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Film screening in Mumbai: Silent cinema, live music hark back to a bygone era

Dreaming in Colour was the title of the event held at the Magnolia furniture store’s cultural space on Sunday evening.

mumbai Updated: May 28, 2018 13:00 IST
Jayati Bhola
Jayati Bhola
Hindustan Times
mumbai,film,silent era
70 viewers transported to an earlier time at Dreaming in Colour, a film screening event, at Worli on Sunday.(Pratik Chorge/HT )

“Close your eyes and imagine a colour”. Muted burgundy, said a voice from the audience, to a roar of laughter.

Dreaming in Colour was the title of the event held at the Magnolia furniture store’s cultural space in Worli on Sunday evening, and it transported the 70 viewers present back to the silent era of black and white films.

Le Dirigeable Fantastique (The Inventor Crazybrains and His Wonderful Airship) and Cendrillon ou La Pantoufle Merveilleuse (Cinderella) by George Méliès were among four films from the late 1800s and early 1900s screened over a little above an hour.

As in the silent era, the moving pictures were backed by a live score – in this case, six Mumbai-based musicians: Tajdar Junaid on guitar, Rohan Rajadhyaksha on keys, Ajay Jayanthi on violin, Abhinav Khokhar on bass, Ankit Dayal on percussion and vocals and Viraj Saxena on drums.

“We wanted to focus on early cinema. We chose these films as they were shorter in length and made sense from a viewing and performing experience,” said Krish Makhija, curator for the event and partner at Mosambi Juice Productions, which organised the event.

The score, curated by Rajadhyaksha, was uplifting and layered as different musicians came on board to collaborate.

“This is the first time we’ve done a project like this and was surreal to see so many people turn up. We really enjoyed making the music for these films live,” he said.

Shruti Sunderraman, 26, a freelance writer from Mulund felt the event gave a life to cinema that she had never experienced before. “The ensemble was so beautifully curated,” she added.

Maulika Gandhi, owner of Mangnolia, said she hopes to host more events like this one, alongside creative people from the city. “These films were made almost 200 years ago and to see them reinterpreted alongside music so modern – jazz, waltz, a mix of everything – was delightful,” said Bhavika Bhatia, 23, a graphic designer from Kandivli.

First Published: May 28, 2018 00:23 IST