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May 22, 2011

Page: 20/48

Home > 2011 Issues > May 22, 2011

Cinemaya of Indian cinema
(Asian Film Journeys: Selections from Cinemaya, Rashmi Doraiswamy & Latika Padgaonkar (eds.), Wisdom Tree, Pp 640, Rs 1495.00) —MG

THIS is a compilation of some path-breaking articles earlier published in Cinemaya, a magazine brought out by Aruna Vasudev, but which is no longer in publication. The articles are by some of Asia’s finest writers engaged in writing about the cinema of their time, bearing witness to developments as they took place. Cinemaya came out at a time when there was a vacuum of information on Asian cinema and when Asia was beginning to capture the imagination of the world for a variety of political, economic and cultural reasons. Globalisation and the idea of one world market made Asia important; however heterogeneous a continent it was.

As claimed by the editors, the principles behind the selection of the articles in this volume under review are threefold: to reflect the range of countries that Cinemaya covered from 1988 to 2004; to carry the writings of its regular contributors and to encompass the wide-ranging issues, dealt with in the articles. So such essays, interviews and reports have been included in this book that focus on the masters of Indian cinema, on historical overviews of Asian industries, on contemporary movements that were taking shape and not the existing state of cinema in a given country.

The book begins with an article by Zakir Hossain Raju who writes on the film industry of Bangladesh which, after the 1971 liberation war, was caught in a state of uncertainty but soon recovered through active encouragement from the administration and took up a spectacular number of film productions. He also writes how the Bangladesh Film Society today has grown to organise courses in filmmaking, workshops, seminars, film-appreciation courses apart from producing films.

On India, there is an article on Satyajit Ray which shows that Ray evidently was making films on India for the foreign viewers and another article on Guru Dutt who had faults and virtues as a filmmaker but whom none can forget for his “poetic understanding of the role of memory in life and art.”

The book provides good reference material for those doing research on trends in Asian cinema as it presents an overview of the histories, cultures, societies of the Asian countries through their cinemas and how new tends are creeping in to keep the film industry alive and kicking in Asia.

(Wisdom Tree, 4479/23, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110 002;

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