Author: Soumitra Chattopadhyay
Mohan Agashe/Kumar Shahani
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8186017534
Throughout the eighties and into the nineties in Kolkata, there was a fresh surge of enthusiasm, activity and animated discussion around good cinema-the goodness measured by different parameters by different players in the field, covering films with clear messages on or documenting human problems; films that become significant only when one has cracked the code embedded in their obscure technique; the film classics; and of course films representing the new waves within the country and abroad. The trend as such was not entirely new. But what the new generation brought to it was a passion that emboldened them to reject the professional choices offered by an extremely competitive market, and opt for the uncertain prospects of the profession of filmmaking. They felt a compulsion to step beyond the safe and limited role of a viewer and plunge into the challenge of making films.
There are individuals who are merely letters of an alphabet, there are those very few who become sensational news. There are many of a different breed altogether-those who slowly shape into news through their deeds, their creative endeavours. Nandini Sanyal-whom we lovingly called Papu-was shaping into news through her work, when she was suddenly stuck down by an accident and turned into a shocking piece of news of a kind that we had never envisaged. Members of her family and those who knew her closely have come together to form a Nandini Sanyal Smarak Committee. Since cinema was her first and ultimate love, the committee has resolved to hold every year a seminar or a dialogue centring on cinema, but drawing into its purview anything that is related to or involved in cinema, e g music, theatre, acting or the visual arts. The theme chosen for this evening’s session, the first of the series, is: Acting in cinema, Acting in Theatre.
NANDINI SANYAL (1968-98), with a Masters in geology, opted for the profession of film editing, after training at the Film and television Institute of India, Pune. She was barely thirty when she was killed in a railway accident that brought a promising career to a premature end.
The Nandini Sanyal Memorial Lectures, instituted in her memory, propose to draw filmmakers and film viewers together into a series of public dialogues on different aspects of cinema, allowing for several contentious issues to be addressed and explored, and maybe even clarified in the process.
The first three in the series, collected in this volume, centre round acting in cinema from different perspectives, as experienced and defined by an eminent stage and screen actor, an actor who is also a professional psychiatrist, and a film director. In the first part of each of these Lectures, the main speaker is interviewed by an arts and media critic; in the following part, he answers questions from an invited audience.