Wow. Thank you so much, Drexel University, for the terrific article. The photos bring back a flood of memories, and I hope my tips are helpful to current Fulbright applicants.
I’m so happy to share that my article “Calcutta 1908: Apocalypse Now” has been published in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed scholarly journal Democratic Communiqué as the featured critical commentary.
Can theatre and film help spark an armed revolt? I believe they can, and that they did, specifically Indian theatre artists and India’s first silent filmmakers, in the capital of British India in 1908, in response to the Partition of Bengal and the systemic sentencing of children to public floggings.
My article is, in my view, a timely exposé of crimes and human rights abuses committed by the British Empire that have largely gone unreported in the West, but which are increasingly coming to light in the news and in pop culture of late. I’m not condoning or condemning revolutionary violence. We all have our positions on that, usually on a case-by-case basis, and that’s okay. I’m eager to shine a light on this history.
I’m really excited to share this slice of my research as a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in India. It is, I daresay, in-depth, yet it is only one part of a much larger story I’ve written.
Democratic Communiqué focuses on “cultural artifacts, media and imperialism, media’s relatedness to social movements, and the power of media to convey varying versions of the same event simultaneously.” It’s housed on the ScholarWorks server at Umass Amherst.
You can find it at the link below. I hope you’ll check it out.
These are my final two short jatra clips. I shot these while in West Bengal as a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in India in 2018-19.
They’re handheld and shaky, originally intended for my personal reference, but they might be of entertainment or educational value to others.
The blasting sensory overload of preshow lights and music announces to villagers far and wide that the show is about to begin. This will go on for a good 15 or more minutes to give thousands of people a chance to arrive and find their spot on the ground in front of the stage.
The producer is the Sri Chaitanya Opera jatra company based in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. The first clip is from an historical drama called Karunamoyee Rani Rashmoni (Gracious Rani Rashmoni) written by Babli Bhattacharya, directed by Ruma Dasgupta who also performs the title role, with lyrics by Ujal Biswas and music by Swapan Pakrasai. The location is Kolkata’s Kestopur neighborhood. The second clip is from the contemporary social drama Sangsar Ek Khelaghor (Family Game Room), also written by Bhattacharya and directed by Dasgupta. Other than incidental mood music, all songs in this particular play are from popular Tollywood and Bollywood films of the previous 5-10 years. The location is rural Durgapur, West Bengal.
The rest are on my youtube channel on the Jatra Shots playlist. Check ’em out!