Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Notes From the Leaves Diary

  • When you get tickets from conductors in buses you hold out your hand with the money. The person doesn't get it from you when you are holding it out like that. You will do that three times. Meanwhile you will look heare and there, talk to the person next to you and take your hand back etc then hold it out again. 
  • Leaf falling scene has to be incorporated because it's the end of SRFTI and people need to see it. Appachan/ Gee uses it as a bookmark.
  • Sketch: Kozhikode beach. One of those things has grown wings and starts flying. 
  • Kid dusing play calling out അമ്മമ്മേ and everyone laughing
  • Sketch's name will be എനിക്കും പറക്കാൻ മോഹം.
  • Instead of beads you can have mercury spheres. Her touching it and it giving irth to tiny mercury balls. Name can be രസം Mercury
  • Shoot a film in Alipore jail
  • 23rd June Terrifying dream. Whole campus under the control of police. They are all armed and are employed by the majority of students and faculty and administration. Us 6/7 are stuck in our rooms and don't know what to do. It looks as if we have lost everything. Shubhadra is seen walking the corridor in front of cafe bar holding a paper. I charge at him and hold him by his tee shirt's neck. He tries to shake me off. I don't leave. I see that the paper in his hand is that of my FIR on Neeraj Sahay. All students have been empowered by the armed police. Terrible terrible feeling. 
  • 24th June Dream in which i tell Chee please bring me something when you come back from China. She says that it is offensive and i cannot say things like that. It's not right. I am hurt but i apologize and shut up. Han argues with Chee about this. I am not sure what i feel about that.
  • 25th June Dreamed that Sabari was getting married. 
  • 26th June Dreamed that Rita di was really happy to do the role, that once she was offered a role and couldn't do it because she was called on work or something. 
  • 4th July 2016 11.40 p.m Depression of first order before beginning shoot at the house. Cinema will kill me. 
  • 12th July 2016 Shoot over. Was the worst shoot i've been in. Humiliated and tortured like mad. Still alive and it's a miracle that i've completed it. Need to write in detail about how film schools try to kill cinema. 
  • 21st July Brutal treatment from Sethuvamma and Kunju Thalona. She intervenes. Situation worse. Feel orphaned. In any case they were highly abusive. This had to happen one day. Hope one day when i am famous or something they'll come back to me. I hope they do. 
  • Most dreams are shoot related now. Had two in which i was shooting in a similar house as diploma. Kutty and kutty lookalike bitten to death by dogs in the dream. 
  • The chapter Sexual Violence in Seeing Like a Feminist has to be written about in the context of the case against Neeraj Sahay. 
  • Feeling like shit due to Sethuvamma's behaviour. There is a reason, i keep telling myself, there is a reason. There is a strong reason. 
  • 25th July 2016
  • Terrible terrible dream about Kunju Thalona. Appachan present and declared dead in the end. Kunju Thalona was venomous and violent. Physical violence on me. She had to be carried away by people from a mental asylum or something. So disturbing and saddening the dream was. 
  • Bela Tarr: What a filmmaker. Late discovery
  • Note to self: Do camera testing in all locations including vehicles. Eg. A bus. 
  • Preparing myself for the ബോഘക്ഷയം after first cut 1st August 2016
  • Surveillance- ATM episode of drunk kissing *an abuser* Starting of a film. 
  • Breaking of knuckles can be a good transition from dream sequence to reality. Sound of knuckles breaking in dream. Visual of hands of girl breaking knuckles in sleep lying next to him (in reality)
  • Beginning of a film. The incident with Han and Ouike. Police asking us to catch a man. Beating. All three of us go back to our respective lives but the incident does not leave us.
  • *an asshole* kissing in green room. A person entering and saying sorry. The girl is petrified and the boy doesn't give a shit. 
  • Papaji dying-choking on food. After a nice joke mother goes to heat water and then he dies. He calls for help but no sound comes out.
  • Death of Biren sir. Start with students going in groups.
  • What happened at the tea shop. An elderly person drinking tea and saying AAAAH. Our girl gives him a look and he says 'not to you'. I did it for the tea [in bangla] The girl gets tea for herself and makes a similar sound (sexual? decide) The whole road and everybody including the old man turn and stop and stare. (stylize) The girl says 'Not to you. It's for the tea'. 
  • 15th September 2016
    Biren sir died. Remember his face when he was brought in the mobile mortuary. Elle here to shoot me. Very nervous and uncomfortable. 
  • 1922 Dracula-funny now. 
  • Herzog's Dracula - liked. Watching it the same day was really good.
  • Film Pinchu's kid as a ball and breathing for some time. Then let it be revealed as a cat.
  • Life in SRFTI. The calendars. The dusty ones in the end.
  • Metropolis - Really good. The principle idea behind the film is that of between head and hands there should be a mediator called heart. It has a happy ending which i didn't like. 
  • Pulp Fiction
    -very funny
    Racist and sexist!
    This time no problem with non linear narrative
    Shyamal Sengupta and something about the gun - Travolta and Butch scene.
    Really liked Butch's girlfriend. 
  • It reflects on your face. That is how people get to know you and your vulnerability.   
  • Documentary shoot by Elle. I thought Elle would be a sensible person but Elle was just trying to use me. Why is nobody sincere. What a horrible experience...What a bitter experience in court today. Crying and police etc. need to write about this in blog. On top of that, ragging again in SRFTI

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Watermark Scandal: Hear it From the Film World

This is an attempt to collect statements of filmmakers and film enthusiasts from around the country and world and see what they think of the watercrap watermark issue in SRFTI. Will also be adding comments from film students. Anybody who wishes to protest to this draconian law in SRFTI can leave their statement as comment. I shall update it as soon as possible.

