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Just Another Day
by Subhajit Ghosh Bookmark and Share
 
Animesh appeared to be grim that morning. He has just finished reading the morning newspaper. An octogenarian committed filmmaker, he delves into making films when the creative urge bugs him. His last film was made seven years back. Since then Animesh hasn't made any films.

A jovial person by nature, he was loved by all around him. "What has happened?," wife Gita asked. Animesh replied "Today's paper contains a news item. Two eight year old boys have stabbed and killed a three year old girl, and was trying to hide the corpse when some people sighted, intruded and reported the matter to the police."

"Shocking," Animesh said as if talking to himself. "The boys have confessed that they have done this to emulate the heroics of some popular stars. They, in particular, were trying to ape the popular anti-hero star Kamlesh Khan," Animesh continued. Gita remarked " Films these days are glorifying sex and violence. Most of the violence in our society is due to the ill-effects of such films." Gita is herself a respectable actress and has worked with several award-winning Directors including her husband.

"Will you go out today?" Gita asked her hubby. Animesh said he would go out for about a couple of hours. A retrospective of his films is currently being shown in the city in the on-going film festival, and his presence possibly will act as a bonus for cineastes and aspiring junior filmmakers. "I will return in the afternoon for my lunch," Animesh said.

***

"Jamini has been conferred a lifetime achievement award at the Academy Award this year," Animesh said on his return. Wife Gita looked at her husband and after a paused silence replied, "Indeed it's a big honor for our country. Jamini certainly deserves the honor." Gita carried on " To me and also to many others you're no less an important filmmaker. In fact, I have loved your work more than Jamini's."

***

It is evening now. Animesh sat alone in his room lost in his own thought. Gita has gone out to meet a friend. Animesh was thinking about Jamini and the honor just bestowed upon him. Both he and Jamini were contemporaries. Both were exceptionally good, equally talented, yet the level of recognition now seems to weigh unevenly. Animesh has an equal number of highly thought-provoking works to his credit as Jamini. A dispassionate analysis of their works would reveal that Animesh's films are no less serious, or lacking in depth or quality as compared to Jamini.

"Malati, bring me a cup of tea" Animesh told his maid-servant. Soon, tea appeared and Animesh took a sip of the magic brew. The thought process continued. Jamini's first feature won him International recognition and was considered a landmark film. By comparison, Animesh caught people's notice with his third work. Though it wasn't considered an all-time classic, yet it was hailed by critics and discerning cinegoers and has acquired a cult status in due time. However, since his first truly memorable film, Jamini seems to have fossilized in his later phase. Of his entire body of work which amounts to 40 feature films and a few documentaries, Jamini appears to have a score of 8 excellent films, about a dozen good films and his remaining works were incoherent and, at times, even asinine. On the other hand, Animesh has made a similar number of films and documentaries of which nearly a dozen were films of exceptional merit, the remaining were good works with novelty in either style, technique, content or form. Just a few handful of Animesh's films appeared inconsequential works. Animesh's film THE CAPTIVE started off the New Wave movement in his country and also showed that it is possible to make meaningful films at moderate budgets with paying propositions. His films, mostly based on untreaded terrains, have always evoked a critical interest in areas hitherto untouched by Indian craftsmen. Animesh was responsible for introducing several newcomers, and several of his discoveries became big stars in the film firmament later. With so much of contribution in a career spanning four decades, Animesh felt that though he was respected, yet due recognition didn't come his way. Jamini appears to have been showered with all the plaudits, and the media gloated and raved over even his middling works. Jamini was put on a pedestal, and the publicity blitz by media and some vested groups ensured a much greater fan following among the gullible masses for Jamini. He was honored with innumerable awards by the Govt. Animesh was always ignored.

***

"Animesh, come have your dinner" the familiar voice of Gita disturbed the silence. She has returned quietly and slipped in without the knowledge of Animesh. "Mamata was saying that you deserved the honor as much as Jamini did," Gita told her husband. (Mamata was Gita's friend and a well-known actress). Animesh remained silent. However, he quietly told himself, "I have worked to my fullest abilities, and have never compromised and gave everything that I could to my films. My work has always reflected my concern for human beings and the oppressed. If people didn't accept my work, it is their inability or unwillingness to espouse my line of thinking. I have a few devoted admirers who still love and appreciate my works, and I am happy that I have spent a worthwhile life in the cinemas."

***

That night, the National news announced that the prestigious National honor for lifetime contribution to films was conferred on Karan Kumar, the popular action hero of yesteryears who has influenced a generation of action star including the current sensation, popular anti-hero star Kamalesh Khan.

After the news, Animesh trudged his way towards his bed. It had been quite a day for him.
25-Apr-2000
More by :  Subhajit Ghosh
 
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