Wednesday October 18, 2017

5th Kolkata International Film Festival inaugurated at Nandan

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By Arnab Mitra

Kolkata: The 5th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival kicked off on December 22 at Nandan in the presence of Finance Minister Amit Mitra, Minister of housing, youth affairs, transport and sport Aroop Biswas, and Minister of women and child development and social welfare Shashi Panja.

‘An anthology on the life and works of Laurel and Hardy’ was launched at the festival to commemorate the 125th birth centenary of renowned comic actors Stan Laurel  and Buster Keaton.

The first day of the festival saw the screening of two films– ‘Killa’ directed by Avinash Arun, and ‘The Last Day of Summer Vacation’ directed by Shri Debesh Chattopadhyay.

“Due to the effect of globalization, we are gradually losing our childhood,” said Amit Mitra.

He further congratulated Arpita Ghosh and the entire team of Shishu Kishore Academy for organising this film festival and for giving children the opportunity to show their creativity.

“Some children at this tender age has glorified India’s image in front of the entire world. I congratulate the entire team of ‘Killa’ and especially the director Avinash Arun for achieving the most prestigious Crystal Bear Award in the Berlin International Film Festival”, added Mitra.

“Today the parents want their children to be Lata Mangeskar if they learn music, Sourav Ganguly in cricket, Baichun Bhutia in football. The pressure created is pathetic! If everyone has to be the ‘best’, the word would lose its very meaning,” said Aroop Biswas

“However, I commend the efforts of the members of Shishu Kishore Academy, and our chief miniter Mamata Banerjee for organising a film festival based on children,” he added.

“I don’t understand how children come in conflict with the law. How do we become so complex when growing up towards adulthood?” said Shashi Panja.

The week-long festival which ends on December 29 will screen 160 films from 20 countries at different venues such as Nandan-I, Nandan-II, Nandan-III, Rabindra Sadan, Sisir Mancha, Star Theatre, Rabindra Tirtha and Ahindra Mancha.

The festival will drop its curtain with the film ‘Pappu ki Pugdandi’ directed by Seema Desai.

 

 

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The Invisible Coolie Shines in ‘The Cutlass’ (Comment: Special to Newsgram)

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The Cutlass
Dr. Kumar Mahabir

Aug 21, 2017: “Coolie” is the name of the character played by Narad Mahabir in the play directed by Errol Hill titled Man Better Man.

The local play was performed at NAPA in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in June and an excerpt was staged in August during the premiere of the CARIFESTA festival. Mahabir was given a minor role as the lone Indo-Trinidadian (Indian) villager in the musical which was laced with humorous dialogue, Kalinda dances and calypso songs.

Except for recent plays written and directed by Indians like Victor Edwards, Seeta Persad and Walid Baksh, Indian actors and actresses have been given minor roles or none at all (“invisible”) in “national” theatre and cinema. In this context, The Cutlass is a movie with a difference. And indeed, the tagline of the movie on the cinema poster is “A breakthrough in Caribbean Cinema.”

Surprisingly, Arnold Goindhan is given the lead role (by the non-Indian TeneilleNewallo) as of the kidnapper named “Al” in The Cutlass. Paradoxically, he is given only a fleeting presence in the film’s trailerHe is the only Indian actor and the only character who is Indian, in a movie that is based on crime, race and class.

As a villain, Al is portrayed as an evil Indian Hindu. A calendar painting of the anthropomorphic Hindu god, Lord Hanuman (The Remover of Obstacles) is captured fleetingly on the wall of Al’s forest camp. In the film world of poetic justice The Cutlass, light must overcome darkness, whiteness must overwhelm blackness, and Christianity must conquer Hinduism. The pendant of Virgin Mary in the hands of the white kidnapped victim must overpower Hanuman.

Goindhan is a full-time Indian actor from Malick in Barataria who also sings and plays music. The “Island Movie Blog” on August 11 noted that when Goindhan “keeps his portrayal subtle, he really shines.” The July/August edition of the Caribbean Beat magazine stated that The Cutlass has delivered “compelling performances” to audiences.

The kidnap movie premiered to a sold-out audience at the T&T Film Festival in 2016 received rave reviews. It copped the T&T Film Festival’s Best Trinidad and Tobago Feature Film and People’s Choice awards. The Cutlass was also screened at international film festivals such as the Cannes Film Mart at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The last time an Indian was chosen for a major role in a local feature film was 43 years ago in 1974. That film was titled Bim which featured Ralph (Anglicised from Rabindranath) Maraj playing the role of Bim/Bheem Sing. Bim was based on the composite life of a notorious assassin, Boysie Singh, and aggressive trade unionist and Hindu leader, Bhadase Sagan Maraj.