Photo credit here. Poster created by author. Anyone can use or modify with or without credits.
Statement: "Of course it’s unheard of anyone dictating to put the producer's logo on any film. NFDC has never asked for it. Logo is not a part of any film. It’s only for publicity. Even DVDs don't carry it. Any mark on the film's print can only be decided by the filmmaker. Only television carries a logo while a film is telecast. Students should take SRFTI to court over this dictat."- Gurvinder Singh, filmmaker


My statement is a one liner. Compulsory water marking student films is wrong. SRFTI's name should obviously appear in the credits where it belongs and nowhere else. Students should have the right to make as many dvds of their work, as this is a part of their portfolio.
regards, anand

Statement: Watermarking a film with the producers name is just not right. It is a cheap and an unreasonable demand. This proposal from a film institute of all places is very shocking. A work of art should be respected and the film students should be given all rights to disseminate their films without any ugly watermarks. Leena Manimekalai, filmmaker, poet.

Statement: SRFTI should immediately revise its obtuse practice of demanding a watermark on students filmmakers' copies of their films! It's ridiculous that filmmakers are not allowed to keep a clean copy of their own work.
Anand Gandhi photograph courtesy

Full statement:

..every pixel, every glitch in every frame belongs to its creators..
The decision of a reputed film institute like SRFTII to watermark student films is unfortunate to say the least. What is behind this sudden urge to stamp the school’s identity in the films of its students? If it is to spread SRFTII fame across the world, the talents who come out the school and the quality of their films would do that; the credits at the beginning and end can very well proclaim it and so there is no need to deface every frame in their work for that. These shortsighted acts only reveal the dark shadows of ‘proprietary’ mindset which is not befitting a great public institution like SRFTII. The cineastes of the country urge the institute to reverse their decision and reaffirm the true spirit of education as well as creativity.
cs venkiteswaran
Picture courtesy

Full statement: I am a big narcissist but I feel that SRFTI is more narcissist than me. What if the director or a superstar one day decide let's have our watermark throughout the film. This is exactly like that. Imagine if all the people who worked in the films had their own watermarks throughout the film. The producer having their watermark is similar. It's shocking that this is coming from an institute like SRFTI which teaches cinema.

Statement: "It is pretty obvious to me that a filmmaker who values his/her work of art would not let an authority impose an unintended change to their work. Asking for watermark on one's film is just vandalism forced by the authorities and it is a crime against art."- Don Palathara, filmmaker.

 Full statement: I watched some films from SRFTI at a festival recently and was horrified to see the watermark. It’s not a question of how ugly the symbol looks but of the skewed nature of this mandate. A filmmaker’s work cannot be branded without consent. The producers can be acknowledged in unobtrusive ways. The watermark is an oppressive way of asserting ownership over creative work produced in an academic space. This decree is undemocratic and inexcusable. Prachee Bajania, Film Student, FTII, NID.

Statement: An art is a part of the artist’s soul. Yes, SRFTII/government fund all the projects, but how dare they justify messing every frame with their watermarked logo? Engraving the producer’s name/logo on an art is worse than vandalism. How can someone send such a crappy copy to film festivals around the globe. No other film school will ever enforce such a stupidity. Students should follow all the rules and regulations amended by the authority. Yes, point taken. But that doesn’t mean they can treat all the student directors who ask for a copy of their final year projects like estranged beggars pleading for money. As we all know, SRFTII faculty don’t give a crap about students who protest. But, imagine the situation of that empire, if the kid was not there to speak out loud that the emperor has no clothes. Protest against the atrocity of bureaucrats who are wasting our tax money. “United we stand, divided we fall.” KRNNIVSA students in solidarity with all the SRFTI students.- Georgy Abraham, Film Student, Kerala.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Watermark Scandal: Independence Day Special Bulletin from SRFTI

Hi everyone. Please take a look at this notice which was displayed in the Department of Editing, Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute till i took it off to click a picture of it. Whatever is displayed on boards should be displayed before public too.

The Watermark Scandal Exhibit A: Order signed by Mr Debashish Ghoshal, Dean in Charge, with instruction to be circulated in all departments.

This time i am trying to approach the problem with a calm mind so that i can save some energy for creative purposes like making films, writing etc. Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute is a film school and all of us here are people who enrolled to learn cinema, lest we forget.

The Problem.

Like the notice says, a student shall be provided with just one copy of their film. Whichever project it is. I, for example, just finished the principal photography of my diploma project. So suppose after edit and sound and colour correction, i go to get a copy of my film. [The reason why i am calling it 'my' film and not 'our' film is here in this Facebook post. Things change here in SRFTI.] Then somebody from the Editing department will give me a copy of my film with a watermark on it. That is the ONLY copy of the film that i, the director will have. For the rest of my life. Apart from violating my right to the my own body of work let me also show you how ugly the thing looks. Below is a frame from my Playback project called 'When Father Came'. The only copy of the film i have with me.

