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By Our Staff Reporter NEW DELHI JAN. 6. This was one lesson in morality by a film-maker which the students will probably never forget. A director preaching high moral ground might sound quite unbelievable to most, but when the "teacher" happens to be Amol Palekar, it presents a completely different picture. In Delhi to attend the ongoing Katha Utsav, it was an opportunity for the audience to understand what ethics -- or the lack of them -- shape cinema. "I think morals are something man-made and not sacrosanct like we are made to believe. It is subjective and changes according to time, place and culture. We were introduced to Victorian morality by the British, which is what we are not. There are attempts to replace them by what is now called Indian values. I want to know what they mean by that? I think it is important that we define them," he stated While film-makers are often at the helm of debates on such ethical issues, this one gave the audience a chance to understand a director who chooses to swim against the tide. "I think sometimes artistes fall into a trap and perpetuate something because they feel that is what the audience wants. I think one has to take the burden on oneself. In mainstream cinema, women are almost doormats and sometimes in the garb of what people want, film-makers continue to portray the same image," the seasoned director said. Exploring the issues of morality and moving on to the "guardians" of these values, Mr. Palekar remarked, "I don't believe in pre-censorship, particularly selective pre-censorship. It is not applicable to a novel or a speech nor does it apply to any other art form. They assume that it may cause a law and order problem, but why do it before the film is released. Like in the case of speech, why don't they wait for the release of the film before stopping it? The other concern is to curb sex and violence. But the majority of the cinema is full of that. In our "morality" we want to retain status quo. The issue is that anybody who chooses to make a significant social statement is in trouble. Look at all the films of Anand Patwardhan." While a significant film might have its way through the legal loopholes, it can sometimes be caught up in the extra-constitutional guardians. "Sometimes when a film gets a censor certificate it can be stopped through extraconstitutional censorship. Are we concerned about this? My film `Akrit' was not sent abroad because it raises serious questions and was not a good image for India abroad. But Karisma Kapoor and Govinda dancing on Sydney bridge portrays that?" he asked.
Information & Research Resources on Indian Cinema: A Global Survey of Printed, Digital and Online Material Abstract India is the largest film producing industry in the world and i ts cinema is becoming increasingly popular in var ious count r ies around the globe. Bol lywood is a powerful medium that provides useful and entertaining information on history, civilization, variety of cultures, religions, socio-economics and politics in various regional languages. More and more people, irrespective of their ethnicity, watch Bollywood films in many parts of the world. Recently a popular Indian movie-Slumdog Millionaire has received eight Oscar awards, and thus, scholars and a c a d emi c i a n s a r e s h owi n g k e e n i n t e r e s t , a n d a r e actively involved in teaching and research on different aspects of Indian cinema particularly Bollywood. During the last two decades there has been spurt in publications on Indian cinema. To support teaching and research, several libraries have developed good collections of printed and microforms resources. In recent years, we have witnessed a huge proliferation of digital and web resources, and information is now accessible on Indian cinema more easily and promptly through the Internet. The author received a research grant from the University of Illinois, USA to develop an online resource guide on I n d i a n c i n ema , a n d u n d e r t o o k a s u r v e y o f v a r i o u s institutions and libraries in USA, India, Canada and London (UK) for the collection of various data. In this paper information has been provided on major institutions of cinematic studies and research. An annotated list of databases, printed, digital as well as online resources has been developed that will serve as most up-to-date reference resource for people seeking information on Indian cinema. Introduction Bollywood is the largest film producing industry in the world. In recent years, there has been growing interest and awareness of Indian cinema, and as such many u n i v e r s i t i e s , c o l l e g e s a n d o t h e r e d u c a t i o n a l institutions have developed and introduced several courses. There are quite a large number of students and scholars who are pursuing study and research on various facets of cinema leading to Doctorate, Master and Bachelor degrees. There is dearth of Information & Research Resources on Indian Cinema: A Global Survey of Printed, Digital and Online Materials Rajwant S. Chilana, M. Sc. MLS, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Library Administration & South Asian Studies Librarian Acting Head-Asian Library University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, Il 61801, USA email@example.com indexing or abstracting sources in this area for the purpose of academic studies. Indian cinema and culture is a vital aspect of South Asian programs, and we have witnessed that there has been growing interest in the scholarly study of Bollywood and Indian cinema among South Asian diaspora. In recent years movies produced in India have received international attention. Most recently, there have been successful ef for ts in the coproductions of Hindi as well as English movies by Hollywood and Bollywood producers and directors. Many Indian actors are working in Hollywood films and similarly a number of American and British actors are also appearing in Bollywood movies. The majority of Indian films are now produced with English subtitles, and thus many people around the globe love to watch and get acquainted with Indian history, culture and society through the movies. Faculty, students and scholars have developed keen interest in the study and research on different aspects of cinema. So far no bibliographical source with international coverage has been compiled on
Indian cinema and thus many patrons have suggested in producing a guide to help their research. When completed, this resource guide will greatly support research programs in South Asian studies, and will serve as an exhaustive and most upto-date bibliographical reference on Indian cinema. This publication will assist graduate and under-graduate students as well as faculty and other researchers in locating information on various aspects of films produced in and about India. Libraries with Cinema Collections l National Film Archives of India, Mumbai, along with the Film Institute of India in Pune developed to become the national resource center for film and film related material. Since then, its staff has had the arduous task of tracking down and acquiring any film and related material, which hasE M E R G I N G D I M E N S I O N S O F D I G I TA L L I B R A R I E S R A J WA N T S . C H I L A N A 117 a particular focus on the history and heritage of Indian cinema. This Archives act as a center for the dissemination of film culture in the country, and to promote Indian cinema abroad. Its Research and Documentation Section has a very large collection of material relating to every period of Indian cinema. It contains more than 1,15,561 still photographs. Prints of all unique photographs have b e e n m a d e s o t h a t t h e y a r e a v a i l a b l e t o researchers, authors etc. Censorship records and other material are used to reconstruct the multiple filmographies of Indian cinema. Among the publicity items are more than 11,639 film posters of various sizes, 10,133 song booklets, lobby cards, press clippings and old disc records. The Do c ume n t a t i o n Ce n t r e a t t emp t s t o c o l l e c t ancillary material for every film title certified by the various Film Certification Boards in the country. Films are made in many languages at various centers in India, and considering the large number of films produced in the country, the task of acquiring and documenting this material is voluminous. The section maintains press clipping files of film reviews, film personalities and other important aspects of Indian Cinema. http://nfaipune.nic.in/main_page.htm l Film and Television Institute of India Library, Mumbai was established in 1960 at Pune. Since than it has truly lived up to its avowed objective in the field of imparting training in film making and television program production. Currently FTII is considered as a Center of Excellence not only in India but also in Asia and Europe. Films made by the students of the Institute are entered in festivals both in India and abroad. Many of them have own National and International awards. The Institute has a spacious book library with a substantial collection of books related to film, television, theatre, fine arts, literature etc. The Institute also subscribes to a number of technical and general periodicals published in the country and abroad. The Institute has a film and a video library with a good collection of films and videos from all over t h e w o r l d . h t t p : / / w w w. ft i i n d i a . c o m / n e w ft i i /index.html l Whistling Woods International Library is the Asia s largest and most reputed institute for film, animation, television and media arts developed in Film City, Mumbai by the reputed film producer and director Subhash Ghai. This provides worldclass education in all technical and creative aspects of filmmaking and television through 2- y e a r, f u l l - t i m e r e s i d e n t i a l p r o g r a m s i n 8 s p e c i a l i z a t i o n s n ame l y A c t i n g , A n ima t i o n , Business of Film & Television, Cinematography, Direction, Editing, Screenwriting & Sound. Its well equipped library provides printed and online r e s o u r c e s o n c i n e m a t i c s t u d i e s . h t t p : / /www.whistlingwoods.net/main.asp# l Asian Academy of Film & Television, Noida has adopted a comprehensive training method with equal importance on the practical training of film making and acting. Asian Academy of Film & TV, has been
the I n s . Bulletin on Films. Short Films and Animation Films in its archives. an annotated index of select articles on mass media published in newspapers and journals being subscribed by the Centre. Reference and Training Division.G. It is a National Centre offering postgraduate diploma courses in Film and Television.filmsdivision. an abstract of various developments in the f i lm indust ry in India. The Films Division of India has within its archives.imparting education and training in the a r t a n d c r a f t o f f i l m m a k i n g i n t e l e v i s i o n presentation since 1993. the Academy was also approved as an international level training center by the 125 year old City and Guilds of the United Kingdom in the y e a r 2 0 0 2 . This infrastructure is put to use to assist in-house as well as freelance film makers and producers. Its library contains good collections of printed materials on various aspects of film p r o d u c t i o n . Film and Television Institute. Mumbai was established in 1948.pdf l Films Division of India Library. Films Division of India holds 8000 titles on Documentaries.nic. Nothing less than a megafilm on the films itself. For the past 50 years. TV and allied subjects and to award Diploma to successful candidates. h t t p : / /www. cameras.htm l Satyaj i t Ray Fi lm & Television Inst i tute.com/main. a recorded legacy of our glorious past.org:8080/fromrecreate/jsp/home. and brings out services like Current Awareness Service. g o v. Besides offering regular full time courses. The Documentation Center of the academy has produced a number of books on the art & screen presentation. http://rrtd.R. Reference Information Service. Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.in/rti. T h e A c a d e m y h a s a l s o d o n e pioneering work of generating training a world class material in the form of books and video recordings on the various techniques of film and television production both for the benefit of its students and the practicing film and television professionals. With the infrastructure available. i n / m i s c / f i l m /admission2007/mgrftvi_prospectus.aaft. K o l k a t a w a s e s t a b l i s h e d i n 1 9 9 5 b y t h e Government of India as an autonomous academic institution under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. the organization has maintained a record of Indian history on celluloid. Chennai is an advanced institute for Film Techniques and Aesthetics that imparts training in various aspects of Film Production. recording and editing facilities. It is the main film-medium organization of the Government of India and is well equipped with118 I C A L 2 0 0 9 V I S I O N A N D R O L E S O F T H E F U T U R E A C A D E M I C L I B R A R I E S trained personnel.html# l M. but also an active p a r t i c i p a n t i n m a k i n g i t . it is not merely a store-house of this legacy. It also to help appreciate the power of the medium of Film for entertainment and education and make use of them. the background papers on subjects of topical interests in the field of mass media. These films range from events of Socio-cultural importance to political events. Growing to be certified as the first ISO 9001:2000 film school in this part of t h e wo r l d i n l e s s t h a n a d e c a d e s i n c e i t s inception.pdf l The National Documentation Centre on Mass Communication (NDCMC) of the Research. http://www. t n . The academy was planned as an alternative to formal film schools and has since come a long way making a unique place for itself amongst the best global centers of education of its kind. Government of India is located in New Delhi. h t t p : / / w w w.
