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KINDLE INDIA

Ideas

Imagination

D Dialectics

1st April 2013 C30

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COMMON

MAN’S

GUIDE TO

“POLITICS” [Picture: A worker climbs on a pile of rice stock inside a warehouse (Reuters)] April 2013

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FOUR SEASONS AT THE SHAHBAG SQUARE : O C C U P A N T - O C C U P A T I O N - O C C U P Y - O C C U P I E D

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E L E G Y F O R T H E D E A D A L F R E S O R E N , H U M A Y U N A Z A D A N B I S H W A J I T D A S A N D F O R T H E L I V I N H E L A L H A F I

D D G Z B Y M U K H E R J E E W I P H S U D A

P.

T H O T O S B Y V R A K A N T I S

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nd then. After walking through many many tracts of darkness, they discovered themselves in the midst of a large unending procession. Topu and Eva. In this boundless seashore, people are walking in front of them. Boys. Old Men. Girls. Children. Men. Women. Male Youth. Female Youth. They are tired of this long walk. Battered bodies. Battered gait. Where are we? In Vietnam or Indonesia? In Jerusalem or in Cyprus? In India or in Pakistan? Where are we? An old man with a little tear in his April 2013

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Illustration by Sourav Bhattacharya

100 YEARS OF

INDIAN

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HINDI

CINEMA

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INTERVIEW

The centenary celebrations of Hindi cinema is about to draw to a close. If one were to talk of Indian cinema, the centenary was crossed sometime back with Hiralal Sen’s films that came before Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra. But there is no print available of those films and thus no recognition either. However, Bollywood, the largest dream factory in the world, has come a long way. In this interview, Rachel Dwyer, professor of Indian Cultures and Cinemas at School of Oriental and African Studies, who has written BFI’s 100 Bollywood films and a tome on Yash Chopra among others, talks about drama, feminism, secularism, caste,audiences and above all, about films and makers that continue to endure. By Sayan Bhattacharya.

Say in Maharashtra, the big film studios – very big studios When you get caste mentioned, like the Prabhat studios in the 30’s and 40’s – and today everybody’s high caste, so there I was studying Sanskrit and there is a very lively cinema in Gujarati and when I was are Malhotra’s and the Khannas. Marathi but very few people staying in Gujarat doing outside Maharashtra watch People like the OBC’s or SC’s or my PhD research, I started this because people don’t watching films because at understand the language . anything like that, you don’t get that time before the channels But I think hindi cinema that mentioned. And when you came in and there was no has become identified with internet, what there really all of Indian cinema and this do have a film that does caste was were weekly films, the Bollywood thing, I mean film songs and there was the like Aarakshan, you get Saif Ali it’s what I work on, but it’s Mahabharat and I didn’t partly language restrictions, Khan to play a Dalit, nobody’s know Hindi then, so these I couldn’t work on Bengali were the things I started going to be convinced by that cinema because I don’t read watching, people explained Bengali literature but it and that’s more of a problem. I the films and then you realise doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy people were talking about the mean the number of Dalit’s you watching Bengali films. In films and you listen to that, India, I don’t know why there have on films is miniscule. and then you start reading the isn’t more scholarship on the magazines and it just really non-Hindi cinema, there is grew from there. I thought a some on Tamil cinema, some good way of learning Hindi was to watch films. on Telegu cinema but small numbers. This is the centenary year of Indian Cinema, but we often I was watching this presentation of yours where you talk equate that with Hindi Cinema… about how Hindi cinema actually represents modern What made you take up Indian Cinema as a subject for research?

I mean obviously the first thing to remember is the early cinema was silent cinema, so how much you can call it Hindi cinema or anywhere, it’s not really open because you can’t really have inter-title cards with different languages. But I think in a way, Hindi cinema has just come to dominate film studies, and so much of the way Indian cinema is seen overseas. Whereas in India where many of the other cinemas which we unfortunately have to call regional because we don’t have another term for them or non- hindi cinemas are usually seen more in localities or by those language groups. And I suppose it’s more like literature, is how do you get to really watch films in languages you don’t know because a lot of people don’t like subtitles and a lot of the films aren’t dubbed very well.

India. So what is modern India? I think Hindi cinema represents modern India. I think what Hindi cinema does, is share how modern India imagines itself and I think that’s a big difference because Hindi cinema has got quite a tenuous relationship with reality, it’s not a realistic cinema, it doesn’t try and show things like how they are in real India, more like an art cinema or realistic cinema. But what it does try to show is what modern India thinks about itself and you know... its dreams and fantasies about how we’d like to live our lives, possible lives. It’s about people who are incredibly beautiful and rich and successful; you know it’s not realistic cinema in any way not just in its narrative but it’s not realistic in the way the songs are used, it’s not realistic in the way the films are shot; April 2013

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WHY POLITICS IS NOT A DIRTY WORD.