Exhibit B: A frame from my playback project titled 'When Father Came'. On the top left and right you can see 'SRFTI' and 'Only for Preview' watermarked. This is the only copy i have of the film.


1. Firstly, the rule treats students like shit. The process of making a film, small or big, starts with an idea. From there to give it a body and shape and to do everything it takes to make it take the form of cinema is done by students. Yes, there are technicians who help us through this. Like light people, people who manage equipment, those who help with location permissions etc. In any case SRFTI/the Govt. of India/any of the professors do not have claim to even one frame of any of the student work. So then in the end when there is a watermark called 'student copy', or watermark of the ugly logo of SRFTI, or simply SRFTI watermarked on the frame it is a violation of our rights to our work of art.

2.Suppose i am sending my film to a film festival. For students of cinema especially those who are aspiring directors, film festivals are the biggest opportunities to showcase their work. Take any film festival, like IDSFFK. Now even in this stage there are problems in SRFTI which i think should be viewed as a corollary to the Watermark Scandal. That is the Selection Committee Scandal.

The Selection Committee Scandal

Till the previous AC[Academic Council] meeting, the 'selection committee' in SRFTI was a farcical one. First it had people who knew nothing about cinema in it. For example,

The FRO [Film Research Officer], Mr Sougatha Bhattacharyya. Do you know that this man made a 'documentary' and sent it to festivals where he was supposed to send student films? The film is horsecrap and that is what makes it worse. Some employee drawing salary from a government job decides that his own film which is horsecrap can be placed over student films and be sent to festivals. Yes, he has every right to do that but not without first doing his job of informing students about festivals.Not by stealing these students' opportunities.

Vaibhav Hiwase, final year student of Direction says ‘About one and half year back, I sent my short film 'Gavhankur' to Clermont-Ferrand film festival, which is one of the most important short film festivals in the world. As per my knowledge this festival is a great platform for the experimental film. My film falls into same category so I sent it there on my own, as institute (FRO) never communicated with me regarding this fest. Few days later, on d fest website I see three films: mine, venkat's diploma film (8th batch) and FRO'S film (a documentary)! To my surprise, FRO never informed me about the festival, but he sent his own film for d fest. I don't have any problem in him sending his own film to fest, it's his right, but my point here is, he is treating students as his potential competitors and hence he is not informing them about the festival, that is extremely corrupt behaviour from his side, he being FRO, institute has given him responsibility to handle film fest submissions, he is not keeping any transparency in it.’

What's more. SRFTI encourages the same man to make more films.
For example every year a batch of students come to SRFTI from BNA [Bhartendu Natya Akademi], Lucknow. Based on the number of students who arrive, SRFTI collaborates with them and make two or three short films. When i was in first year some senior students were asked to direct these projects. Last year too, a junior of mine directed one such project. It turned out to be better than most faculty directed films and even films for BNA earlier directed by ex students. Now, by the look of it, FRO and faculty are directing those films, again denying students an opportunity to practise their craft. Let us not even consider the quality of films. My understanding of cinema might be different from yours. What i find horseshit could be a masterpiece for you. Even in such a scenario, whenever filmmaking opportunities arise within the institute it is my opinion that students should be allowed to make their (good/bad) films and not faculty their own (good/bad) films. This nasty tradition of looking at students as one’s opponent is a tradition in SRFTI and it is quite saddening.

The Watermark Scandal Exhibit C: Sougata Bhattacharyya, FRO, directs a BNA project. Source: Mr Bhattacharyya's Facebook page

That’s just one member of the selection committee we are talking about. Others are faculty. And it’s no secret that faculty have their favourites. I, for example, am nobody’s favourite. So when this selection committee sits to evaluate which films will be sent to IDSFFK, professor A might have had a problem because i am one of the girls who complained against his co-worker who had sexually harassed me. Prof. B might be somebody who said that SRFTI had made a mistake by selecting me. [Yes, a professor said this to me and i had made a complaint in my first year] Prof. C, for all you know, could be somebody whom i had questioned on the very issue of film selection.

Till last week when the AC [Academic Council] meeting happened, this was the situation of the selection committee. Due to the demands of students like us, they have agreed to have an all-external members-selection committee. When this will be implemented is something to which nobody has an answer. So we can leave this corollary problem over here.

Now back to the issue of watermark.


2. Contd.
It is now clear how institute has not, till today, sent ‘all’ films to any festival or even encouraged the sending of films by students. If a student wins an award, then it’s a different story. We students have always wondered, if there was no time limit given by the festival as to how many hours/minutes of films can be sent by one institute or organization, then what is the problem in sending all student work. Surely, that is the most logical and egalitarian way of handling festival submissions? We were told by the ex-director Mr Sanjaya Pattanayak, that SRFTI was not doing it because it wanted to send films of a certain standard. For all those who want to see a sample of this standard i invite you to SRFTI to watch films directed by FRO, Mr Sougata Bhattacharyya. I don’t think anybody will have any questions after that.

