It isn’t everyday when we get to have a seminar on the diverse landscape of Indian cinema so I was pretty intrigued when I received the e-flyer on Thursday morning as I personally did not know much about Bollywood (apart from the elaborate music and incredibly synchronised dance numbers) before, this seminar was certainly an eye-opener.
We had the opportunity to interact with two speakers on 31st of October – Munsur Ali and Jayanta Kumar Ray. These two gentlemen are humble characters who have not only graced us with snippets of their experiences through the years spent in their respective film industries, but also with the trailers of their films that will be screened at the Darpan Bengali Film Festival. We wished though the films had been screened for the seminar. The Darpan Bengali Film Festival started as in 2012, represents and celebrates the ties and integration between cultures through the arts. With that, it continues to strive to portray cinema as an art form year after year.
First up was Munsur Ali. A screenwriter, director and producer; Ali has brought to us an interesting first – a British film written, produced and directed by a British Bangladeshi. Shongram, as it is titled, was also Ali’s debut feature film.
He shared that that the film covers a story of forbidden love during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971; perhaps Bollywood’s version of Romeo and Juliet. Ali also shared how he overcame the difficulties when it came to the making of this film. Since Ali was based in UK and he had shot Shongram in Bangladesh, one of his biggest concerns was the shipping of his equipment to the film location. Apart from that, he also had to cross the communication obstacles by using his limited Bangladeshi to communicate effectively with his actors, as well as to edit the film to his best ability.
Apart from this feature, Ali has had his fair share of experience in the industry which include setting up Spotlight UK; an independent video and film production company which has allowed him to work alongside various global names. He also founded Limelight Film Awards; which has earned him a Civic Award by Tower Hamlets, as well as Epic Media Wedding Productions.
Our next guest was Jayanta Kumar Ray who is a prominent figure in India’s film and media industry. A graduate from Calcutta University, Ray has shifted between various film and media companies before eventually settling down into Reliance Entertainment. He shared that his film Jaatishwar is a musical set in the present timel, produced by Reliance Entertainment. Apart from sharing the trailer for Jaatishwar with us, he also shared two more trailers to show us the comparison between certain types of film in the Bollywood cinema and a little more about Reliance Entertainment.
The company has worked alongside prominent names in the Hollywood market and has grown to be India’s largest cinema chain with over 500 screens spread across countries such as US, Malaysia, Nepal and Netherlands. They also offer a wide range of Film Services and have built up a great production slate of Hindi, English and other various Indian dialects. With all these achievements, it is no wonder that Reliance Entertainment is ranked amongst the top 3 business houses. All in all, the short session shed some light to the dynamic film productions spilling out from India.
Shayne Wong is a Level One film student aspiring to major in production design. She also enjoys a good cup of coffee and a good book or two.