When I was given the opportunity to watch Arijit Halder’s short film, I jumped on it immediately. The aim of what we’re trying to do is exactly this. To seek out pieces of cinema and do whatever we can to help with exposing the immense amount of talent to be uncovered wherever possible. Unfamiliar with the majority of Indian filmmakers, the Bengali language, and in particular, the independent side of Indian cinema, Kobita presented itself as a chance to discover something. Straightaway, it became clear that this was more than just the discovery of something unfamiliar. Actually, it turned out to be a powerful and unexpectedly moving experience.
The narrator carries the film poetically, using his words as a reflection on life – and most notably – his own life. The words are beautiful, and I’d be more than happy to listen to the narrator’s voice (and read the subtitles) as a stand-alone piece of art, and as an experience in itself. This being said, Halder’s poetry is accompanied by fantastic cinematography, striking images and vivid colour that only add to the short.
Is everything the result of my untiring efforts? Or the side effects of my wayward thoughts. The streets are full of people.
The film is strangely nihilistic in its loneliness. The narrator wanders across the streets of Calcutta, finding company in his beedi cigarettes. Those outside his narration stare sceptically, jeer, or simply do not see. Kobita’s lone character seems to be searching, questioning some hidden meaning. Though it is never revealed. His solution seems to be a retreat into his “vagabond mind”. The effect of the film is furthered by the filmmaker’s consistent use of imagery and photographic beauty. At one point, the camera is planted on a drainpipe leaking out dirty water, naked coat-hangers on a bare wall.
At other times, the camera pans the streets, the painted walls, the cautious and bemused people, while a continuous stream of inner thoughts are revealed. Arijit Halder has put together something of great value here. The value stems from its poetry, grows alongside its visual beauty and blooms with its universality. It was a touching and affecting effort and really does deserve the recognition of those hoping to find true art in film.
You can watch the entire film here:
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