So now let us say that the old committee or the new all-externals-committee decided that my film is not to be sent to IDSFFK. I, as the director of the film feel that it should be sent. Since this is a festival which doesn’t ask for an entry fee, i go ahead and submit my film. Till this part it’s okay, for selection process i can send a copy with a watermark, if you insist. Now the film gets selected [This is, apart from an example, a true incident. Institute had decided not to send my film Gruhapravesham and IDSFFK selected it last year.] Now what do i do? What does any student do at this stage?

The student has to go to the department of Editing and has to say that their film has got selected and request for a copy of their own film without the [damn] watermark. Is the student going to get it? No. The student’s ‘request’ will be processed and SRFTI will decide if they need to send the film or not and if they decide to send it SRFTI will send the film themselves.

As a result of this student will not get to know if their projects have been sent on time or if they have been sent at all.

Why are we so skeptical about SRFTI? Because, as students, we know better than to trust SRFTI with anything and particularly not with films. Since this is handled by the Department of Editing i shall now explain why it is all the more dangerous.

1. The department of Editing has a history with student projects. I am going to state instances where this was made clear by the behaviour of editing students themselves. Please bear in mind that i am mentioning only those incidents to which i have evidence and witnesses. Those numerous stories of ex-students where they have been pushed against the wall by this department has not been recorded and perhaps never will be unless they speak up.

2. The student who was my editor ‘accidentally’ lost a memory card of a day’s shoot. Later i got to know from people who had been present there when he said that he had deliberately thrown it away because he wanted to take ‘revenge’ on me for personal reasons. I am fighting a court case against him now.

3. An editing student accidentally deleted raw footage of one whole day of one of my classmates’ Diploma film. The director of the film confirmed that it was an accident which again shows how irresponsibly work is handled by students of this department. This is of course, not to say that all editing students function this way. The problem is when this kind of unprofessional and irresponsible behaviour is not stopped by the department. In fact by not taking action against these students the department is encouraging such behaviour.

4. Debjani’s [Final year student of Direction] short film was ‘missing’ from the department of Editing for two months. ‘They [the department of Editing] first said it is lost. Then I wrote a letter. After that they told me it is lost and I have to do sound sync and subtitles again. But Guha sir [Debashish Guha, professor, Editing] taken responsibility and found it,’ she said. They never gave her any explanation as to how or why the film was ‘missing’ from the department.

I just stated some instances to give a picture of how things are done over here. So as a student, when the Editing department tells me that they will send my film to some festival i have no reason to believe them and i won’t.


3. We saw what the implications of watermark is in sending films to festivals. Now let’s forget film festivals for some time. What about when we show our work to senior directors/cinematographers as and when we get the opportunity? This is another major way by which we find work after leaving film schools. Suppose i get an opportunity to meet Haneke. [Never be stingy with your imagination when you have the chance to use it] I’ll be like

‘Hi sir, *drool* can you please *drool* watch my student film? *drool*
Haneke: Yeah sure, i am very busy making films but i’ll always have time for you, kunjila [told you, imagination…]
‘Here it is sir’. *drool*
Haneke: ‘What is that ugly thing on the top left of the frame?
‘’s a logo’
Haneke: ‘What logo?’
‘’s the logo of the film institute where i studied’
Haneke: ‘What!- Are you serious!’ I can’t watch a film with this thing on it! Why on earth is its logo on your film?’
‘Sir...because sir...they said they want to because they are the producer.’
*Thunderous, wonderful laughter of Haneke*
*Thunderous, wonderful laughter of Haneke continues*
‘Sir, are you alright?’
Haneke: My dear child, don’t they know that all films are produced by someone or the other. Are they really that stupid to put their own logo on their work of art? *laughter continues*
Err...yes sir, they are, by the look of it…*resumes drooling*

-the rest of this conversation shall be printed as soon as it actually happens.

So this is the kind of situation i am talking about. Why wouldn’t the director of the film have a copy of the film like they made it? Without any logo or watercrap sorry, watermark? Even though i am stating the obvious let me illustrate with examples so that i feel good, generally.

Film: Pather Panchali
Director: Satyajit Ray
Produced by: West Bengal State Government
Watermark status: No watermark
Proof below

The Watermark Scandal Exhibit D: VLC Snapshot from Pather Panchali. Captured by Prahas

Film: Anhe Ghore Da Daan
Director: Gurvinder Singh
Produced by: National Film Development Corporation of India [NFDC}
Watermark Status: No watermark
Proof below

The Watermark Scandal Exhibit E: VLC snapshot from Anhe Ghore Da Daan captured by author

I selected these two films for specific reasons. Ray’s masterpiece because SRFTI is named after this legendary filmmaker [Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, lest they forget] and personally, like most of india, Pather Panchali is one of my favourite films too.

Gurvinder Singh’s film because it was one of the latest films produced by NFDC and this body is also under the same Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that SRFTI functions under.

In this context let us look at how ridiculous these work of art would look if the respective producers, like SRFTI had said that they wanted to have their logo watermarked on the films. Then it would mean that the world would have watched those films like this.

