Time: Thursday, July 9at 7:00pm
Venue: Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
In the 20th edition of FD Zone Delhi, we bring you 'The Inner Eye', directed by Satyajit Ray and 'Katha Loknath' [Retold by Loknath], directed by Rajula Shah.
'The Inner Eye' is Satyajit Ray’s tribute to his old teacher at Shantiniketan and one of the masters of Indian modern art, Benode Behari Mukherjee. The film is an intimate exploration of the artist and his work, the inner eye of the artist who transcends his physical condition of blindness in the creation of his art. 'Katha Loknath', in the director’s own words, is a film “about a child being told a story, of going to the genesis of creation and exploring the mystery of creation.” The film poses a question about whether a story can ever be complete. When a story simultaneously inhabits the present and the past, when it moves between history and ahistoricity, mythology and poetry, the story pushes itself outside of time and space, the film turns into a reflection on the idea of story-telling itself.
What runs through both these films is the process of artistic creation and its intangibility, that what we see or hear in the form of a painting or a story may sometimes have its origins in places that cannot be easily grasped – the inner vision of Benode Behari Mukherjee, the timelessness of Loknath’s story.
The Inner Eye /B&W/1972/English/21 min
Dir. Satyajit Ray
At the age of 54, Benode Behari Mukherjee, an accomplished painter, lost his sight following an unsuccessful cataract operation. He continued to create art despite his loss of sight. The documentary explores Benode Behari Mukherjee’s inner eye that guides his fingers to create art.
[Script & Commentary Satyajit Ray Photography Soumendu Roy Editor Dulal Dutta Produced by Films Division]
Katha Loknath/Colour/2012/44 min
Dir. Rajula Shah
Amidst everyday human, electronic chatter and traffic noise, a child dreams up the universe. In flashes of lightning, a specter unfolds; the mother's voice beckons the unborn to the world. Amidst rolling thunder, it wakes up to myriad tellings of the same tale. One day we will go to Sonpur- Mother tells the child.
The World gets populated. Space is re-consecrated. Time is eternally confused. Illusive historic truth, absurd evidences that spare none, eternally haunt Time until given a place in the story. On the banks of Mahanadi, lives a potter named Loknath. He knows many stories. It begins from before the world was made and goes on till ever after. Nobody knows the whole story. Parts of stories lie hidden in the rubble and ruin of history. None knows where it begins, nor where it ends. And yet it is not as much of a misfortune to not know this, as it is to wonder if there be a story at all.
Loknath enters the landscape of his own telling and becomes Rudrapal; the mythical river whirls into the real river of Loknath's daily bath; the unborn child wakes up to the ancient tales resonating in the womb of a city; the monkey god seeks an adventure to the city fair; stories curl up like caterpillars on the museum plate while the child grows out of a story and into another. Perhaps it is possible to look at the blanks in History as the lapse each story fills, in the language of its myth and transformations. One wonders what a 'fiction' has to do with its 'documentary evidence'. How does one look for the 'timeless' in the 'historical'?
In front of the digital camera, everything that we have known till now as epical, fictional, documentary, poetic, magical and so on, assumes its assigned role in the story of a Loknath. An ancient story tied to its tail, the god with the feet of clay stalks the decrepit age of the museum. An eternity passes. The story gathers moss. The child asks for another story.
[Images Arghya Basu, Rajula Shah Editing Arghya Basu Sound design Rajula Shah
Sound mixing Gautam Nair Produced by Seasongray]
About Rajula Shah –
Rajula’s work falls in the interstice of Poetry, Cinema and Anthropology. A sustained dialogue with indigenous knowledge systems, its practitioners and the changing practices thereof have formed the core of her study. Her practice emerges through a close collaboration with people, their histories and environments.
She has been producing/ directing short films & documentaries for over a decade and
has worked extensively in film and video, exploring the boundaries of fiction/non-fiction, photography, video essays and digital art. She also develops scripts in collaboration with fellow artists and people on the margins living/working at the interstice of practice and performance. Rajula also writes fiction and poetry in Hindi and her poetry has been published by Bhartiya Gyanpeeth. She also writes on cinema and has been on the faculty of Film and Television Institute of India.