Art News & Views

Love and Hate Spinning a Touchy Tale of Identification

“A guy from Kashmir… A girl from Kolkata… A kid from India and a narration by Shyamal Karmakar”, the captivating caption on the poster of Many Stories of Love and Hate, at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF 2010) could not just stop drawing huge crowd on its screening but also has been critically acclaimed by general viewers and jury at the same time. Shyamal is already known for his storytelling capability letting the evolution of a new genre of filmmaking where he extensively experiments on human stories, on their life and struggle, and is most passionate about depicting people from the margins with a difference. He loves himself to be recognized as a 'narrator through visual language' and unlike his earlier film I am the very beautiful, which plays around the account on the intimate relationship of a Mumbai-based bar singer Ranu with the director, Many Stories of Love and Hate is built up through the juxtaposition of the tales of two individuals who struggle for their identities absolutely in two different ways with their unique ideas and experiences of love, hatred and crisis; but there is a fine thread intertwined between them where their stories are identifiable even if they physically don't know each other. And exactly here the third little character emerges and relates the two and the stories get connected and identified with the general mass as a whole.

Wonderful is the art of devising the narrative on a non-fictional plane but very much with the appealing flavour of the fiction. Stories of real people in real time and space carry the principal quality of documentary but the treatment and the finely structured narrative completely a brainchild of the director, the film gains the fictional attributes and breeds the confusion whether real roles are being played by real characters or real characters are being made to play certain roles. Well the efficiency of a director lies in conjugating the two and Shyamal exactly does so.

Rii, the girl from Kolkata is an actress with miserable childhood as a consequence of domestic violence between her parents. She yearned to join the enigmatic world of silver screen and as a woman has been facing exploitation at every inch in the name of 'compromise' to survive in her profession. The pleasure of apparent success with the pain of extreme abuse at the backdrop in search of her own identity, Rii finally struggles through intense insecurity and seeks refuge and confides in her boyfriend, which Rii accounts as true love. Through Rii, the narrator scrutinizes the dirty facets of gender politics still pervading our society at every level. The voice Rii picks up throughout the film is spontaneous that is in itself a strong blow to the social caterers of ethos and morality.

On the contrary, Raja Shabbir narrates his tragic plight of being marginalized as a Kashmiri Muslim still struggling to get passport for four years. Raja is a filmmaker, a post graduate from Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata. He shifted to Mumbai where he was denied from getting a rented flat in the city for his identity. Raja reveals his account of confusion and struggle in leading a very general life. Raja doesn't pick up the voice of a rebel as Rii does but the issue of global communalism is addressed through his personal trail of love and hate by the filmmaker. And finally the bridge is built by a little girl of five, Bonny who travels with her father, Shyamal throughout the shoot from Kolkata to Kashmir and connects Rii and Raja on the Indian canvas as a social biography.

This about an hour HDV film is a SRFTI production, 2009 and has been screened internationally like Karanchi film festival and in Berlin. Shyamal has won several awards for his earlier films and this is awaited to bag one.


  Sarmistha Maiti 





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