Watermark Scandal Exhibit F: Pather Panchali with Producer logo. Logo credit here
The Watermark Scandal Exhibit G. Anhe Ghore Da Daan with producer logo. Logo credit here
 Implications contd.

4. At their leisure if a director felt like watching their own film they would be watching it with the watercrap on it which will make them feel like an idiot and leave them with no desire for making anymore films. At least that’s what happens to me whenever i see that seal of authority on my work.

What are the reasons SRFTI is giving for this regressive practice?

1. Some student director from an earlier batch along with his cinematographer re-edited his film and did not give credits to the editing student. The department doesn’t want this to happen again.

Shattering the warped logic easily: If a student decides to behave unprofessionally or unethically that student should face the consequences of it. There are many disciplinary actions that can be taken in such a situation. Did SRFTI do that? A boy from Bihar called me ‘behen ke laudi.’ Is the solution for this to ban all people from Bihar in SRFTI? Or better still, since i have not once stopped questioning SRFTI from the day i entered it, would they ban all girls or all mallu girls in SRFTI? That’s what is called stupid. Also a clear sign that people’s brains are currently not in their skulls.

2. As the producer, SRFTI has every right to do this.

This time, i am not taking the trouble to shatter this argument. Gurvinder Singh, the maker of Anhe Ghore Da Daan, a frame of which you saw earlier will dispel it for you. Like i said, the mentioned film was produced by NFDC. Now listen to what he says. ‘Of course it’s unheard of anyone dictating to put the producer's logo on any film. NFDC has never asked for it. Logo is not a part of any film. It’s only for publicity. Even DVDs don't carry it. Any mark on the film's print can only be decided by the filmmaker. Only television carries a logo while a film is telecast. Students should take SRFTI to court over this dictat.

[Emphasis in bold added by the writer]

But alas, people like Gurvinder Singh are not in the governing council of SRFTI. Even in the Academic Council, the dean of FTII[Film and Television Institute of India] is reported to have said that he would like to implement this rule in FTII as well. So yes, get ready, FTII.

3. Everybody does it

Wait, are we talking about masturbation here? No, SRFTI, nobody does it. No, not masturbation, everybody does that. Ha ha. Gotcha confused. So, believe it or not, nobody puts a logo on a film like that. Alright? And the last time somebody gave 'everybody does it' as a reason it was during Sati. 

4. SRFTI should be informed before students send films to festivals so that in case they win a cash award SRFTI can claim the money as the producer. A watermark ensures this

Dear o dear SRFTI, please take all the money you need. All of us students know of all the corruption you people have been up to just to eat money. Please eat and shit money all you want. We are willing to give it in writing in stamp papers that if the award goes to the producer of the film, your share shall be given. That's what bonds are for. Watermarking the logo is not the solution. 

I am ending this note by showing you what this place is up to right now. Please see the picture below. The campus is filled with these banners saying SRFTI is celebrating 70 years of independence of the country. Really? What can hold more proof to the fact that this place of learning knows nothing about the concept of freedom? On this ‘independence day’, SRFTI, i spit on you. [But will eat the sweets after spitting on you] On this independence day, you are able to erect such a banner simply because you have chosen not to hear the pellets and people of Kashmir, the Una dalits, the people of Bastar and your own students right under your nose who are bellowing for their freedom to make films.

SRFTI Celebrates Independence Day. Thoo.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Satyajit Ray on Death Penalty

The Complete Adventures of Feluda, Vol. 2The Complete Adventures of Feluda, Vol. 2 by Satyajit Ray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had read the first volume in SRFTI three years ago and had totally loved it. I wanted to go to all the places Ray had mentioned in the book and make sketches of them. I wanted to do the same after reading Amitav Ghosh's 'Calcutta Chromosome'. Neither of the plans happened. This time too when i read the book that was the first instinct i had. Don't know if my procrastination goddess will be kind enough to me.

Anyway the major difference i saw was that Ray's stories started deteriorating in quality towards the end of the book. He even has a chapter in which Feluda got too many mails from his fans saying his stories had ceased to be interesting.

This time i have decided to make a list of places to be visited here in the review itself so that i can look it up even after i leave SRFTI. It's a library book and i am sure is too expensive for me to buy for myself.

Anyway i will have to make another list for places outside Calcutta that the trio visit in these tales. I hope by then i have money to travel to those lands.
Starting by Quoting some interesting portions because i felt Satyajit Ray was talking against capital punishment through these words. It's Mr Mallik, the judge, who says it.

Peril in Paradise.
'Do you hold seances only to reassure yourself?' Feluda asked.
'Partly. Do you know what I really think? Sometimes I seriously wonder whether one man has any right at all to send another to his death.'
'What about murderers? I mean real criminals, not people like Raaut. Shouldn't they be punished?'
'Of course. They may be given long and hard prison sentences, but death? No, I no longer think that's fair. Everyone-even criminals-should be given the chance to mend their ways.'

The conversation Feluda has with Lalmohan Babu after this is also really interesting. While Feluda represents an 'intelligent' person Lalmohan Babu is supposed to be a 'layperson'.