television. helps to improve the standards of Indian Cinema. in various Indian languages. funding and production of fiction and non-fiction films. filmographies. http://srfti. provide international exposure to outstanding Indian films. generates healthy competition and in the process.in/ l National Film Development Corporation of India is the cent ral agency establ ished to encourage the good cinema movement in the country. Sp e c i a l p r o g r ame s P r i n t collection & documentation. and the SRFTI NFDC collection has 66 feature films. a multibooth viewing room and a music room. As a vehicle of cultural change. S o m e g o o d a n d c o m p r e h e n s i v e E n c y c l o p e d i a s . and other reference sources have been p u b l i s h e d i n r e c e n t y e a r s t h a t p r o v i d e u s e f u l information about Bollywood. The Objectives of the Directorate are: to promote good Indian Cinema within the country and abroad. There are efforts to develop an Indian Film Industry Database. films by outstanding International Directors. S e l e c t i o n o f I n d i a n P a n o r ama F i lms .htm Printed Resources There are many published documents on various a s p e c t s o f I n d i a n C i n e m a . In addition. performing arts and related subjects. equipped with a large reading hall. The primary goal of the NFDC is to plan. and screen in festivals. d i r e c t o r i e s . Over the years NFDC has provided a wide range of services essential to the growth of Indian cinema. National Film Awards and Festival (NFF).t i t u t e h a s p l a n s t o u n d e r t a k e p r o j e c t development. The Federation of Film Societies of India (Eastern Region) Collection has 36 feature films and 38 short films. http://mib. research work on film and television related issues are in the offing. The library of the Institute is located in a two-storied building. http://www. the library also has a rich collection of v i d e o s i n d i f f e r e n t f o r m a t s a s w e l l a s audiocassettes and CDs. These film prints are available to faculty and students for reference. Along with books and magazines on cinema. These films. The library offers extensive reference service. Participation in festivals abroad Cultural Exchange Programes (CEP) in India & abroad. arranges programes of foreign films in India. promote and organize an integrated and efficient development of the Indian film industry and foster excellence in cinema.com/ l Directorate of Film Festivals was set up by the Go v e r nme n t o f I n d i a i n 1 9 7 3 . There is an utmost need to develop an up-to-date bibliographical . It facilitates India s participation in festivals abroad. Indian films abroad and holds the National Film Awards function. The Institute has a small film library which houses collections of Indian and foreign films the largest being the Cine Central Collection of 400 foreign feature films and 914 short and documentary films.gov. have been widely acclaimed and have won many national and international awards.nfdcindia. media.nic. technology. DFF promotes international friendship.in/ informationb/MEDIA/filmfestival. The NFDC (and its predecessor the Film Finance Corporation) has so far funded / produced over 300 films. provides access to new trends in world cinema. The library is equipped with user friendly electronic resource facilities like c o m p u t e r i z e d c a t a l o g u e a n d c i r c u l a t i o n mechanism. o t h e r f i lm p r o g r ame s . t o o r g a n ize International and National Film Festivals within the country. Its other activities include: International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
71p. 1949-1972. l Ojha. New Delhi: Educational Resources Center.205p. New Delhi: Encyclopaedia Britannica (India). Screen World Publication s 75 glor ious years of Indian cinema: complete filmography of all films (silent & Hindi) produced between 1913-1988. 1994.N. Some of the popular sources are listed here: l International Index to Film Periodicals. 1988.New York: R. Short & Animation Films.??? l NFDC India Film Catalogue. and S. 1998.. Rajendra. Shampa and Anil Srivastava One hundred Indian feature films: an annotated filmography. Govt. Universi ty of the State of New York. Rajendra.: Greenwood Press. London: British Film Institute. 19131983.Westport. Bowker. 2000. New rev. 500p. 1974. Rukmini. Gulawani. 1972 l Rajadhyaksha.E M E R G I N G D I M E N S I O N S O F D I G I TA L LIBRARIES R A J WA N T S . 80p. India on film: a catalogue of films on India for teaching and special interest. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. l Di rectory of Indian documentary. Conn. of India. Bombay: CINEMA India-International. 649p. ed. .resource to help researchers round the globe to locate information on all subjects of Indian cinema. l Narwekar. New York: Garland. T. 70 years of Indian cinema. 658p. State Education Dept. 659p. l Encyclopaedia of Hindi cinema. 1985. 1994. Directory of Indian film-makers and films . l Ojha. Mumbai : M u m b a i I n t e r n a t i o n a l F i l m F e s t i v a l f o r Documentary. 655p. Encyclopaedia of Indian cinema. 1973. Pramod and V. Uma Da. l Cunha. Bombay: Screen World Publication. C H I L A N A 119 l Pati.M. l Banerjee. Ashish and Paul Willemen. Hindi Cinema Yearbook. Bombay: NFDC. 1988. 1999. Sanjit. Ed. Bombay: Films Division. R. l Ramachandran. Films Division catalogue of films. 2003.
l Vidyanidhi: Digital Library and E-Scholarship Portal is a project of Indian doctoral theses database established to evolve as an online digitized resource funded by the Ford Foundation and Microsoft. Filmography of the sixty eminent movie makers. 153p. 1985. Indian cinema 1980-1985. Hindi Film Geet Kosh is a comprehensive dictionary of songs of films produced by Bollywood. 3 vols set l Roy.org. Soon it is expected that this portal would . New Delhi: Directorate of Film Festivals. which are free-to-read. The project we l c ome s u n i v e r s i t i e s a n d r e s e a r c h e r s t o participate in this program that is based at Department of Library and Information Science.uk/salidaa/). Although not comprehensive.org.in/dgt_0001. The Big Lottery Fund s £50 million UK-wide digitization program is designed to bring the learning material and resources cur rent ly contained in gal ler ies. and presently provides a c c e s s t o m e t a d a t a o f I n d i a n t h e s i s a n d Universities.in/home/index. Few full text theses [ETDs] are presently available in its database. Har Mandir Singh. l Hamraaz. The range of material being digitized includes archaeology. Digital Resources l The South Asian Diaspora Literature and Arts Archive (SALIDAA) is a three-year digitization project (2001-2004) supported by the Big Lottery Fund . libraries. audio and video recordings. l India Digital Library is a digital library of books. National Film Development Corp. available to everyone over the Internet. architecture. fine art. social and oral history. museums and universities directly into homes and communities. predominantly in Indian languages.salidaa. Rajat. Till October 2004 the archive have included more than 3000 digitized items. Rani.l Burra. searchable. Artists and their films: Modern Hindi cinema. one of the main priorities for SALIDAA is to add material in South Asian languages as well as audio-visuals.ignca. l Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Digital Library. the SALIDAA provides a representative sample of the artistic and cultural contribution made by South Asian people.html). We will also aim to cover the rest of Britain and collect material which pre-dates 1947(http://www. New Delhi contains several digital images.nic. More information and details are available at their web site: http://www. As a future development. maritime. animations. and to extend the coverage to include films. DETAILS??? l Agnihotri.htm.vidyanidhi. This work has been published in five volumes in 1988. This project aims to showcase the richness and diversity of contemporary South Asian literature and arts in United Kingdom by digitizing a variety of text-based and visual material accompanied by descr ipt ive and contextual informat ion. U n i v e r s i t y o f M y s o r e ( I n d i a ) ( h t t p : / /www. and electronic books related South Asian arts and culture. It is developing a repository for Indian doctoral thesis. Awtar. Ed.
This project is a collaboration between different Indian institutions and universities and Carnegie Mellon University under Universal Digital Library Project http://www. ebooks. http://fiaf.edu/asx/ online_newspapers. Materials support research and teaching in higher education and will beneût scholars who do not have ready access to the expertise of area library specialists and collections of major research libraries as well as business. and South Asia.the South Asia Resource Access on the Internet is hosted by the Columbia University.uiuc.in/ l Books A list of digitized books on South Asia available free on the web can be accessed at http://door.South Asian Libraries & Information Networks is an online journal that presents the review of South Asian libraries. culture. selected and catalogued by area library specialists.universitypunjabi.edu/asx/online_books. This provides a user-friendly.html).wisc.edu/asx/serials. traditional medicine.com/home.uiuc.do l Portal to Asian Internet Resources (PAIR) is a cooperative Project of the Ohio State University Libraries. It has many entries on Indian Cinema. and also International Directory of South Asian .provide a gateway to Indian Digital Libraries in science. Resources are identiûed.dli. and is one of the best sources for finding web based information in South Asian studies.edu/vanpelt/collections/ sasia/webpapers. the University of Minnesota Libraries and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. The catalogue offers an entry point to quality Asian/ South Asian materials that too often are neither easily identiûable nor usable due to the limitations of existing search engines.htm. e-news.html l SALIN .upenn. information networks. l SARAI . music.htm l Serials Web based access to some of the select online journals can be found at: http:// door.gov.org/pages/dlis/salin/ salin. e-journals. l Newspapers There are two popular sites that provides links to all newspapers published in South Asia ht tp: / /door. programs and services http://www.uiuc. movies. evaluated.htm#Online Online Resources and Networks l International Index to Film Periodical: FIAF Index to Film Periodicals is a bibliographical index offering in-depth coverage of the world s foremost academic and popular film journals from 1972 to120 I C A L 2 0 0 9 VISION AND ROLES OF T H E F U T U R E A C A D E M I C L I B R A R I E S the present day.chadwyck. searchable catalogue through which patrons have quick and easy access to high quality web resources originating in Asia. l ibrary. palm leaves and many more.library.edu:3200/PAIR/index.library.htm. and http://oldsite.library. It p r o v i d e s u s e f u l l i n k s t o r e f e r e n c e a n d bibliographical resources. arts. government and media professionals and other audiences (http://webcat.library.
