Bengali Cinema and class

nagarikI was asked for recommendations of films on Class and Caste by Dipa for her course in LA.  Just a few very quick suggestions of the top of my head. I’ve no idea if these are readily available in Hollywood, but I’d expect they should be:

Bengali Films on class [and caste] would start with almost anything by Mrinal Sen (we screened a bunch of these at Goldsmiths last year):

Sen’s film “Kharij” is great for its critique of middle class life. He made this after his Calcutta revolution trilogy. Though I guess that’s more class politics than caste, of course it can also be seen that the boy is of lower caste as well. Its a pretty amazing film.

Or you might look at the films of Ritwik Ghatak, starting with Nagarik 1952, an early Marxist statement dealing with partition – predates Satyajit Ray’s “Pather Panchali” by a few years, but not released till after Ritwik died of alcohol related illness.

Then – though not a Bengali film – there is that film about Ambedkar, more contemporary, glossy, but I recall thinking it pretty good. Read Gail Omvedt alongside the film.

Several films have been made of Mahasweta Devi novels to do with tribals and dalits. “Mother of 1084” I think is one that deserves attention. Obviously its Devi and Spivak who you’d read alongside this. My take here.

One thought on “Bengali Cinema and class

  1. We had a special issue dedicated to the cinema of Ritwik Ghatak. You can check it out at your website. Long live Ghatak.


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