Everything Remains : a film on Chitpur Road
Who says time flies, it flies nowhere...
It gathers on your face, on your limbs,
I’ve seen it gathering on me walking down
This city street three hundred years old...
the road, the place, the film ...he road the place the film
1690, Job Charnock, an Englishman, stepped ashore near Sutanuti.
'..from the noonday halt of Charnock grew a city' - the city of Calcutta. Chitpur Road is her oldest road carrying the history of three hundred years - a living museum.
Apart from the Englishmen, came the Armenians, the Chinese, the Portuguese, came people from all around the country settling down along the road.
Time flew, came new technologies. New needs new necessities heralded new professions, one upon another. But here nothing's lost, everything remains, some changed their faces, some remained as it is.
The film is a portrayal of life around Chitpur Road; different communities, different religions, different professions - where all of them are unique and enigmatic by themselves. The potters of Kumartuli, the musical instrument makers of Lalbazar, the blockmakers of Battala, the fruitsellers of Mecchua, the dyers, the folk-theater (jatra),...for generations they've achieved the skills to be among the greatest in their own trades.
Once the cultural and economic heartland of India, on both sides of the road are the remains of the splendor of the Bengali nouveaux riches, who adopted the Greek order of Stucco and Rococo in a riot of Bengali Baroque. Jorasanko Thakurbari, the home of Poet Rabindranath Thakur, was the heartland of Bengal Renaissance.
Different religions - Christians, Muslims, Hindus,...their own identities and rituals, there's no confrontation but celebration. Sonagacchi, Asia's biggest red light area is here, where faces changed, and everything else remained. The Nimtalla Ghat, where Job Charnock first landed is now a historic crematorium, the final culmination of mortal life.
The place reflects the past in every corner, on every wall, on every face. For most of the people their precious trades may be disappearing tomorrow, so to be is enough for them. There the film-maker identifies with those people, their faith is their strength, their ability to shower love and compassion moves him.
Through the lens it seemed all these people are merely a part of myself,
or just myself . Helpless, insulted, humiliated ... I sat there and reasoned it out.
I've seen these people with my own eyes. I've known them.
I've realized that I'll never be able to understand them at all.
What can a camera do! It can only record; mere actuality - no more of fiction!
In actuality lies the truth, in the record of time The film perhaps is a search for that
simplest smile which goes beyond the joy from which it came and leaves the
whole face to joy alone.
53 min, BetaCam, 1998
Bengali, Hindi, English,
(Subtitled in English)
"Documentaries on the ‘City of Joy’ have been made by the dozens. But this one seems to have a different feel about it..."
-- THE TIMES OF INDIA, April 1, 1999
“Bathed in the colours only Chitpur can offer, the film manages to touch upon everything that makes it so historic: … also has a nice cinema verite feel…. One of the more competent documentaries on the City of Joy…”
--OUTLOOK, March 22, 1999
direction & camera amlan
6th. Int. Short Film Fest , Dhaka, 1999
36th. Int. Short & Documentary Film Fest. in Krakow, Poland, 1999
23rd. Open Air Film Fest, Weiterstadt, Germany, 1999
IDFA, Docs for Sale, Amsterdam, 1999