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Desi competition in Goa

A group of students from Kolkata aim to take classic films to the masses. They are screening films like Battleship Potemkin in mobile theatres.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2005 12:43 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Even as avid cinegoers flock to the ongoing International Film Festival of India, a motley group of students from Kolkata have arrived in Panajion a mission to take meaningful cinema to the masses.

Since October 2003, members of the film appreciation and research group 'Drishya' have made it their avowed aim to make world cinema accessible to underprivileged people across India.

The group has just returned from a trip to Mumbai in November, where they screened Sergei Eisenstein's film Battleship Potemkin in the slums of Dharavi.

Armed with an LCD projector and VCDs of classics like Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thief and Akira Kurusawa's Rashomon, members of Drishya travel across the country opening people's eyes to an exotic visual treat.

"The response was amazing. They loved movies despite the language barrier. This only shows that cinema does not need language and is powerful as a visual medium in itself," Sunetro Bandhopadhya, a student of Jadavpur University, told.

A still from Vittorio De Sica's classis flick Bicycle Thief. 

Bandhopadhya rues the lack of interest among the educated classes for meaningful cinema. "We are trying to raise funds for our activities. It's very difficult to get these classics in India," he said.

In Goa on a visit which coincides with IFFI 2005, 'Drishya' also plans to conduct screenings of De Sica's classic in various schools and universities.

Taking time out from their busy schedule, Bandhopadhya and his colleague Chiranjeeb Mukherjee are also catching up on world cinema at the film festival.

"The auditoria at the IFFI venue are too small. Many more people should be given an opportunity to watch and appreciate these films," says Bandhopadhya.

'Drishya' has been suffering from a perennial lack of funds, but members have been trying their best to cope up.

"We are paying from our own pockets to get from place to place. Some filmmakers like Buddhadeb Dasgupta, the director of Kaalpurush,have been trying to help us," he said.

First Published: Dec 03, 2005 15:43 IST