Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Satyajit Ray Clip @ Google Video

Via Boing Boing, a clip from The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha (Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne):

Wow; I've never actually been able to see this film; this is a tantalizing glimpse. I'd love to see someone remix the music with drum n bass beats.

Oh and incidentally, here is the explanation of the clip:

This is the dance of the Ghosts sequence from 'Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne', Satyajit Ray's rare 1968 film fable. The action occurs in an ... all imaginary land. Goopy the singer and Bagha the drummer are untalented musicians whose playing provokes as much ridicule from the peasants as it does contempt from the king. The only audience they manage to charm is the ghosts. Wearing magic sandals, they arrive in the kingdom of Shundi where, to everyone's amazement, the ruler admires their music. Meanwhile, the king of the neighboring realm of Halla, who is the twin brother of the king of Shundi, wants to declare war. Goopy and Bagha do everything in their power to dissuade him, and finally it is their singing that demobilizes the troops at the last moment. Reconciled, the twin brothers offer to reward Goopy and Bagha with their daughters in marriage.


Anonymous bongopondit said...

Thanks for pointing out the clip. You should get hold of the film asap (it is available on VideoCD from various online retailers).

Btw, the the 'explanation' is really about the whole movie - not just this clip.

This particular ghost dance has nothing to do per se with the musical abilities of Goopy (the singer) and Bagha (the drummer). Having been banished from their respective villages for their atrocious musical qualities, they happen to meet in the middle of the forest in the evening hours. Relieved at being spared by a tiger, they start singing and drumming - this 'musical' bedlam raises the ghosts in the forest area, who break into the dance routines shown in the video.

The ghost dance uses a mix of Indian instruments, folk music, classical music and dance forms (music was rendered by Ray himself). It is also a sutble commentary at socio=political structures (class/caste) - note the 'saheb'/ruler ghosts, the priestly ghosts, worker ghosts, warrior ghosts and such. Quite brilliant in its own right.

(after the dance, the King of Ghosts makes an appearance and grants the duo three wishes. They use one the wishes to gain musical talents)

3:35 PM  
Blogger Suvendra Nath Dutta said...

Wow! That is a much, *much*, better print than anything I've seen. Is there a new release? Restored maybe? On a DVD without some stupid icon in the corner?

One can dream.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Ruchira Paul said...

There is a very amusing song in the movie which chants, "Halla Cholechhe Juddhe.... Ha, Ha, Ha, Halla Cholechhe Juddhe!" which translates as "Halla goes to war... Ha, Ha, Ha, Halla goes to war!" The king of Halla was a particularly bellicose soul and loved to go to war.

For many months after the illegal invasion of Iraq, my name for George W. Bush was "King of Halla" or rather, more accurately in Bengali - "Halla'r Raja."
If only someone had sung the right melody in Bush's ears instead of the lethal whispering that Cheney did!

7:20 PM  
Blogger bhaswati said...

Please note that the ghost dance was not a mix of folk etc.. its purely carnatic classical music, its basically the tanyavartanam used in carnatic performances (where the musicians other than the main performer take turn to play their instrument in different layas). The dance form was kathakali.. the dress design was used to depict the class fight, as mentioned by you.

12:10 PM  

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