Bengali Cinema and class

nagarikI was asked for recommendations of films on Class and Caste by Dipa for her course in LA.  Just a few very quick suggestions of the top of my head. I’ve no idea if these are readily available in Hollywood, but I’d expect they should be:

Bengali Films on class [and caste] would start with almost anything by Mrinal Sen (we screened a bunch of these at Goldsmiths last year):

Sen’s film “Kharij” is great for its critique of middle class life. He made this after his Calcutta revolution trilogy. Though I guess that’s more class politics than caste, of course it can also be seen that the boy is of lower caste as well. Its a pretty amazing film.

Or you might look at the films of Ritwik Ghatak, starting with Nagarik 1952, an early Marxist statement dealing with partition – predates Satyajit Ray’s “Pather Panchali” by a few years, but not released till after Ritwik died of alcohol related illness.

Then – though not a Bengali film – there is that film about Ambedkar, more contemporary, glossy, but I recall thinking it pretty good. Read Gail Omvedt alongside the film.

Several films have been made of Mahasweta Devi novels to do with tribals and dalits. “Mother of 1084” I think is one that deserves attention. Obviously its Devi and Spivak who you’d read alongside this. My take here.

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About john hutnyk

Writer on culture, cities, diaspora, history, film, prisons, colonialism, education, Marxism. Studied and taught in Australia at Deakin and Melbourne Universities; and in the UK in Manchester University’s Institute for Creative and Cultural Research; before moving to Goldsmiths in 1998, and becoming Academic Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies in 2004-2014. Has held visiting researcher posts in Germany at the South Asia Institute and Institute fur Ethnologie at Heidelberg University, and Visiting Professor posts in InterCultural Studies at Nagoya City University Japan, Zeppelin University and Hamburg University, Germany, Sociology at Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul, Turkey and at the Graduate institute for Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan. Immediate past adjunct Professor of RMIT University, Melbourne and GIAN Visiting Professor Jadavpur Uni Kolkata.
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One Response to Bengali Cinema and class

  1. Debojit says:

    We had a special issue dedicated to the cinema of Ritwik Ghatak. You can check it out at your website. Long live Ghatak.

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