columbia. Bangladesh.edu/b/bas).Bibliography of Asian Studies is on-line version of the Bibliography of Asian Studies that contains records on all subjects. To find more information and search Library: Exhaustive http://www. It provides research support facility for American scholars by providing infrastructures and facilities to enhance research effectiveness and the e x c h a n g e o f s c h o l a r l y i n f o rma t i o n (h t t p : / /dsal.scholars (http://www.nisc.in/index. development) and the institutional structures they endorse (among others. and Sri Lanka. UK and .the Center for South Asian Libraries is an American overseas research center developed to facilitate scholarly research and teaching on South Asia through improved preservation of and a c c e s s t o t h e h e r i t a g e o f I n d i a .edu/cu/lweb/indiv/southasia/cuvl). A Directory of Indian publishers with complete addresses and contact details is also included (http://www. It is a good source for books. our universities and research centres) are clearly in crisis. Bangalore was established in 1996 by a group of scholars interested in developing new approaches to studying culture in India. l AIIEBIP .org/ l Global Resource Guide to Indian Cinema Dr. The main purpose of this study and research will be to identify various printed.ac. The CSCS Library and Media Archive provides facility of b r ows i n g b y Re c o r d Ty p e ( B o o k .html). Union list of current periodicals. Today both the political frameworks of the post-colonial nation-state (democracy. serials and theses databases available in university libraries in India (http://www.the Information and Library Network Centre is the product of University Grants Commission of India. Video CD. especially humanities and social sciences. pertaining to East. Magazines.com/factsheets/qebip. Union list of video recordings. Language and Author.cscsarchive. Report.edu/csal). (http://isidev.umdl. Associate Professor of Library Administration at the University of Illinois. I t i s a c omp i l a t i o n o f a n n o t a t e d bibliographical reference sources on Bollywood (Indian movies). J o u r n a l .nic. and South Asia published worldwide from 1971 to the present (http://ets. l DELNET . Database of periodical articles.inflibnet.the Developing Library Network provides a Union Catalogue of books. USA has received research grant for his project on Developing a Global Resource Guide to Indian Ci n ema .the All India Index to English Books in Print is the first electronic version of Indian Books in Print that lists thousands of books not found in elsewhere.nic.uchicago.umich. Database of Indian specialists. along with their prices. it will be published so that researchers all around the world will have access to current data on the topic.jsp) l CSAL . l Centre for the Study of Culture & Society Database. Southeast. Video VHS). Video DVD. Urdu manuscripts database. P a k i s t a n . Canada. the author has planned visits to a number of institutions and libraries in India. involved in creating infrastructure for sharing information among academic and research institutions. CD-ROM Databases. secularism. unpublished and electronic resources dealing with Indian cinema with special reference to Bollywood. Once this project is completed. Pamphlet. l INFLIBNET .asp). Nepal. Database of theses and dissertations on India (http://delnet. Rajwant Singh Chilana. l BAS .in/ odb.in/). l ISID . Bhutan. Video NTSC.Index to Social Sciences Periodicals is the On-line Index to over one hundred Indian Social Science journals and press clippings files of national English dailies. Due to lack of indexing resources in this area. This interest has been energized by our sense that the social sciences and humanities disciplines as they exist are no longer adequate to the task of engaging seriously with the problems of our time. and conduct an extensive literature survey for compilation of the resource guide.
The British Library in London and the Library of Congress. theses. research papers. c o n f e r e n c e proceedings.d a t e i n f o r m a t i o n a n d c o m p i l e a n international guide that will be used for research by the faculty. Madras. project reports. Calcutta. Washington has excellent collections on Bollywood. efforts have been made in collecting. and electronic resources produced in the field until December 2009 .E M E R G I N G D I M E N S I O N S O F D I G I TA L L I B R A R I E S R A J WA N T S . C H I L A N A 121 As most of the literature on the topic is available in Indian libraries. j o u r n a l a r t i c l e s . and thus will be visited to access various publications for this compilation.t o . annotating and organizing information from various special and university libraries in New Delhi. This work will include monographs. c omp o s i t e wo r k s . Mumbai.USA for the collection of u p . The libraries of National Institute of Films and National Academy of Indian Films have been thoroughly consulted for completion of this research project. Pune and Jaipur. dissertations. students and public.
Popular commercial forms. non. 2001. Making Meaning in Indian Cinema. introduction. and "The Politics of Authenticity: the Case of Modern and Contemporary Visual Arts in India". styles of acting. through what means of representation.1 Nationhood. I thank Tapati Guha Thakurta and Moinak Biswas for their comments. especially those of the commercial mainstream. Delhi. Central here are several different constructions of what composed an authentic art practice and what functions such authentication performed in relation to the requirements of state formation. and practitioners in different strands 1 Earlier versions of this paper were presented to:. externalized forms for the representation of character psychology. for example. narration and musical address in their bid to articulate a contemporary Indian identity in the wake of independence. aesthetic strategies the real would be invoked. a key figure in the selfconscious development of an Indian art cinema ostensibly separated out from other film traditions and practices. Department of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. 2 See.or intermittently continuous forms of . and across art institutions. Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. that of the work of Satyajit Ray. quite crucially. 20002 of the cinema believed it to be critical to any purposive engagement with nation-state building projects. National Film Seminar on `Satyajit Ray and the legacy of realism . Delhi This paper will look at one dimension of the institution of the cinema in postindependence India. Jadavpur University.studio shooting. however denigrated in governmental practices and hierarchies of taste. except to highlight the particular criticisms that an artistic intelligentsia made of the mainstream. March 2000. indeed the truth of Indian reality. Paris. 3 The differences appear to emerge from evaluating the status of the narrative form through which the real would be articulated. in terms of the imagining of the publics that art works and commercial cultural products would seek to bring into being. Arguably. also demonstrated certain affiliations with earlier traditions of representation. in Ravi Vasudevan edited. Issues of authenticity in the constitution of a post-colonial politics and culture take on different resonances as we move through different domains within the cinematic institution. melodramatic. Central here was the argument that popular commercial films had failed to develop realist protocols that would adequately capture social reality. Authenticity and Realism in Indian cinema: the double take of modernism in the work of Satyajit Ray1 Ravi Vasudevan Sarai. 2 This is not the occasion to reflect on the complexities of this domain. this was the dominant discourse of the 1950s. February 7-9. Here the popular compendium . in response to wider processes of modernization and.
the question of realism was only one of the issues at stake. New Delhi. Their Films. and qualified it and shifted it to a middle class sense of conscience and destiny that was intimately tied to the project of modern nationhood.cutting. 4 However. Kapur suggests that the three lynchpins of this anti-colonial discourse were an aristocratic folk paradigm emerging from the romanticism of Tagore and the Santiniketan artists. Vasudevan. 5 To do this his films bridged the chasm between civilizational identity and modernity. In contrast to the long and problematic history of colonial modernity. showing it to be necessarily and irreducibly split in the forms of subjectivity it gave rise to. and its middle class vehicle. in R. I want to suggest that he was involved in a rather more complicated dialogue with the modern. in which modernity was seen as an imposition and dissembling strategies had to be evolved which would contest the modern even while deploying modern apparatuses and procedures. As historians and theorists of modern Indian art have argued. and the horrendous social and political bloodletting of Partition. Making Meaning 4 Satyajit Ray. the canonical. In a sense this is the condition of modernity. but in ways which his critics have 3 Ravi Vasudevan. performance sequences . for they undermined plausibility and a desirable regime of verisimilitude. diversionary story lines. When was modernism. `Introduction' 5 Geeta Kapur. by showing it as emerging from out of previous aesthetic traditions. and authentication lies . 6 Rather than see Ray playing out a `destinal' narrative that provides for a redemptive and authenticating identification with modernity for the protagonist. `Sovereign subject: Ray's Apu' in Geeta Kapur. what was always at issue was the drive to uncover differences from western canons of aesthetics which. Our Films. Earlier debates from the colonial period sought to argue that Indian art traditions were differently constituted. Delhi. craft oriented aesthetic of Coomaraswamy and the artisanal base of Gandhian ideology. Orient Longman. oriented to a certain iconographic and decorative character. It is Kapur's argument that Ray combined the influence of the Santiniketan tradition with other modern traditions in the novel and cinema. 1976.was not acceptable within the emergent artistic canon. dissolving identities: the Hindi social film of the 1950s as popular culture'. `Shifting codes. Ray worked out a strategy which would authenticate the modern. in the modern period. were heavily determined by arguments for realism. Tulika. 20003 faulted for glossing over the traumatic and concrete history defined by peasant immiseration.
framing them within a larger narrative discourse. one perhaps quite distinct from popular film genres but. often immersed in 6 Ashish Rajadhyaksa. nos. Finally. beyond this. I should stress that this is not a criticism but rather an acknowledgement of skills of observation . and laying claim. Of course. but also as an intervention in the category of genre. And with this difficulty there comes a distinct politics. like them. I will surmise that we cannot fully attend to Ray s oeuvre without at the same time seeing it as having to deal with the formal energies arraigned at its boundaries. Ray's grappling with the emergence of the present can be seen as engagement with a Bengali public's massive investments in the history of literary form. to the ability to bring it into view. Some of the following argument analyses this modernist double-take through discussions of realist strategies. `Satyajit Ray. Often. which traditions need to be drawn upon and how these should be reframed and new questions asked of them. In the process the other . Journal of Arts and Ideas. sharp practice and pimping . on behalf of modernity. In particular. In a word. that body of caricatural representation available through bazaar productions in which respectable society is cast in bizarre and irreverent light. but in determinedly seeking out the repressed dimensions of that former self. as these were the dominant terms on which postindependence discourses of the cinema developed. high art forms can draw upon such energies through quotation. art cinema is not subject to categorizations along these lines. how these often unrealized pasts could re-frame and re-animate the present. at issue here is what these energies are aligned to within the dominant perspectives of the narrative world. my suggestion here is that there is an active working over of the category of genre in Ray s practice. The force of this particular modernist move lies in the bid not only to find a form that can articulate this splitting and hold on to both parts. persuading the spectator of the connections.the immoral world of seedy deals. of finding the images and sounds and narratives to articulate the present into perception. and. of present being with past selves. In the last section of this essay.in the articulation of a split position which constantly gestures to some antecedent self that has been displaced and is in danger of entirely disappearing from consciousness. the move towards the present through the constitution of the social as a genre of contemporary experience. I want to see how realist form achieved a surfacing of the present in ways which could speak to the double-take of modernity. I will look at Jana Aranya to suggest how there is a waning of conviction in Ray's work. submerged and phantom-like. Ray-movie and Ray's films'. one of defining how the present is to be negotiated into existence.23-24. This particular intervention suggests connections with the development of a wider genre formation within the cinematic institution of the time. 4 the difficulties of finding a route. an incapacity to generate a plausible protagonist and provide a perspective. Locating these discourses within a problematic of authentication. I will pay attention here to both the potentially repressive and expressive dimensions of Ray's realist strategies. I will call upon the register of the popular as specifically worked out within Bengali culture.riotously overruns the diegetic world. However. There is also the possibility that such a dominant narrative frame does not successfully contain these energies. however disrupted. the difficulties are those of imagining the present as a distinct moment separated from previous times and generically coded imaginaries. as if the field inhabits a transcendent location vis a vis the mundane play of similarity and difference through which popular industrial products are fabricated and publicized to an audience.
