Article about drishya and its founder members Chiranjeeb Mukherjee and Sunetro bannerjee in ahmedabad times today
Film buffs on a mission
A film appreciation and research club aims to make people understand that there is life beyond Bollywood with the help of cinema masterpieces like Pather Panchali, Apur Sansar....
“Cinema is not an art which films life, it is something between art and life. Unlike painting and literature, cinema gives to life and takes from it,” French filmmaker Jeun Luc Godard once said. Ever wondered what movies can do to you beyond entertainment? For Sunetro Banerjee, Chiranjib Mukherjee and a bunch of others, it is a medium through which they want to make a difference to the society. They are members of Drishya, a Kolkata based ‘film appreciation and research group’, that boasts of a collection of classics made by filmmakers like Luis Bunuel, Rikwik Ghatak, Aparna Sen and Ingmar Bergman. “Our primary motive is to make people understand that there is life beyond Bollywood. Cinema is a very strong medium, and masterpieces can make a big difference,” says Sunetro Banerjee, a student of film studies. Drishya was formed by a bunch of ‘movie buffs’ three years back when they realised that people living in slums of West Bengal would love to watch pure Bengali films. “We started screening movies like Pather Panchali, Apur Sansar, Meghe Dhaka Tara, The Bicycle Thief — with which the villages would easily relate to. Initially, we were very sceptical about whether the villagers will come for the screening. But they used to come in big numbers. We used to have interactive sessions with them after the screenings which made us understand their perspective,” says Banerjee. Gradually Drishya moved to bigger cities. “The problem is people are not aware that such classics are being made. And even if they are, these are not easily available on DVDs,” says Banerjee. Drishya has screened movies in the slums of Dharavi, in temples, police stations, colleges and in corporate houses across India. “We feel great when people react to the films. Once we screened The Bicycle Thief for some constables. After watching the film they were really touched and realised that sometimes circumstances lead people to commit crimes. Once, after watching a film, the slum kids of Dharavi were in tears. This is our mission. We don’t want to initiate a revolt. We just want to use the medium of cinema to raise some social issue,” he says. The group is currently in Ahmedabad for a few days and will be screening films at IIM. And they are also hoping that some well connected and generous film buffs, help them out in their mission.
(Here you see chiranjeeb on left and Sunetro on the right in this picture)