We said good night and returned to our boat. Feluda said only one thing before going to bed: 'I cannot really agree with Mr Mallik's views. If a murder is committed, then the killer-the real killer, of course-should not be spared. If he has taken a life, he has no right to live. I think age and illness have both affected Mr Mallik's mind. But this has been known to happen to other judges. I suppose it's natural enough'
'Just think Felu Babu,' Lalmohan Babu observed, 'how much power a judge is given. One stroke of his pen can take or save a life. Surely anyone with a conscience and a sense of responsibility will wish to use this power only with extreme caution?'
'Yes you are absolutely right.'

What was not written, in my opinion is just a line which stated the obvious which is that it is impossible to ensure that only people 'with a conscience and a sense of responsibility' will use this power.

Later another character,
Vijay shook his head emphatically. 'My father has become senile,' he said. 'He keeps talking about withdrawing the death penalty. Can you imagine allowing a murderer to get away with his crime? What could be more unfair?'

Vijay went to a college in Calcutta called Scottish Church

Mr Sarkar used to work in an insurance company-
'...Universal Insurance. The office is at 5 Pollock Street in Calcutta.'

The Mysterious Tenant:
We live in Ballygunj Park. Our house is nearly eighty years old. My grandfather built it. We were once zamindars in Bangladesh. My grandfather moved to Calcutta in 1890, and began ,aking chemical instruments. We had a large shop in College Street.

7/1 Ballygunj Park is the exact address in the book.
In the other flat, that faces the rear of the house, there's Mr Sukhwani. he has an antiques shop in Lindsay Street'

Want to quote this portion from the story because it is so cinematic. From time to time you see Ray doing such cinematic tricks and it is fun to watch because it is coming from a genius filmmaker.
The light suddenly went out. Loadshedding...
...Subir Dutta returned, followed by Koumudi, who was carrying a candle. Once it was placed n the centre table, every face became visible again. Two yellow points began glowing on Nihar Datta's dark glasses: the flame on the candle.

Within three minutes we were in Southern Avenue, flagging down a taxi.

The main road was dug up, so it was highly likely that the scooters would go don Lansdowne Road

We saw the three scooters near the Elgin Road crossing.

We passed Lower Circular Road and Camac Street. Upon reaching Park Street, they turned left.

The scooters went down Mirza Ghalib Street, and then turned left again. Marquis Street.

As we passed the building, I realized it was not an ordinary house but a hotel. It was called The New Corinthian Lodge. New? The building was at least a hundred years old.

The Criminals of Kathmandu
'Nowhere in this country,' said Lalmohan Babu-alias Jayatu-in an admiring tone, 'will you find a market like our New Market!'

We were now standing opposite New Market, having just seen Ape and Superape
'Come to Central Avenue, Central Hotel. Room number 23. All will be revealed.'

Lalmohan Babu turned up the day before we were toleave to say that he had seen the 'fake' Mr batra near Lenin Sarani, having a glass of lassi.

I came across a very interesting passage where Feluda and Co. are in Kathmandu and are trying out their food.

Lalmohan Babu peered at the menu and asked, 'What is mo-mo?'
'It's meat balls in sauce, sir,' the waiter replied.
'It's a Tibetan dish,' Feluda told him. 'Try it, Lalmohan Babu. When you go back to Calcutta, you can tell your friends you ate the same thing as Dalai Lama.'

Interesting because now in Kolkata there is a mo-mo shop in every nook and corner and it is very popular. At that time, Lalmohan Babu had not even heard of such a thing in Calcutta. After some time we see

Our food arrived. 'Delicious!' said Lalmohan Babu, tasting his mo-mo. 'I must get the recipe from somewhere. I have an excellent cook back home who, I'm sure, could make it for me. Six months of consuming this stuff and one is bound to start looking distinguished.'

This portion makes me think that it was in fact, Lalmohan Babu and his cook who introduced mo-mo in Kolkata.

Napolean's Letter

Today, we were at the Hobby Centre at the corner of Park Street and Russel Street.

The traffic got better only after we reached VIP Road. By the time we got to Barasat, it was nearly half past ten

Tinkori Babu's pet shop which Lalmohan Babu used to visit.
'Did you know the Parsis have been living in Calcutta for two hundred years?'
'What! You mean right from the time of Siraj-ud-daula? No, I certainly did not know that.'
'We are going to visit an ancient Parsi household today. Their address is . . .' Feluda took out a notebook from his pocket and consulted it, '. . . 133/2 Bowbazar Street.'

From Bowbazar Street, we made our way to the new theatre, Nobo Rangamanch, in Cornwallis Street.

'The first indigo factory was built in Barasat,' Mr Datta told us. 'If you ever come this way in daylight, you'll be able to see broken old houses in which the British owners of these factories used to live.'

Madhumurali Deeghi is behind all these trees.

Tintoretto's Jesus
On Tuesday, 28 September 1982, a taxi drew up in front of the house of the Niyogis in Baikunthapur. The Niyogis had once been the zamindars in the area.
Did a search for the flower Hasnuhana mentioned in this chapter. Landed up here

I could smell Hasnuhana as I took a chair, which meant that there was a garden behind the verandah, but I could see nothing in the dark.

Found a line about Kolkata which is true even now. In Hong Kong, Tapesh says,
Our car moved slowly in the traffic, giving us the chance to take in everything. I had seen crowded streets in Calcutta enough times, but everyone there moved slowly, as if they had all the time in the world.