grammar. Its form and its thematics invite the spectator to assume modern perceptual practices that can objectify and distance her from the `traditional' and the `feudal'. syntax. Insofar as social subjectivity is much more complex in terms of the meshing of the social forms that it 7 . and is therefore suggestive. This `failure' of the film may be read as the failure of a form whose historical moment has passed. A realist art cinema is then part of a culture of civil society which in practice is the preserve of a small segment of society quite at a remove from the wider weave of social and political subjectivity... These comprise the understanding that realist cinema addresses. in other words. this non-perception corresponds to a reading which "sees" neither the edges of the frame nor the changes of shot . The result is a shift in the terms of authentication away from the privileged middle-class recipient of Ray's imagination. only to find that these powers exceed those of narrative integration and moral calibration. in which a superior or meta-narrative level uses quotation marks to render different levels of object language within the diegetic world. 8 In the context of Indian film studies. and then hierarchizes these to produce an understanding of what is true.. indeed seeks to constitute a modern spectator invested in the cognitive practice of individualised perception central to the development of a civil society of freely associating individuals.. on the "invisibility" of the material articulations sustaining this discourse . where it has been aligned with the development of a culture of modernity with certain political ramifications. as if the story were telling itself rather than being recounted. the classical realist text has been given a particular inflection. In the cinema.to let the identity of things shine through the window of words.. as the meta-narrative level does not reveal itself to the reader-spectator. underlies the credibility both of the traditional novel and of the cinema which had adopted the same specifications. 19935 Realism: definitions and practices A particularly influential way of talking about realism has been in terms of the classical realist text. and the perceptual form of words and symbols. regarded as certain material expressions which express certain meanings. simply as caesura. In terms of film form. the metalanguage is not regarded as material.the two materialities which in fact tend to challenge the illusion of continuity that. classical realism is associated with that apparently seamless mode of filmic storytelling practices described by Noel Burch: :The reader's relationship with the traditional novelistic discourse is based on nonperception.and powers of capturing that which is alien and anecdotal to you.' 7 This form of narration has been called an excessively obvious one. `Unlike the other languages placed between inverted commas.. as an insurmountable chasm in narrative cognition that allows other knowledges to surface into view and command our attention. it is dematerialised to achieve perfect representation .
I would first like to consider the way in which the trilogy undertakes some of the work of symbolization and historical distantiation which I take to be important to Ray's intervention in the cinema. in this case a tale of the seamless emergence of a nationalist modernity from the weave of civilisational particularity. especially the trilogy: the focus on individual perception. Screen. It would be interesting to see whether Prasad would apply this argument to Ray as well. supported by Sate institutions such as the National Film Development Corporation. It would also conform to the argument that Ray's camera seeks to conquer or subordinate reality for the requirements of ideological stability. Martin Secker and Warburg. for instance. I want to identify a certain dynamic in the way this distance emerges within a naturalistically calibrated representation. 10 What is suggestive to me is not only that this naturalism is subjected to disruption within Ray's work. see my review of his book in Journal of the Moving Image No. genre and a history of the present On the surface. invisible style of narration which does not draw attention to itself. Ideology of the Hindi film. the carefully calibrated. acquires a level of formal equipoise. Cinema: a critical Dictionary. 1998. 1980. 1. vol 15. 1974 8 Noel Burch. 10 . The train sequence: economies of representation 9 Madhava Prasad.Colin MacCabe. p. but that its very form undergoes different articulations through the trilogy. no. in that the way this mode of representation is developed in Pather Panchali. For a critical appraisal of Prasad s argument.5846 institutes. Department of Film Studies Jadavpur University. 9 Ray s films: perception. Prasad makes this argument in relationship to the parallel cinema of the 1970s. However. Delhi. Oxford Unversity Press. `The classical realist text'. Autumn 1999. the foregrounding of stylistic elements signal a process of irruption that drives a wedge between the contemporary and the force of unresolved pasts. The modernism of the trilogy In addressing these issues. In particular. much of this seems to resonate with Ray's work. a concern with balance and pace that is very different from that concrete duration of time extolled by Bazin for the neo-realists. in Richard Roud edited. Calcutta. 2. I use the term advisedly. volume II. `Fritz Lang'. I will argue that the modernist dimensions of Ray s work disturb any such straightforward organisation of narrative material and spectatorial perspective. the emphasis on modern destinies that finally transcend previous states. then this too functions as a repressive frame within which the citizen spectator is situated.
where Durga is framed as continuous with nature. Central here is the opposition between Durga and Apu. The sequence relating to Apu's sighting of the train is in fact inaugurated by this multiple sense of time. into a completely different register. 11 If this past/future temporality provides one axis of the film's narrative. and an entirely new one for the film. In the history of Sarbajaya and her struggle for familial survival we are certainly not presented with anything like the histories of conflict which characterised the Bengal countryside. The movement of the children is woven out of these different logics. a spatial strategy presenting new figure-ground relations to induct the movement of the train. and of history. with a view of Sarbajaya.See especially in Andre Bazin. Oxford 8 viewer attention on character perspectives and emotions rather than on what frames them. edited and translated by Hugh Gray. volume II7 I have argued elsewhere that Pather Panchali (1955) undertakes a transformation of symbolic economy. Indir. day unravelling into evening and night and into the next morning. However. and highly formal in terms of its attention to framing. inward and conflicted in her relationship to the grandaunt. even if the film uses a narrative structure with very different emphases. inanimate. governed by the instincts. Durga's fascination with a past plenitude is the attribute of a doomed entity. drawing the viewer into a new economy of perception. whom she has had to expel from the household for reasons of family survival. one aiming to communicate a sense of the relentless cycle imposed by the rigours of scarcity on recently impoverished lives. one that works through the . The naturalism that has governed it so far has been a carefully calibrated one. Its formalism is at a remove from the contingencies of neo-realist time. University of Califronia Press. into the frame. Kapur has noted of the train sequence that it provides for a seamless sense of the emergence of time within the landscape of Shantiniketan painterly modes. `Dislocations: the cinematic imagining of a new society in 1950s India'. this is a dissembling naturalism. then another is that of the gruelling present. Here we may discern the significance of classical narration for the form of the film. I would suggest that there is an emphatic disjointment exercised at the level of representation. and associated with an immersion in resources (an orchard formerly owned by the declining Brahmin family) and desires that are foreclosed to her. what we witness is likely to evoke this traumatic moment for a Bengali audience of the 1950s. whose high investment in formal equipoise is displaced by the concentration of 11 Ravi Vasudevan. What is Cinema. However. perspective and the simulation of a naturalist continuity. dwarfing nature where she will find her final resting place. charting changes in the forms of attachment and temporality represented by the different characters in the story. Indir leaves the Ray house. Berkeley. while Apu is symbolically placed to escape the desires that snare his sister. Neither does the film seek to capture the politically induced scarcity that erupted in the catastrophe of the Bengal famine of 1943. 12 In contrast. and there is a strong sense of images corresponding to the descriptive procedures of a literary naturalist mode. into an encompassing. caught in the disposition of the mother Sarbajaya. of present time and the cyclical one of death.
now radically other from that of Apu and Durga. If the spectator has already been invited to enter a different. organic narration of origins. Not only does the art cinema emerge independently of the state in this initial phase . also puts a question mark over the formulation that the modernist art of this period functioned in uncomplicated ways to fulfil the images required of the state in its tale of origins. Ray resorts to a rare discontinuity. This. Interestingly. moving ahead of Apu. and in the process are alerted to the phenomenology of the moving camera at the very moment the character becomes aware of the moving train. swings to catch Apu moving towards the railway line. This double articulation of the perceptual registering of modern machinic energies for character and spectator is not. I believe. as. graphic realm of perception. it is through the realm of the instincts and senses. before the film goes back to the cadences of its naturalist mode. The moment of dislocation is developed into a full jettisoning of the spectator's view from the framed character.although in the case of . that Ray draws us into this new field of perception. our dislocation is not only that of spatial disjointment. however. as if the nation can aesthetically inscribe an uninterrupted narrative of itself. When Apu asks Durga for an explanation of the mysterious sense impressions which course around. For it is through Durga that the spectator is routed into new sense perceptions. almost mystically. to listen. Our look here is precipitately dislocated from the smooth flow of character Literary Review. This instinctual. The billowing cloud of smoke that emerges on the horizon releases the children into movement. And. she registers strange vibrations and sounds. Our position. The character is abstracted and made graphic along with the thing he watches. We are denied the function of virtual looking that tracks the characters. entirely going against the tonality of anything in the film. in doing this. merely a clever and ironic reflection on the impinging of two different forms and moments in the history of modernity. and come to be entirely split from the character. For we briefly lose our object. although it is that as well. The deployment of a modernist cinematic stylistics itself marks the passage from the literary naturalist mode Ray invokes. volume 16. one contrasted to the realm of verbalized language. The stylistics points to the articulation of the here and now. as marked off from the seamless flow of previous time. she merely gestures him to silence. where the choice of frame is justified by the presence of character. high key effects rendering the kash fields in which the children move as a graphical field defined by the textures of light. but from the other side of the tracks. and in the process enforces a temporal distance.thematics of history not as a seamless emergence but as a rupturing and a positing of a new and distancing perspective. we could say that the imaginary domain which offers a play of recognition and identification to the spectator within classical realist strategies has here given way to revealing the symbolic register through which the imaginary is constructed. as the camera captures the moment of the train's impinging on little Apu not from his perspective. As if needing to work disruptive effects of the sensation into filmic structures. to go through again. the frame itself is shot through with a de-naturalizing impulse. Durga slipping awkwardly to fatally fall behind. sensate space is one that cannot admit of verbal enunciation. capturing the tremor of modernity as it is relayed in the tactile form of a quivering telegraph pole. In terms of a psychoanalytical register. and the whole is offered up for a view from outside. but a temporal one. highlights the moment and the space as symbolically charged. there is now a foregrounding of our looking. as a swish pan. And then. The compulsion to repeat. 19959 focalized narration. a temporal gap intruding in the abrupt cut that shows Apu entering the space around the telegraph pole after Durga has left it. it also alerts us to the fact that what we are bearing witness to is not a seamless. But in this moment. is only fleetingly registered.
