A Directory of Bengali Cinema

Parimal Ray and Kazi Anirban

Published by The Colors of Art, 2013
ISBN 10: 9351048268 / ISBN 13: 9789351048268
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Contents: Foreword/Sandip Ray. Preface/Ankan Kazi. 1. Silent era: 1917-1934. 2. Sound era: 1931-1934-2011. From the preface: The narrative of the history of Bengali Cinema attests to two things: Bengali cinema's pre-eminent position in the discourse of and on cinema during its nascent stages in the country including technical growth and critical commentary and its pluralizing nature as opposed to a hegemonic Hindi National Cinema. A lot of the films made in the early Calcutta studios were made in Urdu and Persian and it was not until 1931 that a Bengali language talkie was released : Jamai Sashthi. Some of the early pioneers of Bengali Cinema included Hiralal Sen and Debaki Bose who sought to represent indigenous stories in their cinema and even sought to expand the grammar of the medium in its early days. Mythological films were also a popular genre and they were often characterized by a heightened poetic treatment, even though they were acted and mounted along the lines of a theatrical production. A lot of their education was formed by reading international film journals and watching more technically accomplished films from the west especially Hollywood, and there was a growth in practices of filmmaking, film reviewing and appreciating the finer details of film craft like editing and cinematography. One of the foremost Bengali writers of the time Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay dedicated himself to serious film criticism by writing Chhayachhabir Marmakatha The basics of Cinema where he went into considerable depth exploring the technological advancements that had made colour, film and sound possible. This is one among many other instances of serious and sustained film criticism. The holistic development of a film culture was possible due to a constant engagement with the form and it was only a matter of time before cinephilia was a recognized passion. This is what makes a film directory valuable in its effort to re-construct film history not by reading the films all over again but by unearthing the ephemera, the more incidental things like chapbooks and film companions that circulated around film production and gave it a social coherence objects and discourses which helped create cinema as a major cultural subject. The chapbooks featured here, for example provided details of the cast and crew of the film. Emerging film buffs would collect these booklets and concentrate on preserving the ones featuring their favourite stars. Some of the companion booklets would also feature song titles and lyrics from the popular songs in the publicized film. They were the most important source for budding singers and music fans who could not otherwise afford to buy expensive editions of songbooks. It was in keeping with this passion for cinema that the Calcutta Film Society was established in 1947 by among others, Chidananda Dasgupta, Satyajit Ray and Bansi Chandragupta. Ray wrote regularly on cinematic practices in the west and India and his career as a foundational Indian filmmaker was born out of this spirit of enquiry and engagement. A wide variety of films, especially from Europe and America, were screened and discussed in the society and they were instrumental in creating a climate that would shape and determine serious Indian cinema in the next few decades. Satyajit Ray's experience as a graphics designer would bleed into his film practice and he ended up employing his skills in formulating the complete appearance of his films in addition to writing and directing them. His designs for publicity stills, posters, chapbook layouts, title-credits, therefore, have also seamlessly passed into the arena of collectibles and are now seen as an important and inalienable part of his oeuvre as an artist. His contributions in the context of his important career in film, may occupy a major position in Bengali Cinema culture but it has brought into focus the work of several other talented writers and artists who also designed film posters for other lum. Bookseller Inventory #

Bibliographic Details

Title: A Directory of Bengali Cinema
Publisher: The Colors of Art
Publication Date: 2013
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New
Edition: 1st Edition

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