Thu 15 Sep Schonell - Songs of Mahulbani (Indian Art Film release)

Press Release

New Indian Art Film Release – Schonell Cinemas 15 September 2005 6.15pm

Title: Mahulbanir Sereng (Songs of Mahulbani)/ M (Mature Themes)
Distributor: Bollywood Dreams Level One 109 Edward St Brisbane City 4000
Tel. 07 3002 7152 Mob. 0410 420 004

Director Shekhar Das’ debut film raises the dilemma of native cultures losing faith in their traditions while searching and transitioning to a new one, through chosen and unchosen forces and influences. The audience is free to conclude if the new evolved cultural faith answers questions, especially in the light of the final community and individual gains and losses.

This Bengali film is set in Mahulbani, a fictitious name of a tribal village that actually exists under another name in West Bengal, India and is based on a book of the same name. The story of the film is narrated in the backdrop of ‘Tribal Movement’ that began in the 1980’s as Indian tribal communities sought an identity of their own.

Nature and art dominate the film’s visual palette contributed by the production designer, Hiran Mitra, a noted painter. The screen becomes a canvass, as the colours of the landscape reflect the communities’ relationship and emotional bond with the land. The seasons harmonise with the changing mood of an evolving community and the contradictions that exist within the societal layers.

The lives and loves of the village people, their tribal laws, festivities, songs, love of local brewed liquor, warmth and hospitality cocoon a torrid affair between married though childless, Saheli and the new village doctor. The relationship triggers a series of events that transform the village forever.

There is a strong focus on traditional folk songs and dances to beautiful music composed by Chirodip Dasgupta. Apart from the six main actors the rest of the cast were all ‘villagers’, creating a very authentic cultural experience.

The film had Fipresci and Netpac nominations and has been screened at Pan-Asian Screening, Singapore, Brisbane International Film Festival 2004, Asia Pacific Film Festival, Berlin, Washington D.C. International Film festival. Brisbane audiences now have another opportunity to immerse in this beatifically crafted cultural journey.

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