Ruptured from the flow of narrative. But what is remarkable is not only the deflating function of this moment of dis-enchantment. a situation of impending lack.Pather Panchali the West Bengal government comes in at a later stage . The journey has been precipitated by two developments. and there looms up Sarabajaya's status as widow in a city which ritually incarnates the renunciatory status of the woman who has lost her husband. Presentiments of this subordinate and marginalised position leads to a moment of introspection and a jolting cut to the train crossing the Ganga and back to countryside. the camera is . rather than Nischindipur. The return. Apu has just been on the train. at the point that Sarbajaya and Apu are offered a position of service within a well to do Bengali household. but also the production of a moment of pathos.it also appears to set its face against a position of organic identity for its spectator. the spectator occupies the emergent terrain of the present. as if her absence is inscribed into the space of vision now. For the time that has elapsed in between. we have been provided intimations of the vulnerable status of Sarbajaya in the tenement. where a structure of mundane spectatorship has entered into the experience of the character. With Harihar's death these presentiments are reprised. During the initial sojourn of the family in Benaras. invited to look at the fictive world and its literary origins from a distance induced by a self-conscious cinematic stylistics. Ray's achievement here. dragging it down. can never be recovered (neither can the space. his face drains of animation. In a remarkable passage. from its original location. Sarbajaya and Apu come to Mansapota. Let us return to the train. it is no longer a mysterious and wondrous object heralding new experiences. For what is built into the moment is a secret sharing and exchange of spectatorial positions. but part of a spiral that feeds back into cycles of re-enchantment and loss. in anticipation of the sight he is about to see. This is in no way a terminal moment of disenchantment. her inability to achieve the vision Apu attained. He calls excitedly to his mother. Apu enters the house of an aged relative of the family. is precipitated very abruptly. So Aparajito follows on from the first film in its opening out of vision and experience for its protagonist. if Apu has in a sense assumed the symbolic position we were fleetingly offered in Pather Panchali. This is charted by the leitmotif of the observational camera in Aparajito. But at the moment of the sighting. The journey back has something of the status. however. Attractively. however. is here reiterated with deadening effect. without taking recourse to flashback. and runs to the doorway on hearing the sound of the train in the distance. then we are provided the one he had occupied. `Sovereign subject'10 The significance of a position of externality and distance is highlighted by the progressive induction of distanced spectatorial attributes in the character of Apu. of a visit rather than a return. honours our capacity to read the image. making 11 it go quiet and look inwards. layer it over previous images in order to register the internalized lineaments of loss built into the transformation of horizons. although Sarbojaya hopes that they can ultimately return to their home village). 12 Kapur. It is as if the mother has forsaken the subordinated security offered her to start the story again. Of course. Durga's fatal fall. this time as it carries Sarbajaya and Apu back to the countryside in Aparajito (1957). in a move to neutralise the losses that have arisen in between. spelling things out for us. as she wards off the intrusiveness of a male neighbour. carrying with it the heavy burden of loss.
indicating a social commitment that is also a mark of the work s context.12 over a number of films. Ray conveys not only a passage within the protagonist. can never be fulfilled. The last is a superbly realized segment. finally. The son of course knows this desire. It should be stressed that this has nothing to do with arrogance. is the space Apu comes into and leaves. The narrative cannily draws upon the fact that Apu has been engaged in the very same labour in the past. to find that he is considered too qualified for teaching jobs or unable to cast himself in the role of routinized and deadening work. but as governed by an asymmetry of desire. expanding world. Here. What is striking about the last film in the trilogy is the way it appears to change track. In Apur Sensar (1959). to recover her son. but a nurturing and cultivation of memory against the depredations of modern processes and subjectivities. he appears perfectly indifferent. In an extended sequence the adult Apu looks for a job. as with the case of Durga. 13 In contrast to the somewhat flexibly structured sequences concerning Apu s expanding world. especially of alienated viewing. it is perhaps significant that Ray adopts a quite different mode of framing to evoke the position of the mother and the space of the countryside. adorned by a overarching tree.employed with a less rigorous attention to frame and duration than marked Pather Panchali. The frame functions in the fashion of a mise en abyme. Apu looking into the type-setter s room. and which his mother looks to for signs of her son s arrival. we have a recurrence of several motifs. is something to be drawn out 13 The influence of Renoir is often noted for Ray. and confronting the protagonist with a terminal scenario of renunciation. The distinct stylistics of this evocation. Driven by the desire to write. signalling at once distance and separation along with the imperative of remembering. through its absence. as Apu returns to this space to find that its occupant can never be regained. at the level of material wants. Ray s usage of this space as counterpoint to Apu s evolving. to facilitate his education. a structurally precise and recurrently deployed unit of aesthetic composition. especially in such films as Toni (1934) and Rules of The Game (1939). more rambling effect. a scene wonderfully dense in its evocation of humdrum labour. of a bank curving around a large pond. to his penurious condition. carried as he is by a different momentum and temporality. Here. in a very distinctive way. but on terms distinctive to . but now modelled on a separation from the here and now rather than the past. it is significant that Apu has refused to take a job that would have infringed the norms of a strike. conjures up a certain irreducibility of time. functions not so much as a counterpoint of stasis/movement. And. gaining a less cadenced. This space. While the earlier films always sought to capture different temporalities. where the mother s desire. The full logic of the modernist method Ray uses. but he is helpless to respond to it. but it is only in Aparajito that he evokes that director's more open. searching relationship to bodies in space. the film evokes a moment. abandoning this particular double movement of enchantment and loss. the returning of the protagonist to the moment of earlier being from which he is now forever severed. Apur Sensar constitutes a bid to be of the present.
for it has to be invented in the here and now. I would suggest that this is the realm of the present. for it lacks the experience of romantic engagement in the writer's life. is what Geeta Kapur refers to as the trilogy's transcendance of the realm of necessity. But these references are developed only to be refigured. is clearly autobiographical in content. In a set of remarkable sequences.and Apu's location as object of desire is associated with a Krishna symbolism which is then disavowed. almost immediately there arrives Pulu. takes out his flute and lies down on the bed. This is the first time a distinct erotic play has emerged in the trilogy . But. the desire of the subject to write himself into significance. and enjoy a visit to his family home in the country where Aparna is to be wed. The romanticism of the countryside. such as Durga in Pather Panchali. the mother refuses for the marriage to take place. and carefully uses his flute to push the window shut. that of the conjugal dwelling. Apu cannot at first believe what is being asked of him. recedes from view. as the place for a different order of desire . Kapur has pointed out that in Ray's 13 bid to develop a secular aesthetic. and `decoded' them. For this is the estate of a well to do landed family. Apu lacks a social frame. Ray works through iconographic elements to constitute an intimate space for modernity. as opposed to the realm of necessity or of freedom. but after reflection accepts his friend's plea. He lies at the margins of the reality which surrounds him. rendering them into ordinary characters. we see the woman withdrawing. he again draws out his flute. Pulu invites Apu to take a holiday. For. who will prove to be the narrative agent who so fortuitously leads Apu to his future bride. his cousin Aparna. As he starts playing. Here he adorns Apu with a flute to draw on the mythic figure of Krishna. though one very different from the impoverished hamlets of Nischindipur and Mansopotar of the first two films. of course. What . The first of these follows on from Apu's return from the job hunt. even if this is a self-willed distance. Encapsulated here. as Apu lolls on a hillock above the bustling activities of marriage preparation.excepting. suddenly aware of the woman's look. When it is discovered that Aparna's betrothed is mentally impaired. Apu. the writing is incomplete. when Aparna's mother first meets Apu. he has to carve it out. in a sense.the hero s desires. The use of the iconographic instrument not to solicit desire but indeed to ward it off suggest the issues at stake. and the enterprise is conducted within the discretion of a space. the space is being prepared for the arrival of the beloved. but who nevertheless lives life to the full. stems from the rapturous invocation of another world which only the urban imaginary can invoke with such pleasure. the shadowed figure of a woman emerges at the window across the tenement. As he does so. Pulu appeals to Apu to step into the breach and save his cousin. against the background of the preceding observation of dulling work routines and the setting of the criss-cross of rail tracks. In a sense. We have here the imagination leading back to the idyllic space outside the city. It deals with a character who is ordinary. His novel. with Apu reciting poetry as he gracefully lounges on the boat that carries them across the lake to the house. the sensuality of Durga in the first film . It is here that the film undertakes a substantial task. whose themes he relates to childhood friend Pulu in their walk over the rail tracks that lead to his rooms. privatized space of the conjugal couple rather than a more diffuse order of desire. she likens him to Krishna. lacks adequate experience. and indeed.14 which would leave Aparna unmarriageable if the ceremonies are not completed within the specified time. stops playing. as if accepting the prohibition on her look. as Pulu points out. specifically his erotic resonance.the symbolic. whose everyday life is a struggle. and. Involved here is. Later. he took characters whose names carried mythic resonances. pre-eminently. He enters his room. a working with and containment of iconographic resources. To make the present real to him. Ray here transforms iconic functions to displace attention onto the space itself.
It is suffused with warmth and compassion without any awareness of the old worldly values it is internalising. privatized romance..is ironic about this entire chain of events is the implausibility of what takes place. but also a social transformation. through the previous scenes and the iconographic evocation and containment of mythic functions for Apu. Apu's acceptance of Aparna withdraws her from an order whose (extreme and contingent) sign is the compulsion to marry within appropriate social rank even at the cost of personal ruin. The director is at one with his characters. here it provides a decisive way of rending his agency in the present. reaching out into the heart of the traditional realities through them. Equally important is the fact that Aparna can actually fit into Apu's newly constituted space despite its penury. or should happen. suggesting that there is something . 14 Evidently. The symbolic structures here seem to posit an imperative.. This making present of an ideal form is transient. conjugal marriage. and Ray is extolled here for identifying with and capturing `traditional Indian realities . Is the narrative form Ray explores taking an obsessive shape. p4515 characters away from the symbolism of earlier mythic forms and contemporary`traditional realities . seeing them as part of the great. If in the earlier films the death finally severed the protagonist from the past. although the entire relationship between Apu and Aparna from its arrangement. but the stretching of the plausibility function. that of not only generating an adequate semiotics of secularized. the function can be clearly and specifically delimited. why have these been chosen over others. 1983. Apur Sensar . where the space generated for Apu can posit the possibility of dissolving other social ties of a hierarchical order. in the context of Apur Sensar. and it is only a catastrophe that could explain the match. timeless process of life'. but the question is. The point is missed by pondering whether such things happen.has been explained by certain critics as a sociologically observable phenomenon. A man from poor background would normally never be acceptable for the daughter of a well to do family. The narrative clearly transcends any plausibility criteria here. normally so important for a realist narration. is informed by a deeply. then reality ended it (death in childbirth was a common fate of women in those days) and grief had to give way before duty. through the romance after marriage to the death of Aparna in childbirth . these events could have happened. don t happen. and clarify its ultimate symbolic trajectory. The Cinema of Satyajit Ray. his will to generate new forms within the contemporary. There has been a build up. Chidananda Das Gupta. whose ultimate goal is the constitution of a companionate. Yet another defining loss found on the death of a woman. For the moment. something to be explored in rather different terms in Devi(1960) and Charulata (1964)? I will suggest that it is. into an image for a new society.. and can provide the companionship of Apu's romantic idyll. a direction that may help us place the ramifications of the trilogy more clearly.. Delhi. and is abruptly brought to a close with Aparna s death in childbirth. This the narrative offers. suggests that something symbolically charged is at work. and what symbolic purpose do they serve? I would argue that what is at stake is a weaning of the central 14 `Fate had brought together a perfect idyll of happiness. freshly felt Indianness going back to the archetypes of tradition in a kind of personal discovery.
