| Chhavi Grih in Patna. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Aficionados of classic cinema have been left high and dry ever since the Cine Society, Patna, stopped screening films at Chhavi Grih about a year ago.
The state information and public relations department had provided the film society the venue at Lok Nayak Bhavan to screen classics every weekend.
Last March, the hall was closed after water started seeping through the walls. Officials claim renovation is on since April, forcing the cine members to work around half measures to nurture their love for films.
Not only did Cine Society, Bihar, screen films, it also educated viewers in the art of the moviemaking. Out of an alternative venue, the members are a disappointed lot.
Gautam Das Gupta, the secretary of Cine Society, Patna, said: “It has been almost 10 months now that Chhavi Grih is closed for renovation. Why is the department taking so much time? We are somehow organising shows at a member’s house, but not many people can attend the screenings. We even have to bring the projector every time we want to screen a movie.
“These problems were not there at Chhavi Grih, as everything was well arranged. The department should look into the problems because we are a very old association and have been entertaining movie buffs for the past 66 years.”
A group of cine enthusiasts, including English teacher at Patna University Devidas Chatterjee, homemaker Vijaya Mulay, writer for Blitz magazine Arun Raychoudhary, and Justice BN Prasad would meet informally to exchange ideas about world cinema in the 1940s.
Inspired by Calcutta Film Society started by Satyajit Ray in 1947, they formed the Cine Society, Patna, in 1948.
Gupta said: “The group soon realised there was no culture of watching ‘serious’ cinema in Patna. That led them to form the group to promote meaningful films. It was initially called Patna Film Society. Vijaya Mulay, mother of National Award winning actress Suhasini Mulay, was a homemaker but she took active part in the discussions. The club is registered with the Federation of Film Societies of India.”
The secretary added that that since April 2013 when work started at Chhavi Grih, he had not found any regular work on.
K.K. Upadhyay, deputy director, information and public relations department, could not shed much light on the status of renovation at Chhavi Grih. He directed The Telegraph to speak to Vijay Kumar, an engineer with the department, who could not be contacted.
R.N. Dash, adviser, Cine Society, Patna, said: “For the members of Cine Society, the art of moving pictures is a serious business. We talk about the minute details of the films during the post-screening discussions. The ideas behind using a particular backdrop or a prop in a dance sequence are discussed. We are definitely not happy with the department failing to provide us with an alternative venue to screen classic films even after 10 months.”