Buddhadeb Dasgupta Receives “Golden Athena” Award

Veteran filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta has been chosen for Greece’s coveted Golden Athena award. It is the grand prize of the Athens International Film Festival (AIFF), where a retrospective of seven of his films will be screened at the Sep 20-30 event. Festival director Orestis Andreadakis wrote to Dasgupta saying: ‘We would truly be honoured if you would accept our Grand Prize, the Golden Athena, for your excellent achievement in filmmaking. Previously, the Golden Athena prize for excellent achievement has been awarded to Kim Ki Duk, Daniel Day Lewis and Costas Gavras.’ The AIFF had always valued Dasgupta’s work and had loved ‘The Voyeurs’ (Dasgupta’s latest film ‘Ami, Yasin Arr Amar Madhubala’).  ‘We are currently compiling the list of films constituting this year’s programme and we would like to present a retrospective of your cinematic work, including seven feature films,’ Andreadakis said. He said the retrospective would provide a rare opportunity to spotlight Dasgupta’s work and modern Indian cinema ‘which beyond Bollywood musicals is little known in Greece’. AIFF is the only festival in the world where the grand prize is awarded by a youth jury consisting of film students aged 18-25, selected from all over the European Union. The festival runs from Sep 20 to 30. Talking about his latest film, ‘The Voyeurs’, which dwells on love and relationships in the time of web-cams and CCTVs, Dasgupta said: ‘Everything has got mechanized. We have become obsessed with security, but ordinary human values such as love and kindness have lost their simple meaning. ‘Do the web-cams and CCTVs that are constant witnesses to our lives make us any less vulnerable than we are to terrorists? Are police and security forces really our protectors? It has a storyline which is universal now as the characters get sucked into a vortex of events that may occur in India or Europe, or anywhere,’ he said. ‘Kalpurush’, which bagged the National Award for best film of 2005, has been screened in many international film fests earlier and focuses on an ambitious wife.

Buddhadeb Dasgupta retrospective at AIFF 2007

Buddhadeb Dasgupta:  The Other Face of Indian Cinema Western viewers can be forgiven for expecting a sample of the exotic from any Indian filmmaker; after all, in this part of the world, Indian cinema is synonymous with saris, bangles and sitars. But Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s films are a far cry from the glittering Bollywood musical melodramas. An esteemed poet and writer with a profound understanding of the visual arts, Dasgupta film’s with a poet’s insight creating vistas of exquisite beauty and evocative compositions. Although he is often compared to the great Bengali director Satyajit Ray, Dasgupta remains a largely idiosyncratic director. His films usually revolve around pressing social issues, but make no mistake; Dasgupta doesn’t do cinéma vérité or polemics. He opts instead to approach his subject matter with lyricism, magic realism, subtle humor and a rare sense of film economy. In essence, every Dasgupta film is a mystical, allegorical exploration of human nature itself. The journey a common leitmotif in his work- takes place both on a physical and a metaphorical level. His characters are often tormented by escapist dreams or unattainable pursuits; some find the way to salvation, others are crushed under the weight of their own desires. However, Dasgupta remains an essentially optimistic director, as he always allows a thin ray of hope to shine even when violence and tragedy seem to prevail. The following films will be shown during the Festival as part of the retrospective. The Tiger Man – Bagh Bahadur [20 Sept., 1830, Danaos 2] Ghunuram’s humdrum life has only one highlight: dancing the traditional tiger dance at the annual village fair. But when a band of traveling performers … Shelter of the Wings – Charachar [ 21 Sept., 2300, Danaos 2] Lakha is a man trapped in a quandary: coming from a family of bird catchers, he captures birds selling them off to the local dealer, but at the same … The Wrestlers – Uttara [30 Sept., 1815, Danaos 2] The wild Bengali landscape becomes the stage for a tragic love triangle. Nemai and Balaram are old friends, working together in the local railway. They …   A Tale of a Naughty Girl – Mondo Meyer Upakhyan [ 25 Sept, 2030, Danaos 1][ 28 Sept., 2245, Danaos 2] It is July 1969, man walks on the moon for the first time and a prostitute’s daughter somewhere in rural India makes a radical decision that will change … Chased by Dreams – Swapner Din[ 26 Sept, 2030, Danaos 2] A government employee who travels the Indian countryside falls in love with the leading lady of the educational films he’s showing and dreams of meeting …Memories in the Mist – Kalpurush [ 24 Sept, 2015, Danaos 2] Tired of his prosaic family life Sumanta seeks solace in memory: suddenly burying the hatchet with his father, with whom he has been estranged for … The Voyeurs – Ami, Yasin Arr Amar Modhubala [ 22 Sept., 2000, Danaos 1][ 27 Sept, 2015, Danaos 2] When a pretty dancer moves next door, her computer geek neighbors decide to install a CCTV system in her apartment to watch her activities. What starts …

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