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Wesleyan University

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

India: National Identity and the Arts


This document is a 2015 survey of contemporary Bengali Cinema, which is primarily composed of (1) a brief history of the industry from its origins to the present day and (2) a survey of the careers of six prominent, active Bengali directors: Goutam Ghose, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Aparna Sen, Sekhar Das, Srijit Murkerji, and Kamaleshwar Mukerjee. The guiding question for the research was "How does a Bengali director express him/herself honestly within the economic restrictions serving the Bengali audience?" Research was conducting by watching 71 films, conducting 11 interviews, including 7 interviews with directors, including each director mentioned above. The conclusion of this paper is that Bengali Cinema output is inexorably tied to its audience mindset and that the current nostalgic/conservative Bengali imaginary poses an usually difficulty (though not impossible) challenge for Bengali directors who wish to innovate their form. The story and impact of Satyajit Ray is briefly discussed, particularly with regard to the turning point in Indian cinema that came with Panther Panchali.


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