Bengali cinema documentary heralds start of Channel 4’s autumn Indian film season

Channel 4’s autumn Indian film season kicks off in the early hours of tomorrow morning and its recent trend to look further than the Mumbai film industry continues.

It begins, unusually, with a documentary in Bengali – though made by Polish director Andrzej Fidyk – about a mobile cinema run by Mr Battu and his two assistants.

Battu’s Bioscope (1998) is the first in a seven-strong run of documentaries about the many faces of India’s obsession with cinema titled Cinema On Cinema and will be followed later next month a quintet of Bollywood feature films. Continue reading

Must you hear this?

1001 Albums To Hear Before You DieThis year’s Father’s Day present was 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Handed over by Son1 with a knowing ‘well, you’d better get a move on then’, the door-step sized book goes from 1955 (Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours) to 2013 (The Next Day by David Bowie).

As suggested listening it struggles with anything post-2000, giving you the feeling that either millennial music has yet to coalesce into a, more or less, canonical list, or that after 2000 the increasingly internet-driven music culture has diverged in so many different ways that consensus will be increasingly  hard to reach. Continue reading

Indian film season begins with Qissa and Bhuvan Shome

Bhuvan ShomeThe first of Channel 4’s two Indian film seasons begins tonight/in the early hours of tomorrow with Qissa (2013), an award-winning social drama/fantasy is set at the time of India’s partition in 1947.

It’s the first of six films to be screened over the coming weeks that draw on “moving stories from across the country”, according to the UK television station.

Director Anup Singh’s tale – told in Punjabi with English subtitles – tells the story of Umber Singh (Irrfan Khan), a Sikh forced, with his wife and three daughters, to flee his village in the new state of Pakistan.  Continue reading

Aparajito (অপরাজিত) tonight

Satyajit Ray's Aparajito (The Unvanquished)

Bengali films on TV are even rarer than posts on this blog in recent months.

So it’s nice to see Film 4 giving Satyaji Ray’s 1956 film Aparajito (অপরাজিত) an outing tonight/tomorrow morning.

Aparajito is the second part of Ray’s famous Apu Trilogy (following Pather Panchali and preceding Apur Sansar). Continue reading

বড়দিন মেলা – বাংলা দিনলিপি

Christmas Santas by @Jorbasa

Weihnachtsmarkt – Christmas fair (Flickr: @Jorbasa)

গতকাল বড়দিন মেলায়ের জন্য আমার ছট্ট ছেলেয়ের স্কুলে গিয়েছিলাম |

মেলাটা কুব মোজা ছিল (অন্তত, ছেলেদের জন্য) । ছট্ট ছেলে সানতা দেখে উপহার দিয়েছিলে – একটা নতুন পাদিনতন বালুর বই |

Continue reading

Bengali numbers (1-50) [audio only]

After posting my Bengali numbers (1-50) video to my recently reactivated A Tangle of Wires on Facebook page it was suggested that – as good as YouTube is – isolating the audio file of my Indian father-in-law counting from 1-50 to help me with my pronunciation would be useful.

A quick play around with the remarkably user-friendly SoundCloud and here it is in its full, downloadable mp3 glory.

The Bengali Bonti and fish preparation

Maachwala – Cutting and Cleaning Fish the Bengali Way – New Delhi, India from Parvati Dev on Vimeo.

Despite the recent incursion of knives, peelers, graters, and other modern, Western-style kitchen utensils, the bonti is still alive and well in the rural and urban kitchens of Bengal – Gastronomica

Or, in the case of Parvati Dev’s above video, it’s in the hands of the local – Bengali – fish seller who comes calling with fish and neighbourhood news that the ‘bonti’ makes an appearance.