Changes between Initial Version and Version 1 of Antarjali Jatra/Mahayatra

Jul 17, 2012, 8:18:15 PM (10 years ago)



  • Antarjali Jatra/Mahayatra

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     1'''Antarjali Jatra/Mahayatra''' 
     4aka The Voyage Beyond 
     51987 140’[B]/123’[H] col Bengali/Hindi 
     6d/sc/c/m Gautam Ghose p Ravi Malik, 
     7Debashish Majumdar pc NFDC st Kamal Kumar 
     8Majumdar’s novel Antarjali Jatra (1960) 
     9lp Shatrughan Sinha, Promode Ganguly, Robi 
     10Ghosh, Mohan Agashe, Shampa Ghosh, 
     11Basanta Choudhury, Sajal Roy Choudhury, 
     12Kalyan Chatterjee 
     15In 1829, in the context of various reform 
     16movements associated with Raja Rammohan 
     17Roy, sati (the widow immolating herself on her 
     18husband’s funeral pyre) was outlawed by the 
     19British. The film, based on the noted Bengali 
     20writer Kamal Kumar Majumdar’s best-known 
     21fiction, is set after that date and addresses the 
     22cruelty of a patriarchal practice which 
     23continues even today. The Brahmin Seetaram 
     24(Ganguly) is dying and an astrologer (Robi 
     25Ghosh) assures the dying man and his relatives 
     26of finding happiness after death on condition 
     27that his wife commits sati on his death. The 
     28villagers defy the law and persuade an 
     29impoverished Brahmin (Choudhury) to marry 
     30his daughter Yashobati (Shampa Ghosh) to the 
     31dying man so that she may commit Sati. The 
     32only dissident is Baiju (Sinha), a drunken 
     33Untouchable who tends to the cremation 
     34grounds. Baiju persuades Yashobati to flee. In 
     35the end, on a moonlit night, Baiju tries to kill 
     36old Seetaram. The superstitious Yashobati tries 
     37to prevent the deed and the two struggle on 
     38the muddy banks of the Ganges. The struggle 
     39changes into lovemaking but the river in spate 
     40eventually carries away both Seetaram and 
     41Yashobati. The film’s end sums up a major 
     42controversy surrounding Ghosh’s filming of a 
     43difficult text. Yashobati’s death, which in effect 
     44constitutes the act of sati, is shown as a 
     45combination of accident and desire, further 
     46contrasting her ‘holy’ condition with Baiju’s 
     47traditionless bestialism. Much of this is revealed 
     48in the original novel through broken syntax, 
     49interior monologue and a dense, graphic style 
     50of disjointed phrases, from which Ghosh 
     51assembled something like a coherent story. 
     52Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (1992) contrasts the 
     53book with the film, suggesting that Majumdar’s 
     54novel ‘takes as understood a fully formed 
     55ideological subject (and thus) a question that 
     56can only be asked by us, as Hindus, of 
     57ourselves. This text is exactly not for the 
     58outsider who wants to enter with nothing but 
     59general knowledge, to have her ignorance 
     60sanctioned’. The film, on the other hand, 
     61‘shatters this project by staging the burning 
     62ghat as a realistic referent carrying a realistic 
     63amount of local colour, a stage for a broadly 
     64conceived psychodrama played out by easily 
     65grasped stock characters.’ She accuses the film 
     66of being ‘an abdication of the responsibility of 
     67the national artist, trafficking in national 
     68identity (in the name of woman) for 
     69international consumption’. Ghosh used 
     70another, and equally difficult, literary text for 
     71his next film Padma Nadir Majhi (1992), this 
     72time by Manik Bandyopadhyay.