16 Iconically. a space that had provided a romanticized retreat for the city-dweller now acquires the aura of a haunted house. Apur Sensar suggests a bid for telos. Having deferred its realization. here a mining enterprise. The little boy Kajol suggests the dissonances at work. his inscription of ideal form into the present. doomed to provide only an unhappy habitation. lacks a sense of possibility. This is the scenario of the father-daughter relationship. an unhappy present. the landed estate where Apu married Aparna. a ghostly form now enveloped in the past. and then sought to be made over into an embodied form in Apur Sensar. coffee houses. 15 Apu renounces his son. Chhabi Biswas's envisioning of his daughter-in-law. played once again by Sharmila Tagore. at the point of arrival. with their emphasis on traditional spaces and beckoning futures.he who had been prepared to sacrifice his daughter into a disastrous marriage to uphold traditional norms . unwilling repository of authority at the conclusion of the Apu trilogy should emerge. it produces an image of the contemporary. an unravelling of past desires within the armature of the present. The unfinished agenda of history This present is then the place of historical perspective. now emerges as a hollow form. and retreats into nature to dissolve himself into labour. But. through which all previous representations can be made sense of. he has no place in the dying space. and can only project itself forward in time. contiguous railway lines and everyday bustle. Kajal and the world. It is as if this is the symbolic register. in two significant films of 1960 and 1964. The space Apu returns to. carries him away into an unspecified future. reiterating the caesura of the present by seeking to understand the logic of irresolution.a paterfamilias increasingly unwilling to shoulder the burden of looking after his daughter's unruly son. Everyone seems to have died or left. doomed to inhabit an unhappy consciousness. In contrast to the earlier films. Ray turns back once again into formal history. With its tramways. clothed in shorts and a t-shirt. The space is suggestive of expressionistic tonalities that will surface with a rather different symbolic weight in the following year in Devi. to draw upon Sudipta Kaviraj s evocative phrase. depleted of human presence. nevertheless has to be returned to. I only want to refer to Devi to draw attention to a significant continuity with the formal structures and symbolic hurdles deployed by Apur Sensar. and urges him to accept responsibility for his son. animated space. and must give way before unspecifiable futures. Pulu seeks Apu out. fleetingly registered by Apu in Aparajito.fatalistically conceived about the possibilities of a plenitude in the present. and flaunting a brash and irreverent disposition. The renunciation is symbolically sealed with Apu's casting to the winds of the pages of his manuscript. and the enveloping. in the . The modernity enterprise is. as overwhelming power just a year later in Devi. It is foundationally governed by a sense of unresolved pasts and a lack of present certitudes. the place of narrative authorization. the present slips. full blown. vanquished in his bid to manufacture his own time. where they were destined to arrive. to understand why the present cannot emerge into view and through the conviction of embodied being. The present. and the father. shrouded entity of the feudal household. that symbolic register of temporal distance outlined across the railtracks in Pather Panchali. once a teeming. All that is left is the taciturn grandfather . Before our eyes. but as a time which can never be settled. a bhuth bangla. with his startlingly contemporary look. It is remarkable that what we see as a cantankerous.
For the opening images of the film conjure up not only the obsessions of feudal authority. and. in which the woman is rendered a figure who does not know herself. The Unhappy Consciousness: Bankimchandra Chatterjee and the formation of nationalist discourse in India.role of the goddess. in Ray's first directly political film. Here the loss of the woman comes across as the product of specific relations of domination and subordination. nurtured and cultivated. but in this case it is not so much an issue of the necessity of remembering that which you no longer are. a bringing of the past back into perspective to capture the insidious logic of its hold. This project leaves a somewhat constrained imprint on this work. 199517 persistent power. This critique of not only older forms but of the way popular perception has been subservient to them is. but of popular fascination with the Kali image. is pitted against another. Devi essays a dark mesmerism to immerse the contemporary spectator. that subject to the sway of feudal authority and superstitious belief. One trajectory we have tracked lies in the fashioning of a narrative form which. who has submitted to the desires of the other. but of confrontation with a past which will not allow you escape. as if the particular method it employs to negotiate 18 the thickets of history to understand the impasse of the contemporary has limited the possibilities of perception. As opposed to the succession of enchantments that have defined the narrative trajectory of Apu s opening world. With Devi there is a return to the past as inescapable locus of the present. In this sense the film draws on a widely influential cultural artefact to interrogate a deeper anxiety about popular perceptions. they exercise an encompassing and erotic regime. In its opening passage the image is rendered in the manner of iconic form whose increasingly shorter distance from the camera suggests a hypnotic interiorising of the image for the spectator. older form. Significant here is not only the opposition of rationalism to dark and irrational imaginings. not only their authoritative embodiment in the figure of power. In all these films the city and modern experience is constituted through a male protagonist. but as a place of nightmares and cloistered space. the slipping away of the present from the grasp of subjectivity. there is a turning back. of course. quite foundational to an art cinema involved in cultivating a rationalist sensibility in the spectator. Delhi. Here. and therefore revisits the terrain of the 19 Th century reform movement. is of course framed as a critique of superstition. In Apur Sensar past forms are bereft of authority. One should point to the ambiguity that surrounds the source of this anxiety. in Apur Sensar. Kapur's insightful analysis turns on the way the plebeian . through the death of women characters re-iterates the significance of the past. registering that the moment of arrival has fatally slipped. the failure of the present to come into view derives from the way the power of unresolved pasts has crystallized as the unconscious of the contemporary. harking to a pre-modern phase of devotional culture. not as something to be remembered. It is as if. while in Devi. Oxford University Press. Something of the nature of the impasse is suggested in the way one form of the popular. There is a strange and asymmetric mirroring of past forms of power in the two films. but also the delineation of a field of 15 Sudipta Kaviraj. which is not memory but insidious presence.
16 Geeta Kapur. particularly the transposition of these legacies into the domain of modern popular visual culture. even if. concepts of the traditional had been reshaped in terms of . The narration then goes on to enframe this seductive. this inner domain would shore up nationalist identity against the inevitable adjustments to modernity of social. and is therefore an overtly political statement in Ray s early work. Whatever the travails encountered by men in the outer world of colonial disempowerment. 16 If Devi writes the unfinished agenda of history as the unconscious of the contemporary.When was modernism19 Charulata Partha Chatterjee has argued how the emerging nationalist discourse of the late nineteenth century fashioned an inner world secured against the inroads of colonial modernity. This is surely one of the fields Ray gestures to in the opening passage of the film. the extraordinary film which marks the end of a certain phase of Ray's engagement with the past. the film fails to develop a more complex and generous account of the legacies to which the contemporary is heir. *** The zoom is a remarkable invention . images and the popular energies they channel. finding resources to articulate a voice for a hitherto inarticulate subjectivity. political and intellectual attitudes. reinscribes the popular in such a way as to forge not a distance but an alliance with it for modernism. puts quotation marks around it. 17 Feminist scholarship has argued that the home in fact functioned in the 1870s and 1880s as the place where the difficulties faced by the middle-class male in an unequal and racist public life were compensated.not just as a time-saving substitute for tracking.recipient of the fateful miracle. in which the image of Kali is presented with mesmerizing. and constructs a critical distance to the compendium of power and popular superstition that support its influence. Charulata. In this film the director's obsessive return to the subordinated place of women in discourses of history and modernity in the early work lays bare a certain logic of aesthetic inquiry. as in many other domains of colonial experience. it may do so in such a way as to foreclose on a certain dynamic way of thinking through the power of myths. the poor man whose ailing child has been healed by Dayamoyi. `Revelation and doubt: Sant Tukaram and Devi' in Kapur. non-rational form and its audience. In contast. This space of tradition was the realm over which he could reign supreme. returns to invoke Ramprasad's keertan and turns a pitiful gaze on the entrapped girl-goddess. As a result. hallucinatory effect. but in its own right for its power of varying the emphasis.
`Nationalism and the woman's question'. on the interior. Nevertheless. And it is here. The film also appears to develop a somewhat affectionate critique of the rather timeless ruminations and metaphorical relationship to life embodied in the brother-in-law Amal's poetry. and women had to shoulder the burden of representing a traditional identity protected from the inroads of a hierarchical colonial culture. zooms and an assertion of the symbolic functions of the frame and the scene as spatial orders. but recalls and reiterates perspectives. In the justly famous opening sequence. he mobilizes the popular in alliance with the distancing. Ray himself draws on the lineage of the caricaturalist Sukumar. Charulata draws on the reformist tradition to critique it from within. and Monihara exhibits Ray's engagement with popular genres such as the ghost story. `Hindu wife and Hindu nation: gender. The veranda running along the house's first floor is . but. such as those represented in Tagore's story. one who embraces western ideas and is focused on England as the birthplace of progressive values and drives to liberty. Oxford University Press. 1989 20 does not so much generate new perspectives on it. as in the case of the transformation of Santiniketan practices. and on the creative possibilities of speaking to the cultural resources of the village past. while distancing itself from these male characters. Over the previous films. which existed at the time. Kali For Women. This 17 Partha Chatterjee. as it were. I think. and subsequently in Mahapurush. 1994 18 Tanika Sarkar. is one of constructing a modernist perspective on earlier practices and representations by carving out a distinctive niche for the spectator through the cinematic frame. religion and the pre-history of Indian nationalism Delhi. But this home was a space subject to repression.modern codes. Recasting women: essays in colonial history. for this work. scrutinizing intent of a modernist style. 2001. with Ray taking recourse to elaborate travelling shots. 18 In the character of Charu's husband Bhupati. in Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid edtied. Bhupati's indifference to cultural practices. The film subjects this view to a critique. in this case those of house management and child rearing. but in Charulata it would appear that in the crucial opening sequence of the film. Ray's intervention is not simply one of transposition and reiteration. his father. The nation and its fragments: colonial and post-colonial histories. suggesting that Bhupati's liberalism depends on his wealth. Charulata focuses on a character who precedes this understanding of nationalist politics. Delhi. In the film's portraiture of Charu. Permanent Black. we are alert to a highly self-conscious deployment of the camera. we observe the way in which the popular emerges in distinct comic fashion in films such as Parash Pathar. this energy is centred on memory. also Partha Chatterjee. deprives him of an understanding of the sources of energy in his wife. that a new articulation of modernist and popular practices comes together. especially here poetry and novels. Delhi. and there is something ironic about the way a celebration of political victory for the English liberals is presented within the format of a musical evening modelled on the patronal traditions of the landed elite and urban gentry.
