their past. This pattern may be compared to the presentation of a Raga in Indian Classical music where the beauty of a Raga is being unfolded in a systematic pattern of movement…

… At one point, the author enters the dreaded realm that haunted the protagonist of Fellini’s 8½. Have you as a film director ever faced a barren state of mind, he asks. Film shooting, especially in the traditional manner, is a very expensive creative process where every single moment involves costs. Therefore, the question of whether a director can have that luxury of facing the situation of a director’s block is highly relevant. It also gives indication of how seriously the author attempts to explore the conflict zone in the creative process of a director.



Sthalpuran: dialectical cinema

Devdutt Trivedi | Feb 15

In Indian cinema, a uniquely local approach to dialectical cinema was developed notably in Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara, which finds its color counterpoint in Kumar Shahani’s Maya Darpan. In the latter, space and time provides a rational basis to history, rooted in Hegel’s dialectic, such that myth and reality form the space for the circular enfolding of History.

In Sthalpuran (Chronicle of Space), director Akshay Indikar weaves a dialectical cinema that is closer to the conceptual empiricism of David Hume, in which experience is the only basis of determining the ‘reality’ of space and time. This ‘chronicle’ is precisely the narrative, forwarded by the Marathi inter-titles; whereas ‘space’ is the location-space, which is nothing but matter occupying a degree of intensity. In other words, narrative and matter, combined with Indikar’s unique approach to the two, raise several important questions to the nature of cinematographic practice, namely: What is the relationship between depth-of-field (as in the films of Orson Welles) and a flattening of space (as in the films of Jean-Luc Godard) and can the two find a cinematographic relationship? Is a static shot in between a track and a handheld pan? Can time be frozen via the indexical (the stopped clocks that are a physical proof of time but do not work) instead of the symbolic?


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The Bimal Roy Path

Joy Bimal Roy | Jan 08

The present Bimal Roy Path was actually part of Mount Mary Road originally, but physically it was a cul de sac with just a few buildings on it leading to a dead end. But the wonderful thing was that the sign would be just opposite our bungalow. The site was the perfect choice. And the perfect date for the inauguration was Baba’s death anniversary on 8th January 2017…

… The sign is actually part of a public garden in which we had laid out tables and chairs and an authentic Bengali high tea. Only when people left and the sign lights came on that the significance of the moment sank in. Bimal Roy Path was a reality at last. Isn’t it wonderful that both Ma and Baba have become a tangible part of Bandra’s history?


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Emergence and popularity of the grey protagonist in Bollywood

Saurabh Turakhia | Jan 26

While probing the reason for cynicism of audiences would be a subject of psychology and sociology, filmmakers’ deliberate choice to flesh out the grey character in greater detail and lend them more screen-time; powerful, distinct dialogues; and multiple layers begs the important question — is this a case of absence of conviction, a sign of the time we inhabit, or compromised filmmaking?


Of tea and coffee house culture, and cinema

Dipsikha Bhagawati | Feb 29

The cafés of Europe attracted artists and thinkers, who would gather there to read out their ideas, and engage in long, often heated, conversations. This intellectual culture would spread rapidly to other parts of the world.

In Los Angeles, the iconic Mussos and Frank Grills used to be a favorite destination of the likes of Chaplin and Hitchcock. By situating the characters of his ‘Once upon a Time in Hollywood’ in this quaint old place, Quentin Tarantino throws the focus on the coffee house culture of Hollywood in the golden age. He turns this 100-year-old joint into a character. This isn’t anything new, though. The wayside teashops play a prominent role in quite a few of the old Malayalam film classics.