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JDCA Film Festival Special

Portraits in Bhubaneshwar

 Jai Chandiram Reports on the 4th National Short and Documentary Festival on Art and Artists

A Still from Do Din Ka Mela

The JDCA Film Forum held the 4th National Short and Documentary Festival on Art and Artists. The theme, “Portraits,” included profiling people and places, events, cultures , communities and products. This year the festival also continued with the theme of environment and wild life. The festival introduced a new window of interest in the work created by media students. The workshops on ‘Shooting Wildlife” and “Understanding Documentary Films”: by filmmakers had full participation and attendance.  The presentation on Indian Film Posters took the journey from the early days of handmade posters and their focus on stars and directors. The journey was a walk down memory lane of feature films through 30’s till the 80’. The handmade posters were made by well known artists and have become a collector’s item.


The festival is now well established in the calendar of artistic Bhubaneshwar. The IDCOL auditorium was full for the day and evening screenings.The Jatin Das Center for Arts (JDCA)  is a unique art center for visual, plastic and performing arts reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Orissa and the world. Archiving the film collection, art sketchbooks the JDCA plans to engage in dialogue and publish the material from its collection and workshops on a variety of arts.


In the last three years, the festival has built up a wide range of audience, film and arts school academics and students .The forum provides for interaction and mentoring to students and young professionals. The media sorority is small but growing and meeting the established filmmakers is a fulfilling experience. Discussions on work, technologies and issues provide an understanding much valued by all.


Arts and crafts from Orissa are exhibited providing another opportunity for filmmakers to interact with the artisans. In the background the issues related to tribals and artisans are never far from one’s mind as we are assaulted with the distressing news of their protests , and one wonders how the tribals  continue to embroider their lives in colour and designs which are enduring.


Each meal is carefully planned , laced with the exciting, delicate cuisine of Orissa making  the satisfaction level a high. The evenings are enriched with traditional and contemporary performances by local artistes. Jatin and his family, provide support adding to the bonhomie and ambience of  family and friendship. Unmistakably, the experience is a high for all.


Truly, Orissa’s salubrious environment lends itself to creativity in all arts. JDCA inherits the rich traditions of the third century BC Jain caves at Khandagiri. The Center’s land is being developed under the guidance of B.V Doshi.  .


Forty films immerse you through the world of film heroes, heroines and artists provide a history of the arts and popular culture... Films on  Dilip Kumar ,Leela Naidu , Madhavi Mukerjee , Bharati Devi highlight the feature films and provide insights into the actors lives and contribution., This year the festival focused on  Directors , Satyajit Ray and his work , Bimal Roy  , BR Chopra , Hrishikesh Mukerjee and Mirnal Sen. The films on the  dancers Daksha Sheth and  Alarmel  Valli were a visual delight. The festival showcased the work of artists, Jamni Roy, Subrat Ganopadhyaya, Dhiraj Choudhury Michelangelo and Caravaggio. What a feast in the arts!!!


Folk artist Mural Ala Fafal in ‘Do Din Ka Mela’ dreams of flying in a plane as he talks about his life and dreams through the songs that transcend borders and are grounded in philosophy of living. Anjali Monterio and  .K P Jayashankar’s film and lyrical photography makes visible the art in the homes of the singers.The magic of children’s gentle response to music punctuated with the joy of their laughter is memorable. The leisurely paced film is beautiful and revealing of life unchanged and a pace that is forgotten.


 Nina Sbnan’s film, The Makers of Tales –Kaavad.  The makers of Kaavad reveal the story telling traditions of Rajasthan.The portable shrine weaves the pictorial narration of  the local stories, genealogies, documenting the events giving weight to identity and relationships in a world that is fast changing boundaries .The traditions link us  with the living philosophy of understanding of  the self in space and time , Who am I ? What have I done?  Where is my place in this cyclical life?


Doshi‘s portraiture leads us to understand his work and his life. Doshi a man enriched with love and experience reaches out to students, professionals and his family with warmth and wisdom .The film is inspirational as it enriches us with the values and insights of Doshi. Doshi designs his houses in India so they can  grow with the family, and remain minimalist to commune with nature and natural light .Homes are .a living space that is uncluttered as is seen by the happy families living in the LIC colony, Through the tears of his daughter we get a glimpse of the humanist who always finds time for his family, who selects music so that his daughter can relax and matches her moods as she unburdens herself from her work. .


Doshi’s  architectural vision shaped by Louis Khan and Le Corbusier moves in his own simplicity of articulating nature in his buildings adapting to local culture, and building materials. The Gufa gallery, a womb that is cool and flooded with light in the underground and  is enveloped with M. F Husain’s naag is a commune with nature and creativity. Doshi credits the simplicity to the influence of his mother, who died leaving behind only five sarees in a suitcase!


This great architect questions approaches to art forms and architecture as he constantly reinterprets adapting to local conditions and values.The power of his vision generates the young with whom he interacts in a unique  school of architecture. Premjit Ramachandran has shared the treasure that  Doshi is. Premjit a musician has overloaded the  music  in the film and needs to re- edit the sound track .  


Suresh Kohli’s “Through the Lens Raghu Rai’s India retraces the events and   journeys with the photographer. Raghu was inspired with the success of his first photograph of the baby donkey and became a serious photographer. The film takes us through panoramic India, festivals and cities. The film showcases his work through the many photographs, capturing the unique in the landscape of multicultural, religious identities that vibrate and colours India. Raghu also sees through the lens darkly in black and white making an emotional statement. We missed Ragu’s  voicing his own development and influences that gives him his insight through the lens


 Anasuya Vaidya and Ajay Shetty’s Ruskin Bond of Dera is a delightful insight through a child’s eye of the author who remains a child. Ruskin gently reveals his traumas and inspirations as he describes his characters in his stories gleaned from his world and incidents. Excerpts from the stories illustrate and bring alive his characters .


Leela Naidu portraiture “Lila” plays a shared intimacy which overwhelms as she reveals her life’s highs and lows. Always without rancour and spiked with humour she is a consummate actor, responding to the sounds in the kitchen and expressions of the crew shooting her. The chapterised structure of the film takes us through her approach to acting, her roles and modeling for Vogue. Her rich interactions with scientists and her family are another aspect which is not so public. Her marriages and being abandoned by Dom Moraes are nuanced revelations. Her love and richness shines through life’s breaks weaving a world in which one remains alone. Priyanjana Dutta and Bidisha Roy Das’s film is a  timely tribute to this reclusive  actor.

 Jai Chandiram’s short film on “Indigo, Product , Power and Plant” was appreciated for the insights and it’s links to the contemporary situation of globalization .