This is about reaching into oneself. more valid.recurrently used to define relations between people. is the type of figure favoured by the comic imagination of bazaar art and satirical humour. in Pather Panchali. whimsically renders the world of everyday street life as a spectacle remote21 from the subject's experience. At one level. We may recall earlier scenes. and to catch the aural rythms of the vendor. than the world of the political public are reawakened. is the mobilization of the popular into the perspective. Of course. across the landing. But this is not merely 19 Tapati Guha Thakurta and Moinak Biswas have suggested to me that this invocation of the popular is closer to Sukumar's satirical form. . which conjure with the fascination of children for the world heralded by the itinerant bioscope peddler. there is a childlike quality to Charu's mimicking of this vision. Where ours is akin to the distance visited on the world of Apu in the first two films of the trilogy. Charu s distance is to dominant ways of thinking about the world within the narrative. relayed across a series of window frames. what Ray provides here is a modernist framing of a history through devices of spatial staging and distantiation. The particular figure who draws Charu's attention. Charu chants the name of her hero Bankim (displacing the embroidering of a B on the husband's hanky in the opening shot onto an intimately felt cultural register). The film's opening sequence describes Charu's exploration of Bhupathi's space. 19 Charu's playful tracking of his perambulation also allows her to look at other items of street life. but the rhythms of his usage of this device come to be distinctly jolting rather than functional. ironically emphasise her separation from the world outside. I would argue. Looking through the books on Bhupathi's library shelf. and to provide the spectator with a perspective. and that of the library and recreation. a division between politics and culture. This invocation invites the spectator to share with the character a common interiority shaped by the literary domain. as in Abal Tabol. into a register of the interior that the film elevates into a domain of substantive meaning. The spectacles here function not so much as a vehicle for enhancing visual powers. other than that of the characters. where subjectivities which are deeper. Ray himself spoke rather allusively about the possibilities of the zoom for varying the emphasis. as for providing a visual distraction from the isolation and monotony of the cloistered space of the household. Equally significant. of which latter tradition Ray is of course an inheritor. than to the bazaar realism of Kalighat patachitra. as emerging from outside the diegesis. our gaze is different from hers. The space is divided between Bhupati's workspace. as she too is privy to the systems of knowledgeable distance provided by Ray's framing for the spectator of the film. such as an organ grinder with a monkey. this invocation of mechanisms of vision for `distant' views which are actually physically proximate but socially estranged. What is remarkable too is the way the female protagonist comes to participate in this distantiation. Indeed. The development of a thematics of externality/interiority comes full circle when Charu subjects her husband to the ironic. a pot bellied man who is rolling along on the street. Her spectatorship of the street scene. highlighting the spectator s perspective by jettisoning us into a closer view or into sudden distance. as something being enacted for a spectator at a remove from the events being narrated. exteriorizing gaze of the opera glasses. The opera glasses then playfully taken by Charu to look at the street below.
Bhupathi. There seems to me to be a complex set of exchanges in this visually condensed. jatra. in the medley of images Charu conjures up. the specifically popular genre of visual representation is returned to. to the literary magazine that dangles at Charu's side as she rushes to meet Amal. 20 Here. Cambridge University Press. conjuring up an uncontaminated. there emerges the shadowed. The cut to the viewing subject registers a glittering. where Charu's opera glasses. Art and Nationalism in Colonial India. However. a moment within modernity where the distinctions between high and low were not so marked. there is an adaptation. Ray builds an echoing weave around a significant swinging motion: from a focus on the opera glasses swinging at Charu's side. but there is an intriguing discrepancy where. Cambridge. 1998. In form. charged with the energy of bazaar vision. define different forms for an interfacing of self with the outside.While this distinction is probably accurate. aligns with this vision to turn it on her husband. Some of this recuperates the lost world of his early village films. but from Bhupati's request that his brother look after and cultivate his lonely wife. In this sense Ray here moves into the domain of modern print culture and its representations. such as those of melodramatic contrivance in the representation of Charu's cunning brother who embezzles from Bhupathi. For we cannot but recall that the bazaar form especially cultivated a sending up of bhadralok pretensions to status. As I will point out later. where we are invited to physically register the lineaments of Charu's erotic being as it opens out through her relationship to Amal. For her struggle to write about her most intimate memories of village life in the essay `My Village'. breaking the logic of the images which inhabit Charu's interior life. and also in the melodramatic effects of storms to signal emotional peripeteia. by quoting it. amused look. pre-modern experience. The devices of visualization and publicization which bookend this series. there seems to be something a little more happening here. realist form of representation embeds another within it. profiled figure of a . for an account of Sukumar Ray's work. See also Partha Mitter. respectively through the opera glass and the literary publication. Charu gets Amal to promise that23 what he has been inspired to write will remain private. Ray generates a suggestive montage. Ray subsequently deploys other mechanisms of the popular. elaborated and re-condensed echoing chamber. the form Ray employs is clearly at a remove from the premodern popular culture of the type Kapur has indentified for Devi. 1850-1922. This elaboration of the earlier motif into a fully fledged phenomenology is abruptly subject to a rending when it is revealed that Amal's companionship derives not from any independent desire or interest in Charu. and to upstage him in his writerly aspirations. she is determined to teach him a lesson. and in a rather suggestive way. caught in the pose of serious contemplation. These are mediated by the crucial reverie of the garden. The marginality of the protagonist is thus converted into a position of articulate perspective on the world through the energies both of a literary imagination and a street culture. When he transgresses this injunction.22 ironic reflection on the conditions of a particular alienated situation. as if animated now by a caricatural energy. Normally. through the rise and fall of Charu on the swing during her dalliance with Amal in the garden. this vision is very much aligned to a different order of representation. though often from a strictly chauvinist perspective which mocked the man who would allow his westernized wife to dominate him. There are also elements of folk performance. One way of thinking about this montage is to see it as the interior pitted against the modern and the urban. one could say that a dominant.
and an interiority pictured as a modern montage of forms rather than one of sacred and pristine essence. through the thickets of Charu's desire. been taken along. of inside and outside. Aside from this issue of modern fabrication of the traditional. that a definite pause is given to the movement of modernity. into the world of politics and letters. as if she has been drawn into the hitherto distanced public world of her male adversaries' desires. For it refuses to describe the character as entirely alienated from modern urban experience. of romance and alienated viewing that have recurrently centred on woman characters now assumes a clearer frame. while obviously in a different and `traditional' cultural register from the character of Charu. It is when a particular form of the modern has crystallized into a determinate hierarchy. that Ray puts a particular critical slant on the subordinated 20 Tapati Guha-Thakurta. The figure of Apu's little wife . Aesthetics and Nationalism in Bengal. so too are the `destinal' narratives against which these lives are located. We have here the surfacing of a performative figure that again smacks of the bazaar. What is suggestive is that this deauthentication is not founded on a counter-identification with a fiction of organic being. fundamentally lacking in the inner life and imaginative resources. The secret and productive compact of the first sequence thus resurfaces. but to be secretly nurtured. of mediations that have come to reside within the character's subjectivity is strangely liberating. It is here. a trace. Rather. and recalls Charu's earlier encounter with popular forms. The question becomes then not only one of an inevitable movement away from these figures and the traditional forms of being they embody. but an introspection about the very route the spectator has. urging a retrospective view.young boy with top hat and whisky bottle tipsily weaving around. For the village of Charu's interiority is connected with desires that would not be admissible within `traditional' formulations about womanhood. This articulation of a fragment. there is also a question of why Charu's expression of self comes across as such a bitter subjection. For the interiority within which Amal has come to acquire an affective presence was not something to be publicized. are opened to scrutiny from a new. As we know. There is a strange violence to the way Charu has been driven to reveal herself. The interior is revealed as something not only different but as something personal that speaks of desires which cannot be acknowledged. The Making of a 'New Indian Art: Artists. this laying claim to a more authentic consciousness is processed through modern forms. within an elaborated urban configuration. The unfinished agenda of history that Ray plots here has a distinctly interventionist quality quite at a remove from the dark ruminations of his Devi. At one level the politics of figuring Charu's subjectivity as inhabiting a different world from that of the men would seem to resonate with that opposition between inside and outside that has been theorized in the constitution of nationalist consciousness. 24 modernity of his forebears without succumbing to an essentialist cultural formulation. At this point its male vehicle appears contrived and self-indulgent. The triumph of Charu's publication in a better known magazine than Amal has managed is an emphatically bitter one. charging Charu's face-off with her opponents with a sense of complicated resources and alliances. It is with Charulata that some of the structure of the double take. In the process. there emerges a contrary image of a heroine defined by an involuntary and conflicted psychology. It is as if the sacrifices and sacrificing of Durga and Sarbajaya. of the home and the world. elaborated perspective. willy-nilly. to be brought out into the open. doesn't quite belong with the pristine images of village life. the spirals of enchantment and loss.
admittedly. at its most productive. a product. Ray interweaves three different spaces and relationships: a sexual encounter between the sportsman Hari and the tribal woman in the forest. In the final section of the film. Cambridge University Press. Aranyer Din Ratri and Jana Aranya. Aranyer Din Ratri Ray's 1969 film provides the prelude to what is often referred to as his city trilogy. may provide a somewhat off-colour clue. and reproduce within their social ensemble a microcosm of a certain type of city relationship. played for a comedy of comeuppance. Issues of repression and desire surface in the latter part of the film. 1850-1920 (Cambridge. Her tragedy is not her own. a kind of remote. For my purposes here. the wife s image derives from the bid to authenticate. the latter probably his last substantial film. is only pertinent to two of the group. The group. in blackface. as a sensual. Although it takes place in the forests of Palamau. and to locate a moral voice. The contemporary c. constitute and embody the modern within the privacy of personal relations. their dignity undone. and the presence of Aparna's sister-inlaw. Asim . part of a family who periodically visits the area. Strangely. Jaya.stands outside this retrospective configuration. of Apu's desires. the most glaring instance of contrivance. though replayed to capture this subjection as a form of tragedy. The moral frame that Ray's narrative presents is routed through the character played by Sharmila Tagore as Aparna. but that of Apu's failed tryst with the present. Deprived of the double take of modernist method which had provided such rich ambiguity to the earlier work culminating in Charulata. unthinking behaviour and arrogance. carry ties from the days of school and college. of blatantly inadequate representation in Ray's realist trajectory. because. invariably in the figure of a female character. that of the tribal environment within which the story takes place. the performance of Simi Garewal. The reason I choose these films is that they appear to engage the contemporary as a problem for representation. and hierarchies of an urban middle class in an inventive and playful way. 1992)25 Through the actress Madhabi Mukherjee Ray was to carry his reflections on the discontents of modern womanhood forward into the contemporary with works such as Kapurush and Mahanagar. composed of two business executives. Pratidwandi (1970). veers towards a darker. childlike tribal woman. followed by a payment of money and an assault on Hari by the servant whom he had unjustly charged with theft and had beaten. and in such a way that signifiers of identity become detached and mobile. she is a subset.26 The wonderful ensemble of the Calcuttans. lack of values exposed. But. Sharmila Tagore's Dayamoyi is similarly a plaything of superior authorities. the trope of irony. the work from now on provides. Here. underlines a steady thinning of politically purposeful engagement.at least this is intended for those who are capable of such selfanalysis which. it arguably captures the interactive dynamics. Seema Badha (1971) and Jana Aranya (1975). a sportsman and a hanger on. serious denouement. the widow played by Kaveri Bose. where the men are meant to be shown the petty inwardness of their ways. It is also very much a city film. The bid to develop a countervailing moral economy to contain this irony. for our purpose. I want to track the complex negotiations of his formal response to the contemporary through two instances which capture the difficulty of his project. comic view on an increasingly dystopian perspective on the middle class. as something which cannot be accessed coherently because the sources of authentication cannot be firmly figured. The story functions as a moral tale. it is the combination of this moral register with two other registers that is of significance. in terms of character focalization. and urged to reflect and reform .
