French-Bengal joint Venture marks Centenary of Indian Cinema

October 16, 2013 10:36 pm 1,619 comments __
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By Ayanangsha Maitra • Kolkata India

 

In Eastern India, especially in West Bengal, foreign collaboration is not a fresh idea for celebrating festival. Kolkata and entire Bengal worship the Goddess with eagerness, spending hefty amount. Last year, with resources of Max Mueller Bhavan, a South Kolkata based acclaimed Durga Puja Committee had placed the artistic touch of ‘hausur’ by famous German Artist. This year, on its 66th anniversary of independence, the Nation celebrates 100 successive years of Indian Cinema. Palli Mangal Samity, the Puja Committee of Kolkata furnishes Pandal to mark Centenary of Indian Cinema with its French connection Alliance Francaise du Bengale. Alliance Française du Bengal has sponsored a giant capital, about 40 Lakh INR for the event. Cinemas of Cannes and Calcutta have been spotted, depicted and expressed here through various mediums. Portraits of renowned French filmmaker Jean Renoir and his Indian friend Satyajit Ray are put up there. Big Posters of Lumiere Brothers’s first movie screened in 1896 is posted on the wall.
Two artists from France, Jean-Xavier Renaud and Gaelle Foray have arrived in mid-September and over the following one month, collaborated Indian artistes to create the pandal and idol that sport a French touch, respecting the local and formal tradition -said Alliance Francaise du Bengale director Stephane Amalir. Another Bengali artist, engaged at the same project, Rishi said- The French artists-duo did not know in detail about Goddess Durga and the rituals when they arrived in India. We provided them books, photographs and Videos. They absorbed the essence of our puja culture and successfully transformed it in their artwork. The theme of the Pallimangal Samity puja is tentatively titled ‘Cannes to Kolkata’ celebrates the centenary year of Indian cinema. Mr. Shibu Mitra, secretory of the Committee informs ”The artists have painted on Pine Wood and used chemicals to keep the designs rain-proof. ” From Entrance to Exit visitors would feel the furnished place like a studio for indoor shooting. Light, Camera are already there, visitors would Sound on the ‘Cine set-up’. While Indian cinema was guest of honor at the last Festival de Cannes, the guests invited at the Puja include Cannes film festival president Gilles Jacob.

Ambassador Fabrice Etienne,Consular General of France is asked to put his opinion by this media-person. Today he tells in a conversation over telephone, ”Indian Cinema has become very popular for its unique identity. Pallimangal Puja Pandal places Indian Cinemas like Kolkata-made Hindi film ‘Kahaani’   and some others as well as French Cinemas. The Cannes and Kolkata have come closer through this.”Mr Etienne, How have you celebrated this foreign-festival?-the overwhelmed and aged French Official replies- ‘I have enjoyed a lot. It’s a wonderful experience! I have visited many Puja Pandals here and eaten Bengali Dishes.’ Which Bengali food items have you had? ‘I prefer Veg and have tried Cullyflower Curry, Panir, Potato-Posto and Sweets. ‘He also adds ”I’m awaited to watch immersion on the river-the last and nostalgic event of Durga Puja.”

‘In 1956, at Cannes Satyajit Ray’s ‘Pather Panchali’ was adjudged the Best Human Document and made the world sit up and take notice of the precocious talent from India. On wooden borders, Giant size Posters of movies like ‘Anthony Firingee’ and ‘Joy Baba Felunath’ are set to increase visitor-strength. Tourists from Switzerland, Canada, Australia, UK, US and many other countries have flocked. The ‘Filmy’ theme raises a question -Is the Goddess worshiped or the 100 years old Indian Cinema-Industry?

As well as cinema Kolkata Puja Committees response various sensitive social issues.At a Pandal Tibetian ‘Thankga art’ has been modified to spread the message of communal harmony. After the attacks and counter-attacks, when Indo-Pak deplomatic relation faces the hard pillar of challenges, a unit of Pakistani Artists accept invitations from Kolkata Puja Committee. The-Trio Truck-Painters from Pakistan have arrived in the city to decorate the Pandal of another Kolkata based Puja Organization since the Organization highlights Communal Harmony and considers Art as a Global Matter. Pakistani truck-painter Haider Ali says “We are here over than a month but it doesn’t seem like we are in India. It feels like Pakistan.” He also added “when we go back we’ll tell our people there are no differences. The division is between politicians,” Ali and his unit had never heard of Durga Puja but heard of other major festivals in India like Holi and Diwali. Initially a Visa Upto 30th September was granted to Haider’s passport. The keen artists have applied for extension to witness the Puja and to get the feedback from Visitors.

The Writer is a Journalist.

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