Category Archives: Art
A mob of CPM harmads attack a female police officer
On 13 May, 2011 when the entire State of West Bengal heaved a sigh of relief after ousting the Left from power, one had hoped that the dinosaurs that inhabit Alimuddin Street would learn a lesson, introspection and opt for course-correction. That they have chosen not to is evident in the manner in which they chose to blame the electorate for their defeat. And if the last four years are any indication, the Left are still happily residing in the dark ages, relishing their archaic policies rejected by the people.
The manner in which Rani Rashmoni Avenue was taken over by armed harmads pelting stones and bricks at police, anyone could have mistaken Kolkata for Srinagar. Months before Assembly elections, the dinosaurs of Alimuddin suddenly woke up from slumber and wanted to “display their strength”. Police was attacked, a hundred laws broken, even women officers not spared by the murderous mob! The ugly scenes on TV yesterday reminded me once again why I had voted against the Communists in 2011 and will proudly do so again in 2016.
Old habits die hard
In 2001, when Jyoti Basu abdicated his throne for his successor Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, a section of media had hailed it as reform. Constant efforts by a popular Bengali media house portrayed Buddhadeb as a moderate who was interested in “industrialisation”. We all are witness to the manner in which he led his party in the ruthless game of land grabbing for his “Bourgeoisie” friends. Hollow slogans and muscle power of the harmads was all people got in return of the promises of moon before 2006 elections.
CPM harmads beating up police with bamboo sticks
“Dheki Sworge giyeo dhan bhange” is a popular proverb in Bengal. CPI(M) too finds it hard to shed its politics of violence. In the past one year alone, the CITU has called over a dozen taxi strikes (foiled every time by people who chose luxury app-based cabs over yellow cabs which specialize in refusal). Like an annual vacation ritual, calling a general strike is also their favourite pastime! No lessons learnt from the past, these dinosaurs keep taking public sentiment for granted.
No To Bandh
People of Bengal are tired of bandhs. We have had enough of forced holidays, stalled productivity and brain drain. We want to work. No one is stopping those who want to exercise their democratic right to protest. But the protesters have no right to stop us from going to our workplaces. Forget the middle class; the hapless daily wagers are the worst affected in a bandh. These old men who shout their lungs out do not feel an iota of shame in depriving those poor people from earning a day’s wage!
Mamata Banerjee, when she was in Opposition, has also called bandhs. We have not forgotten that in December, 2006 we only got one week worth classes, thanks to her andolan! However, I admire her for she realised the futility of this archaic mode of protests and decided to give up the bandh culture in 2008. After assuming office in 2011, she made it amply clear that bandhs will not be tolerated.
From running extra government buses to making attendance mandatory (at the cost of losing a day’s salary), she has crushed the forces anarchy with a strong hand. The results are for everyone to see. A large number of people who would otherwise stay indoors on bandh day because of the fear of violence now fearlessly travel to their offices. The failed bandh on 18 August is an example for all. People were determined to work. The administration kept public life normal. The “bandh” was thus restricted to a pocket or two where the goons of Congress had a stronghold.
The lesson in this episode is that people of Bengal are tired of the culture of violence and fear-mongering that prevails in our public discourse. People want peace and progress. We want jobs, not forced holidays because few old men with graying hair want to flex their muscles!
It is high time these out-of-work septuagenarians woke up and smelled the coffee!
No other filmmaker, apart from Kurosawa, has encompassed a whole culture; and no other filmmaker has covered such a range, from pure farce to high tragedy and from musical fantasies to detective stories. No other filmmaker has donned so many hats – from the writer to the illustrator, music composer, dialogue writer.
In the beginning of his career Ray worked with some of greatest music maestros of Indian classical music; Pandit Ravi Shankar for the Apu Trilogy and Parash Pathar, Ustad Vilayat Khan for Jalsaghar and Ali Akbar Khan for Devi. Since Teen Kanya (1961), he began composing the music for his films.
“The reason why I do not work with professional composers any more is that I get too many musical ideas of my own, and composers, understandably enough, resent being guided too much”, he said.
He would start working on music in very early stages of a production – sometimes as early as in the script stage. He would keep notes of the music ideas as they evolved. After completing the final edit, he would usually shut himself in his study for several days to compose the music. He meticulously wrote the scores in either Indian or western notation depending on musicians.
“… the pleasure of finding out that the music sounds as you had imagined it would, more than compensates for the hard work that goes into it. The final pleasure, of course, is in finding out that it not only sounds right but is also right for the scene for which it was meant” he wrote.
To him the role of music was to make things simpler for the audience. “If I were the only audience, I wouldn’t be using music! … I have always felt that music is really an extraneous element, that one should be able to do without it, express oneself without it”, he said.
He loved experimenting. He is one of the earliest composers in India to try mixing western and Indian elements in his scores. He composed a background music that belonged a particular film rather than to any recognisable tradition. The music in his film complemented the narrative and personified the characters. He avidly listened to the western classical masters and incorporated their compositions in his own creations. He even dared experimenting with Rabindrasangeet in Ghare Baire, at a time when Viswa Bharati had earned the reputation of censuring anyone who did not conform to their rules.
“I fear his range may never be fully understood, given that his films describe Bengal, which (unlike Japan) is of little political, economic or cultural importance to the world – and in a language unknown even to most Indians,” wrote Andrew Robinson in his Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye.
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