by Saswat Pattanayak

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COVER STORY

of social justice lessons and politically radical positions lies in the need to discuss them over dining table conversations with children, bedroom arguments with spouses, classroom dialogues with students, and workplace organizing around colleagues. The key is in recognizing that so long as one of us is unfree, none of us are really free. And since statistically speaking, more number of people in the world continue to live in an un-free state today than ever before, it is rather urgent that we engage in politics, in raising our political consciousness, and in fighting not just on our behalf, but also on behalf of the others; for politics of indifference spares none, and as Audre Lorde says, there is no hierarchy of oppression:

“Within the lesbian community I am Black, and with the Black community I am a lesbian. Any attack against Black people is a lesbian and gay issue, because I and thousands of other Black women are part of the lesbian community. Any attack against lesbians and gays is a Black issue, because thousands of lesbians and gay men are Black. There is no hierarchy of oppression….I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.”

Women wearing traditional mantilla dresses smoke outside a church before taking part in the Brotherhood procession of “Los Estudiantes”

Widows throw flowers into the air during a holi celebration at the Meera Sahavagini ashram in Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh

April 2013

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N A GA R

CH I N TA M A N I

M AT H U R

A NINDO

B OS E

I N

U J WA L

G A U RAV

A BH I S HE K

G R O U N D E D S P A C E

I N T E R V I E W


CH AYA N

A D H I K A R I

L A L M O H I T

A MA N

S ING H

S U H A IL

Y U S U F

R AT H OR E

K H A N

Spacey, psychedelic, rusty, and yet spiritual. Speaking in ragas and taals, Advaita’s music tries to dissolve the difference between the being and the soul. Shubham Nag catches up with India’s latest musical sensation for a freewheeling chat on everything that makes music. ( Illustrated by Soumik Lahiri ) April 2013

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I N T E R V I E W

S OME WHE RE

BY T HE

SE A Ambai, the Tamil feminist writer on how music, life and cinema weave their way into her writings. By Nidhi Dugar Kundalia

Most of your writings deal with the politics of the family and the language of women. Could you elaborate on that? Basically, my stories are about communication, relationships. These fleeting moments which I live and weave into stories. Politics of the family is a despairing thought to deal with. I look at the family as an institution which has a certain discrimination against women. As an institution, it’s patriarchal. So it places women in certain ways within its construct. So I’m basically trying to look at women who are breaking those barriers or women who have stayed in it and how women function within this family institution. Do these stories stem from personal experiences? It doesn’t. I think that even if you internalise somebody else’s experience, it becomes personal. Everything I write is subjective; it’s from our experiential world. I don’t live it, but I make it my own. Back when you started off, what kind of reception did your writings receive? Popular magazines which, back then, would set limits to what women can write. My early writing was published in these magazines which dealt with themes not conducive to them. When I wrote a story which was a little offbeat, had a new tone, it would get sent back. I thought that probably something must have been wrong with my writing. That’s when I went to Delhi. I sent a rejected piece to a journal there. They agreed to publish it but only after changing the language and tone. I refused to give my story to them. 54 | KINDLE INDIA

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I N T E R V I E W

L OV E , AND

LT H EI F E

MO V I E S

One of the most exciting contemporary Indian filmmakers, Dibakar Banerjee in a no holds barred conversation on art,life,economics, new films and more. Caution: This isn’t about romancing the arts. By Sayan Bhattacharya. Why are you so sceptical about who your audience is and how they receive your films? No, not at all! The fact that I don’t know my audience, why do you associate scepticism with it? It’s an honest admission, that doesn’t mean that I’m sceptical about it. I’m saying I don’t know what my audience is. No, but at a literary meet, you spoke about the reception to Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, how some perceive it as only a comedy.... I just gave you an example, that doesn’t mean that thousands of other people haven’t come to me and said, oh they loved the film and have got each and every detail of it. But if I say I’m creating an audience, that is such a pompous statement to make. What do you mean that I’m creating an audience? It means nothing. I’m making a film and some people are watching it. And that’s about it; I don’t know who my audience is. I just hope to God that I’m making a film and somebody sees it, really. It’s got no scepticism at all. You have made 4 very interesting films, very different in terms of content, and yet you think you haven’t created an audience base. Atleast that’s a lot of critics and a lot people say that you have… 56 | KINDLE INDIA

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PHOTO ESSAY

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his series is a photographic exploration of the Night through various physical spaces that I have been a part of and experienced. I have been in awe of the Night and the myriad hues that it presents itself in. I strive in my images to seek sense out of life that exists within the layered folds of that darkness. This is an effort to capture what the Night means for me as well as for others who are in direct and often brutal confrontation with the Night. N I G H T

Night time Beach is the second chapter in the series on nighttime spaces. The beach at night is a quiet place, left to quieter contemplations, once the tourists leave‌ the sandy shores safely go back to their own selves, relieved of the daytime din,

T I M E B E A C H B Y A R K O D A T T O .

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RNI NO. WBENG/2010/36111 Regd. No. KOL RMS/429/2011-2013

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kindle magazine april 2013  

kindle magazine, april 2013

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