DER Documentary

Leaving Bakul Bagan

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by Sandeep Ray
color, 43 min, 1994




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Three generations of the extended Roychowdury family have resided for decades at 160 Bakul Bagan Road, Calcutta. Every now and then one of it's members has to leave the landscape of their childhood - a large sprawling house built around a courtyard and all the affection that dozens of relatives surround them with, to relocate for a job or to start a family elsewhere. In Leaving Bakul Bagan, Saborna, a 19 year-old girl prepares to leave for higher studies in the United States. The film is an intimate portrayal of her interactions with her family during her last few days at home. It is full of casual conversational humor and vignettes from typical familial interactions. Incidental to the time and woven into the film are the effects of race riots throughout India in the aftermath of the destruction of a Mosque by Hindu fanatics. This incident precipitates an already brewing political debate about the ethics of leaving for America, especially on the eve of such a tragic political disaster. The very last scene, rendered in slow motion to heighten it's sensibility, effectively creates a sense of deep loss and the feeling that the need for familial roots are indeed pan-ethnic and trans-cultural. Even though shot in cinema-verite style, Leaving Bakul Bagan has the grace and the flow of a dramatic narrative.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Best of Category, New England Film and Video Festival, 1994
Special Invitation, 40th Flaherty Film Seminar, 1994
RAI, University of Kent Festival of Ethnographic Films, 1994
Whitney Museum Tour, New York, Bombay, New Delhi, 1994



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