the realist form employed here constantly seeks to address other forms to speak about its interiority. indeed. in my . Part of Asim and Aparna's exchange takes place against the stylized backdrop of the plains along which tribal peoples move. we find that the increasingly strident moral discourse which Ray has used to define his relationship to the contemporary through the Sharmila Tagore characters of Nayak. or. is surely self-ironic. the figures on either side do not abide by any such normative frame. its repressions and its desires. If Asim and Aparna provide a normative centre to the film. and Jaya and Sanjay. as they wander towards the resthouse. Ray had fled a city where political and economic circumstances had become increasingly difficult in the naxalite years. petulant sportsman from the city and the widow whose desires have been repressed for so long. an abstracted form against which the moral discourse of the middle class can play itself out. Jana Aranya. as they retire to her bungalow for a cup of coffee.27 None of this has to do with the adequacy or otherwise of the film's representation of the tribals. it becomes a crucial resource within the diegetic world. The function of the popular employed in the urban environs of Charulata gives way to another set of energies within the environment tracked by Sunil Ganguli s story. 21 Quite contrary are the developments on either side of this rather anaemic centre. an overwhelming image of desire that the man is completely bewildered by. but as drained signification. a figure of urban chic to masquerade as a tribal serves to loosen the sign and relay it to the figure of the widow. In the stylization of this scene there is something of the choreographed forms of the Hungarian's work. their voyeuristic externality to the places they visit. 21 One may recall that these were the years in which Miklos Jancso's work was being showcased in international festivals. Ray's use of Simi Garewal. In the expressionistically lit interiors of the widow's bungalow. and brings to visibility what urban middle-class forms do not seem to have the wherewithal to relay. as a stylistic vector against which to articulate different forms of urban subjectivity. rather than a properly narrativized entity in itself. Forest and sexually charged interior provide the mise-en-scene for the grasping. Jaya emerges. and something of the irony he visits on his characters' tourism. The mobility of tribal signs in this interwoven tapestry is suggestive. in which the woman provides a moral education for the man and the possibilities of carefully calibrated romance in the future. The environment is used to bounce off the characters. The last is one of the most extraordinary passages in Ray's work.(Soumitra Chatterjee) and Aparna. Like its main characters. Aranyer din ratri and Seema Badha . in which the mise en scene of nature and primitivist signification course through expressively and through displacement. releasing turbulent energies that cannot be articulated through the normative discourse of the civilized centre. In the most interesting of Ray s city films of the seventies. Clearly. Nevertheless.has now come to a point of crisis. to a thematics of authenticity. And once again. heavily adorned in tribal jewellery. Whatever the intention of the director. it does this through the figure of a woman deprived expression of desire within respectable society. but in a way which does not resonate within some larger organic movement. a backdrop that frames a moral discourse with which it has no intersection.
centred on the lead character. mimicry and masquerade. Although this may be to stretch a point. For the voice is no longer the articulating centre against which excesses are managed on either side. if we consider that the classical deployment of shot-reverseshot for the induction of Ray's gallery of types into the film may be said to strangely obscure the figure in the reverse field. which in turn leads to his downfall 3 a performative mode. take pleasure in a song. whose lack of strong personality and screen presence is underlined by the shrouding effects of Ray's lighting strategies. or suggest an alternative ethics to the moralism which seeks to compensate the spectator for the de-authenticated subject of Ray's late films. as in Aranyer Din Ratri. In this sense the perverse pleasure these segments conjure up appear irreducible to the moral narrative that frames them. or immerse oneself not in the real but in its excessively relayed performance. Such a soliciting of the spectator's engagement does not necessarily require that these segments have to be29 subordinated to the narrative logic within which they are placed. failing even to generate the enigmatic construction of the type represented in characters played by Sharmila Tagore. composed of an upright. could be transposed to highlight a form that invites the spectator to enjoy a joke. this is the realm of contingency. especially the caricatural domain which he himself was so adept at. the person who examines Somnath s script has misplaced his spectacles. suitable as it might be to Ray's vision of a corrupt and corrupting society. also provides for a peculiar evacuation of character point of view. Ray took recourse to the work of Shankar in this film. a cynical elder brother and a nurturing sister-in-law 28 2 the simulation of a documentary mode. retired father. and a cinema which functioned in a segmented. But the distracted rather than focused disposition of the story-telling suspends form precipitously.. It is the latter which steadily displaces the other types of narrative world. intermittent and tonally discordant way. This does not mean that such fragmentation offers the possibility of an alternative reading of the text. putting a face and a name to an anonymous process e. And the very anonymity of Ray's lead character. Film studies has generated the opposition of these forms to contrast a cinema which successfully linked shots and sequences within a stylistically consistent logic of narrative causality. . this also incorporates the anecdote.g. Somnath and his family. Ray here uses the following narrative forms: 1 the main story line. But a clear mismatch starts developing between the drives of coherent character formation and the multiple diegesis through which the narrative world is put together. originally employed to describe the sheer. This is significant. as in caricature. it is as if the cinema of narrative integration that Ray had been singularly adept at constructing within the Indian context has been combined with a cinema of attractions. in order to catch some of the energy of street life and observation. as in the opening scene in the examination hall. unwitting or otherwise. unnarativized pleasure of looking observable in the single take films of early cinema.view a productive one. Instead it starts to lose a sense of clear conviction signalled by depleted characterization. deployed for the glittering gallery of characters who provide Somnath with an immoral education. indicates the fulfilment. in which marginal narrative characters and situations are shown to effect the overall course of the narrative. or the ironic tracking of an application through the postal system. producing a singularly discordant text within the Ray oeuvre. For the thematic of a man without personality. of a structural effect. 22 The cinema of attractions. effecting his exam result.
In highlighting the double take.casting a shadow not over the later work. Putting the spectator phenomenologically out of phase with this point of representational origin. but over the very possibility of a classicism and integrity of form. British Film Institute. no. London. and thus the bid to conquer the real ideologically. and not only the camera. the dual temporality of Ray's modernist method interrogates and distances us from the passage into modernity by reinvesting that we have lost. 199930 there is a stylistic intervention that alerts you. literary naturalism and Tagore's novels in the early work. 24 My suggestion has been that this casts a different light on the politics of authentication. as was increasingly argued for in the drive to create an autonomous cinema sense in 1950s Bengal. narrative. it does so through an enframing of these forms through a foregrounding of the cinematic apparatus. these films correspondingly displace the locus of authentication onto the double take. while laying claim. `A cinema of attractions' in Thomas Elsaesser edited Early cinema: space. *** It has been the argument of this paper that such a classicism was never a straightforward matter in Ray's oeuvre. This constitutes an awareness of the way perception is split between a knowing that you are watching this here. to the unravelling of a complicated montage and a transgressive rendering of the interiority repressed in the history of modernity. The conflictual fields of naturalism and modernism in the trilogy. through this medium. Moinak Biswas argues that this does not amount to the successful displacement by the cinema of other media. and displaces Ray's films from the bid to authenticate the nationstate by constructing a national narrative that seamlessly traverses a point of origin to the modernity of the present. and the lineaments of another sensorium. `Revisiting the literary liaison'. and the centrifugal formal pressures that decentre the perspective of the later work through displacements and fragmentary irruptions all suggest the tensions at work. and other histories. Jadavpur University. of painterly images and words. Along with the rather differently calibrated destabilization of a moral-classical form that sought to offer a pedagogical tale to . it signalled a layering of forms and histories into the cinematic. placing the spectator at a self-conscious remove from the original source. not a character within the fiction. then. one would argue that in Ray's work there is a transposition of literary into audio-visual elements of a very distinct type. now. Calcutta. rather. the spectator. the subterranean alliance of modernist method with popular representational practices. and that 22 Tom Gunning. 1. If the process of authentication in Ray's work at first glance draws for its resources on painterly modes. 23 Nevertheless. looking. Journal of the Moving Image. and desiring to recover a there. frame. that it is you. Charulata elaborates this interrogation of a male modernity. in the name of the modern. 1991 23Moinak Biswas.
symbols and narrative forms that would creatively engage with the cultural legacies and debates to which we are heir. where do these observations leave us in terms of a politics of culture? It would appear to me that formulations positing a straightforward relationship between politics and culture. . Ray has been too often criticised for failing to deal with the complex mesh of signs. My own effort in this essay has been to attend to both the formally systematic and the more intermittent and incoherent dimensions of Ray s work to indicate the elements of distance and dissonance that were built into the project of a nationalist modernity in the post-independence period. 200031 need to look closely at the complexities of his films in order to pluralize our recovery of filmmaking traditions for a re-animation of contemporary cultural practice. While the power and complexity of Ghatak is not at issue here. In my understanding. OUP. Delhi. I believe we 24 Ashish Rajadhyaksha. I have tried to point out the imponderable moments and layered strategies that defined Ray s rationalist and realist aesthetic and put a brake on the formulation of a seamless national culture for a modernizing middle class. as in the argument that modern classical forms confirm and reproduce the cultural limits of citizenship in a post-colonial context need to ponder whether a classical realism has ever worked in such uncomplicated ways. in Vasudevan edited. A close reading of his work opens up the possibilities of attending to subordinated histories and self-reflexive moments in the constitution of an Indian modernity. `Viewership and democracy'.the de-authenticated middle class addressee of Ray's later films. as for example in the standard contrast with the work of Ghatak. Making Meaning in Indian Cinema.
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