Sometimes, the essence of a film can be boiled down to a single scene. And, that's the scene Basundhara Ghosh highlights on her Insta page
When Basundhara Ghosh moved away from home, she became more attached to it. It's a stereotype from every emigrant movie, from Swades to the second half of K3G, but stereotypes are based on truths. Currently pursuing her PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Geneva, Ghosh, 27, runs a passion project called Gangs of Cinepur. It's an Instagram page, launched in November last year, on which she freeze-frames one scene from a movie with its subtitled dialogue, and offers her take on it.
"My day involves trying to understand the cosmos a little better, so movies are my biggest mode of relaxation," she says, over email. Her captions are quite lengthy. Because Murad's feelings for Safeena (in Gully Boy) can be as hard to understand as the mysteries of the universe. "When I write a caption, I often get to revisit and ponder over valuable life lessons. For example, a dialogue from the Malayalam movie Njan Prakashan reminded me about the importance of gratitude and not taking life for granted."
In fact, it is south Indian cinema that inspired her to start this account. "I grew up watching Hrishikesh Mukherjee and William Wyler films. Over the years, I have developed a wide interest in cinema. I had just started exploring Malayalam cinema, when I was blown away by its content. I had not been to south India until very recently, but through the movies, I already [felt a sense of belonging]."
Ghosh watches nearly one movie a day, and her taste is quite diverse, as reflected in her posts. She treats the original Golmaal with the same respect as Break Ke Baad (2010); finds similarities between Apu from Apur Sansar (1959) and Murad from Gully Boy; her post on Ship of Theseus (2013) followed her post on Kuch Naa Kaho (2003). "While it is important that we appreciate quality cinema, there are always some films that we go back to because of nostalgia. I value sentimental attachment to films, which go beyond technical brilliance. Apart from highlighting critically-acclaimed films, I also include those that hold a special place in my heart because of unexplained reasons: be it a touching story, a memorable soundtrack, or an actor I love."
Her analyses are appreciated by 7.3K readers, and have found an audience in the makers as well. "Both my posts on Photograph were shared on her stories by Sanya Malhotra, and director Vasan Bala shared my post on Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota. Even Srishti Behl Arya, [from Netflix India], personally messaged me." If films can teach you about life, film criticism has taught her about film. "My respect for actors, filmmakers, writers and cinematographers has grown immensely, and I have started watching more cinema-related videos. There is a lot of talent in India waiting to be tapped by the right people."
The page is her way of maintaining ties with India. As she says, "After I moved abroad, I started re-exploring my roots and my culture, especially beyond my own state. For an amazingly diverse country like India, there can never be a shortage of novelty that cinema offers. I would like to request any cinema lover who is reading this to allow their interests to go beyond popular Bollywood movies. There are gems out there that will take your breath away." Her page has a few recommendations to get you started.
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