This time, however, we were not going to travel very far. Mecheda was only a few miles from Calcutta.

The Disappearance of Ambar Sen

5/1 Palm Avenue
If you wish Ambar Sen to be restores to you in one piece, get twenty thousand rupees in hundred-rupee notes, put it all in a bag and leave the bag by a pillar on the south-eastern side of Princep Ghat, at 6.30 p.m tomorrow (Friday).

The Gold Coins of Jehangir
'I'd like you to visit my house here in Panihati. It is by the Ganges. It's about a hundred years old and is called Amaravati.'

Lalmohan Babu's house is in Gorpar.

Crime in Kedarnath
Some lines i liked,
Dawn had only just started to break. The streetlights were still on, looking more apologetic than ever.

We walked on, as quickly as we could, trying to hide whenever possible behind boulders and small hills. It was a shade brighter now, but there was no noise anywhere. It seemed almost as if nature was waiting with bated breath for something extraordinary to happen.

The Acharya Murder Case

Our office[Bharat Opera's] is in Muhammed Shafi Lane, which is just off Beadon Street.

There is a little lane behind the house called Jodu Naskar Lane.

Through another window in Mr Mallik's room one could get a view of the lane that ran behind the house. It was called Jodu Naskar Lane, I remembered.

I looked it up in the telephone directory and discovered it was in Suresh Mallik Street.

The Case of the Apsara Theatre

I made the phone call and then we took a taxi. Apsara Theatre was in Shyambazar

Jaganmoy Battacharya's address
The young man returned in a couple of minutes wirth the address: 27 Nirmal Bose Street. Lalmohan Babu said he knew where it was. Apparently, it wasn't far from Apsara.

'Sardar Shankar Road. Number eleven. It is the house of one Anup Sengupta. You can go and speak to him, if you like.'

Nepal Lahiri lived in
'Twenty-seven, Nakuleshwar Bhattacharya Lane.'

His friend whom he was going to see lived in
'It was mentioned in the press report. Moti Mistri Lane. That's where he was killed.'

Moti Mistry Lane turned out to be so narrow that we had to park our car outside on the main road.

Sudhendu Chakravarty, the new actor lived in Amherst Row

The Mystery of the Pink Pearl
'What is there to see in Sonahati?' asked Lalmohan Babu.
'Well according to this book I've been reading, called Travelling in Bengal,' Feluda replied, 'there ought to be an old Shiv temple and a large lake. I think it's called Mangal Deeghi. It was built by one of their zamindars. Even twenty years ago, Sonahati was little more than a village. Now it has a school, a hospital and even a hotel.'

Dr Munshi's Diary

'...Our address is 7 Swinhoe Street, and the house is called Munshi Palace.'

Arun Gupta lives at 11 Roland Road
George Higgins lives at 90 Ripon Street
Mr Mallik's address is Satish Mukherjee Road.

The Mystery of Nayan

To Lalmohan Babu Feluda says
'A cash memo of Ideal Stores in New Market is peeping out of the front pocket of your jacket.

A cinematic portion from the story.
Someone had left the TV on, but the sound had been switched off. People talked, laughed, cried, moved and jumped on the screen, in absolute silence. Strange bluish shadows, reflected from the TV screen danced endlessly on Mr Hingorani's dead face.

Robertsin's Ruby

In Bolpur
You can come to my house when your car gets here. Anybody in Pearson Palli will show you my house.

I received a call from a businessman in Dubrajpur.

...After we finish our business with Dandania, we could go and have a look at the terracotta temples in Dubrajpur and Hetampur. McCutcheon wrote about those.'

...we found ourselves in Uttarayan. Peter said he had never seen a building like it. 'It looks like a palace out of a fairy tale!' he exclaimed. Then we went to Udichi and Shyamali, which were as beautiful. Tom, I noticed, did not take out his camera even once, possibly because there was no evidence of poverty anywhere.

'Unbelievable! This is really incredible, isn't it?' Lalmohan Babu whispered. I found myself in full agreement. All that stretched before our eyes was an ocean of rocks. Stones and boulders of various shapes and sizes lay scattered on the ground, covering a total area of at least one square mile. Some lay flat, others on their side. Some were huge-as high as three-storeyed buildings-but others were relatively small. A few had large cracks running right across, possibly the result of an earthquake hundreds of years ago. It might have been a scene from prehistoric times. If a dinosaur had peeped out from behind a boulder, I would not have been surprised.

This was one of the sights Dubrajpur was famous for. We had already seen the well-known pair called 'Mama-Bhagney'.

Lalmohan Babu's version of the story.
'Well, when Hanuman was flying through the air with Mount Gandhamadan on his head, some rocks from the mountain fell here in Dubrajpur.'

Feluda's version
'...the story I read in my guide book is different. According to it, it was Ram who had dropped these stones here accidentally, when he was gathering stones to build a bridge across the ocean.'

Peter and Tom joined us, and we set off for Hetampur, which was famous for its terracotta temples. The carvings on these enthralled Peter, particularly that of a European lady on a temple wall. It was two hundred years old, we were told.

