Rangabhoomi: Dada Saheb Phalke’s life in Varanasi

Jun 10, 2014 | Documentary

Documentary film by Kamal Swaroop
Venue: India Habitat Centre
Date: 6 June, 2014

Rangbhoomi Kamal Swaroop

Kamal Swaroop in collaboration with Films division of India has made a documentary on the Benaras stint of Dadasaheb Phalke. The documentary has been recognized in various film festivals and has won the Swarn Kamal in non feature film category in India. Not withstanding, when we watched it, we were very disappointed.

  1.  It seemed it was a documentary on tourism of Benaras.
  2. The narrator’s reading of Rangbhoomi, the play Phalke wrote while in Benaras, was unimpressive. He was eating the words.
  3. People kept coming and going without contributing anything to the documentation.
  4. We wonder why the sleeping man on boat was panned so long.
  5. And the dogs… and the kids with two brothers story and so many other elements – how did these contributing in documenting Dadasaheb Phalke?
  6. Apart from gimmicks, what role did multimedia/graphic inverted footage/ split scenes play in the documentary?
  7. The documentary was introduced by Dr. Kaushik Bhaumik, faculty for Cinema Studies at JNU. He took more than 20 minutes in narrating the documentary and explaining the thought behind each and every scene. This was not his classroom. He should have not given away all spoilers and thrust his understanding on the audience. This completely spoilt whatever was left of the viewing experience.
  8. We can go on and on we will come to the most important issue. Where is Dadasaheb Phalke in this document?

This documentary is a most insincere exercise – either a result of the director’s whims or some tacky work aiming the film awards.

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

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