As an actor, Ralph Maraj was preceded by Basdeo Panday who became the first Indian in the Caribbean to appear on a big screen in Nine Hours to Rama (1963). The movie was about the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Panday also acted in two other British cinematic movies: Man in the Middle (1964) and The Brigand of Kandahar (1965).

But the Indo-Caribbean actor who has earned the honour of starring in the most movies – Hollywood included – is Errol Sitahal. He acted in Tommy Boy (1995), A Little Princess (1995) and Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004).

Valmike Rampersadand Dinesh (“Dino”) Maharaj is rising stars to watch. Originally from Cedros, Dinesh is the lead actor in Moko Jumbie, a new feature film by Indo-Trinidadian-American Vashti Anderson. Moko Jumbie was selected for screening at the 2017 LA Film Festival.

Dinesh acted in the local television series, Westwood Park (1997–2004). His cinematic film credits include portrayals in Klash (1996), The Mystic Masseur (2001) and Jeffrey’s Calypso (2005).

Nadia Nisha Kandhai is the lead actress in the upcoming screen adaptation of the novel, Green Days by the River.

There is a real danger in marginalising Indians in theatre and film when they are in fact the largest ethnic group in T&T according to the 2011 CSO census data. Cultivation theory states that images in the media strongly influence perceptions of the real-world. This theory was developed by communication researchers George Gerbner and Larry Gross of the University of Pennsylvania in 1976.

The Cutlass can transmit the following wrong perceptions of reality: (1) Hinduism is evil, (2) Indians are one percent of the population, (3) there are few Indian actors, (4) Indians constitute the majority of kidnappers, and (5) the majority of kidnapped victims are white.

I presented a research paper in 2005 based on 40 cases of kidnapping in T&T. My findings revealed that 78% of the victims were Indians, and according to the survivors, the overwhelming majority of the kidnappers were Afro ex-police and army strongmen.

Watch Trailer: The Cutlass

 

The Writer is an anthropologist who has published 11 books


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Indian American Animator Wins the Prestigious Award from Accolade Global Film Competition

The animator had also won ILDA 2007 Artistic Award in Laser Photography

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Indian American
Accolade Global Film Festival is a prestigious award for filmmakers and animators. Wikimedia
  • Manick Sorcar is an Indian American living in Denver
  • The exceptional laserist and animator has won the Accolade Global Film Competition Award
  • Manick is the son of the popular and legendary magician P.C Sorcar

Denver. August 2, 2017: Denver-based, Indian-American laserist and animator Manick Sorcar has won the prestigious Award of Merit from The Accolade Global Film Competition for his animation “Beautiful Mess”.

Also Read: Indian American Lawyer Neomi Rao to lead White House Regulatory Affairs Office

The Accolade recognizes film, television, videography and new media professionals who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change.

This is not the first laser animation of Sorcar that got international recognition. He won the ILDA 2015 Artistic Award for ‘Light Art in Shower Ocean’ in Innovative Application of Laser category from the International Laser Display Association.

Sorcar had also won the ILDA 2007 Artistic Award in Laser Photography category for his laser art “Reflection” and the ILDA Artistic Award for Best Use of Lasers in Live Stage Performance for his “Enlightenment of Buddha”.

According to the Accolade, in winning this award, Sorcar joins the ranks of other high-profile winners of this internationally respected award, including the Oscar winning production of “The Lady in Number Six” by Malcolm Clarke, the talented Dave Bossert of Disney for his short documentary, and “The Tunes Behind The Toons”.

(IANS)

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Second Bengal International Short Film Festival (BISFF) kicks-off with a rich roster of Regional, Foreign and Silent Films

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The second Bengal International Short Film Festival (BISFF) got underway here on Monday with a rich roster of regional, foreign and silent films. Wikimedia

Kolkata, June 5, 2017: The second Bengal International Short Film Festival (BISFF) got underway here on Monday with a rich roster of regional, foreign and silent films, organisers said.

Films in Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi, Urdu and silent films in addition to projects from the US, France, Italy, Britain, Bangladesh, and New Zealand are being screened till June 11 in the festival organised by Bengal Film & Television Chamber of Commerce (BFTCC).

“We are trying our very best to create a favourable climate for movie making in the state and that is the motto of BFTCC. The film festival is to inspire amateurs, budding and professional film makers to come up with more original and inspiring material,” said Firdausul Hasan, President of Film Federation of India. (IANS)