The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Search for the right frame

Final year masters students of film studies at Jadavpur University shelved Holi plans to look around for the perfect location to shoot a degree film. Some spots made it into the film, some didn’t. But each place proved memorable, and a 500-year-old house particularly so, writes one of the gang, Anisha Baksi...

Howrah station, 7.53 am. The compartment held only us: 12 students from JU. My backpack held the bare minimum including the most important item for the daylong expedition — my Handycam. An hour’s journey to Tarakeshwar was made shorter by Michael (still learning to rock, our refrain) and his boys as background scrore and a hungrily gulped down breakfast. It being a holiday, there wasn’t a bus or taxi in sight, and we had to settle for what was for us a novel mode of transport: bullock cart.

As our three-cart convoy rolled by carpets of green fields, the camera was rolling too, taking in all the sights. Once our driver spotted the ‘contraption’ at work, he had a host of questions. But then, he had an idea that changed our trip. “Cinemababu”, he smiled, “Dashghara chalo”.

Twelve kilometres and two hours on the bumpy road (or was it the cart') later, our battalion arrived at the Dashghara Biswas bari to a warm welcome. The traditional zamindar home, with its Durgadalan, natbangla and huge pond called Goopisagar has been in the family for 500 years.

Dol was the day to be there. Idols around 450 years old of Krishna and Radha were the centre of attraction at the terracotta Gopinath Mandir. After a day of prayer and festivities, the riot of colours started at sundown. As the clock struck 5 pm, the priest and villagers arrived at the temple and carried the idols to the dolmancha, where the family was waiting. Holi is played by all, with Radha and Krishna in the midst.

Though we enjoyed every moment of the unscheduled stop, we had work to do. We found the spot we were looking for nearby. The Biswas family even invited us back to their home if we needed to film there.

The recce was an important part of the filmmaking process. But there were other hurdles. For our largely experimental projects, we had the backing of film industry professionals like Vikramjit Gupta, Indranil Bhattacharya and Ashok Dasgupta, skilled in various areas of the art. They made time to pass on some practical tips to prepare us for the task at hand.

The theme for our film was complex — human emotions. Hopes, aspirations, desires and frustrations, and the relation between all these were at the core of our script. A difficult subject to handle with subtlety and sensitivity.

Before finalising a location, visuals were matched to soundtrack. The 10-minute film juxtaposes paddy fields and gardens with multi-storied buildings and pollution. We used all the skills we have collected through the years — how to handle the camera, choose the proper shot length or find angles conducive to good editing.

Pre-production sessions covered use of digital cameras, our medium of choice. Scripting, music, stock shots, editing…

This was the real thing, but our team was more than up to the challenge.


Festive elixir

Summer may be setting in but colleges are still in fest mode. April 9 and 10 saw B.P. Poddar Institute of Management and Technology host its fest, Elixir 03, at Nazrul Mancha. The fest got off to a high voltage start with the Ticklewitz quiz, where the team from IEM outclassed opponents.

The furious quizzing was followed by the soothing Eastern vocals competition, entitled Saaz, where a team from the host institute was awarded first place by actor Arindam Ganguly, who judged the event.

But the loudest event of the day was the intercollege band competition Cacophony. From jazz to hard rock, everything was on show with some Indipop thrown in, too. Numbers were belted out with much vigour to impress the judges from the popular Bangla band Cactus. Finally Manindranath College took home the crown. Choreography, the usual centre of attention, was aced by the hosts. Chandrabindoo livened up the evening. They got the crowd going with signature tunes like Bathroom, Tanana and Doodh Na Khele.

The second day was a clean sweep by the gang from the Bengal Institute of Technology (BIT). It started with a crossfire of words on whether money and media are ruining cricket. Moderated by Urmimala Basu, BIT had the last laugh. Ga-Re-Ga, or antakshari, ended on the same winning note for BIT.

The much-awaited event was a show by singer KK. The Pal man arrived to thunderous applause, belting out popular film numbers and album hits.


Picture perfect

The Jadavpur University Photography Club organised an exhibition at the Gaganendra Pradarshashala last weekend. Named ‘Notun Kichhu’, the exhibition made its statement through simplicity. The amateur yet skilful members didn’t restrict themselves to the confines of Calcutta to present this stunning collection of snapshots — a variety of landscapes, portraits and urban images, both in black and white and colour.

The exhibition was inaugurated on April 11 by the registrar of Jadavpur University Rajat Bandyopadhyay. For three days, visitors trooped in, including some lensmen of repute with advice and feedback for the budding photographers of the club.

According to club member Suvo Ghosh, the members had taken off for the Andamans and Sandakphu during the Puja holidays, cameras slung over their shoulders.

Slide shows featured a selection of pictures that did not make it on to the walls.

The visitors also had a glimpse of life in Benaras in the ‘general’ section, refreshing for its unconventional look at the famous narrow bylanes that charaterise the place of pilgrimage. A feature on the Calcutta slums was highly impressive, as was another on a bustling pet bazaar. Also at hand were snaps of Santiniketan’s Basanta Utsav, off-beat glimpses of the Book Fair and a retrospective of past members’ works.

— Aritro Ganguly

Jadavpur University


Flight of fancy

Monthly blood transfusions and frequent bouts of illness deny Sourav Majumdar, 12, his place in a Malda classroom. But the Discovery channel is his window to the world, daring this thalassaemia patient to dream of designing a special craft that can dive under water and fly into space.

The Make-A-Wish-Foundation and Jet Airways, on Monday, gave wings to Sourav’s dream of boarding an aircraft by flying him to Mumbai for a day. Sunday saw Governor Viren J. Shah handing over the tickets to Sourav and father Dilip Majumdar.

First Lady Anjana Shah was quick to offer financial support for the monthly transfusion that the boy (regarded as “the brightest” among the 300 children the Foundation has dealt with) now undergoes.


Fizzy protest

As an army took over a city in far-away Iraq, the protest against Corporate America gained momentum at the Jadavpur University campus.

The department of English decided to stage a unique protest by boycotting the likes of Pepsi and Coke and coming up with its own substitute, Kolahol. The drink — the recipe for which had been cooked up by one of our professors — was initially available in two flavours, Sublime and TamaZest. It has been on the racks at Milanda’s canteen since April 8. After the cola-driven campaign found some fizzy support, a third flavour, Iced Tea, has been added to the range.

— Sreejita Deb & Debjani Bhattacharya,

Jadavpur University.

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