The Mountains and the Mist

Every time I’m asked to name my favourite Satyajit Ray film, I do not know how to respond. Earlier, I used to stare stupidly for a while and then blurt out a name which, for no apparent reason, came first to my mind. Once you decide on a favourite, it is thereon easy to explain […]

Cinema for Change: Shyam Benegal’s Rural Trilogy

‘Through my films I can say, “Here is the world, and here are the possibilities we have,”’ – perhaps it is the existence of these possibilities that made Shyam Benegal the bearer of the winds of change in Indian cinema. There were filmmakers before him working independent of mainstream cinema, experimenting with different styles of […]

Musings, Ghungroos, and Kathak on Screen

Shatranj Ke Khiladi

By Aliyah Banerjee Wrapping Ma’s dupattas around my head, slipping into the cotton ghagra my grandmother sewed for me, and dancing along to Tagore’s Phule-Phule defined my early years and intertwined dance with the usual memories of a child growing up. My love for Indian music could not help but blossom as I spent evening […]

My Amrita

How a woman found herself in a new land through the writings of Amrita Pritam

Absence

A young woman doesn’t return home for a night. A retired professor casually leaves his home one evening but never returns. The young servant boy of a middle-class Kolkata household is found dead one morning. Delay, disappearance, death – three films made over almost a decade, but connected through their central idea, form Mrinal Sen’s […]

The World of Ramjan Ostagar: The Common Man of Old Calcutta

Guest Author: Upayan Chatterjee The World of Ramjan Ostagar: The Common Man of Old Calcutta is a chapter written by Sumanta Banerjee from the book ‘Calcutta: The Living City’ (Oxford University Press), dedicated to the anonymity of Calcutta’s common man in the 19th century. The author speaks of how all the history of the period […]

In Letting Go

Guest Author: Utsa Bose Death, we are told, arrives unawares; that it arrives suddenly, softly, swiftly, without remorse, catching us defenceless, ripping us apart. We learn to read death as a parting, as departing, as an aberration, as deviation, devastation and exception—but what are we to do when we reach a point in life when […]

The Music of Ritwik Ghatak

“Why do you always sing sad songs?” Ishwar asks his sister, Sita in Subarnarekha. “It is almost as if there is nothing in this world beyond pain and suffering.” When art stems from lived experiences, it must be truthful. And truth is seldom under the compulsion to have a happy ending. Cinema, for Ritwik Ghatak, […]