Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory - Moinak Biswas - Film Studies, Jadavpur University
Thinking History: Ritwik Ghatak’s Subarnarekha
The lecture examines the work of the Indian filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak (1925-76). Ghatak set out to create a cinema that could speak to a predicament that continues to this day – the loss of home and homeland. The partition of India in 1947 formed the immediate backdrop, but he was looking for a means to develop this experience into a general symptom of homelessness. He tried to work out a form that could capture the unfolding of ordinary lives in the wake of 1947, and figure the epochal resonance of that process. Moinak Biswas examines the logic of narrative transition in Ghatak’s film, Subarnarekha (The Golden Line, 1962). Ghatak drew from English chronicle plays in structuring the film. He also created an abundance of coincidences, which alienated his already unsympathetic critics, and emerges as an important theme in the film. As it tells the story of a refugee family moving into new settlements, Subarnarekha adopts a seemingly simple technique of indicating the passage of time. On closer inspection, the transitions appear to be making secret connections across time and consciousness. Biswas looks at how such elements enable thought in cinema.
Introduction by Anustup Basu (English/MACS)