There was a mela in Kenduli when Feluda and Com. visited.
The fair at Kenduli was being held at a temple built two hundred and fifty years ago, by the Maharani of Burdwan.

They watched a Santhal dance at Phulberey village.
The ponds had names there. One was called Soubhagya Kunda.

Shatadal Sen happened to be free, and offered to take us to see a village by the river Kopai, which Tagore used to watch and admire. I had seen villages and rivers before but there was something about Kopai, and the village called Goalpara that touched my heart and lifted my spirits instantly.

They go to the police station in Dubrajpur.

The Magical Mystery

Someshwar Burman's house-a massive affair-was in Rammohan Roy Sarani

Mr Burman's son has an auction house in Mirza Ghalib Street called the Modern Sales Bureau.

So yes, that's the list of names i have made. Would like to see what each of these places look like now. Some of them are places i have already been to. Some are yet to be explored.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Everything SRFTI Needs to Know About Rape is in this Court Verdict!

When i came across this report of the Mandi Gray rape case, all i could think was that this judgement is the answer to the whole of SRFTI. What judge Marvin Zuker did in his verdict was dispel a lot of myths about rape. Each and every myth he had cited was something i had heard myself for having complained against a professor who raped me. Will go over it one by one and the befitting reply the judge gave.

SRFTI (by SRFTI i mean the group of students, faculty and administrators who lodged a vicious attack against me and other sexual harassment complainants in the institute) told me that

Disclaimer: Shit ahead
  • I was making it up- said that i was a boy calling 'tiger tiger' owing to my exposing of ragging practices in the institute the year i joined. 
  • I asked for it- Since i was in a relationship with the professor (i was not, and again no one asked me if i was) and was seen buying liquor with him, there was no way i could have been raped by him. 
Please read the judge's reply to this load of bullshit.

It doesn’t matter if the victim was drinking, out at night alone, sexually exploited, on a date with the perpetrator, or how the victim was dressed. No one asks to be raped.

The report says that the judge underlined the last line literally. It brought a smile to my lips because i have the habit of putting things in bold when i feel that nobody is getting it despite it being a universal truth. 

More shit.

  • They couldn't believe i was raped because it took more than a year for her to complain. 
  • I am someone who updates her blog regularly mentioning even the smallest of things. I never wrote about this rape so it couldn't be true. 
  • I never told any of her friends that she was raped 
  • I was ruining the reputation of the institute. 
  • I shouldn't be washing SRFTI's dirty linen in public [from Chairperson Partha Ghose]
The reply:

Does the woman rush to the police right away or wait days, weeks, months? It doesn’t matter, Zuker said. There are plenty of reasons why victims wait or don’t report at all. Does she remember every gruesome detail in “a piecemeal fashion, rather than in a neat chronology?” It is understandable, people only remember the gist of what happens and trauma causes memory fragments, he said. Does she lie stiff with fear, and not claw at her attacker or scramble desperately for the door during her rape? And if she doesn’t, should she be disbelieved later?
“This is ludicrous and contrary to the way in which victims behave when attacked,” he said.
“For much of our history the ‘good’ rape victim, the ‘credible’ rape victim has been a dead one.”

  • I provoked the man
  • Taali ek haath se nahi bajti [You can't clap with just one hand] said by the highest authority of the institute, Chairperson Mr Partha Ghose
Answer to shit:

The night of the assault, she’d texted him from a bar to “come drink and then we can have hot sex.” He came, they shut the place down and then walked back to his place.
Her testimony, which Zuker ruled as the truth, was that he berated her on the way home, calling her “an embarrassment” and “a slut” until her self-esteem crumbled. Once he got there, he jammed his penis into her mouth and then raped her. She lay frozen in fear. The version Ururyar told from the witness stand was they’d gone home happily, he’d broken up with her and then they’d had consolation sex

  • This bit was told by the sexual harassment committee which was formed to look into harassment complaints against students. They said that my accusation could not be proven because there were no eye witnesses to what had happened. What was the charge? That the student had forcibly kissed me on my lips on one occasion and had tried to have sex with me on two other occasions. All these inside rooms in the hostel. I should've invited fifty people who could later be eye witnesses to these rooms then. Too bad that i didn't have the clairvoyance.
Reply to shit:

Like in most cases, there were no witnesses to the rape. There were no obvious physical injuries detected by a sexual assault kit Gray had done the next day. There were just the two people’s words.
Zuker ruled Gray “very credible and trustworthy” and Ururyar’s evidence “a fabrication, credible never.”
He slammed him even for his defence tactics: “He went or tried to go to any length to discredit Ms Gray, if not invalidate her. Such twisted logic.”
But what mattered to me most was what the woman said. That i am writing one such post today applauding the decision, that everyone is happy about the verdict and its content, this is all pointing fingers at our faulty system. It's bad enough there, it's worse in india. I don't know what will happen to my court case against the professor who raped me. I hope i win but chances look bleak. I am not the optimistic kind. But these words by Gray did make me feel better. It just means that there are plenty of people around you fighting similar battles.  

“It’s really sad that the legal system is doing what it is supposed to and we are all shocked,” Gray said after the ruling was made.

some days in SRFTI