It’s been very difficult to find time to write my blog recently. I would like to be a Blogger Superstar like Big B. He just has to tell his day or to express his feelings. He does not have to find a subject for every post and does not have to check on the Internet every piece of information he wants to publish. Well, never mind!
Today, I wanted to talk to you about this wonderful film by SS Vasan: Chandralekha. I saw it yesterday, at the Musée Guimet. It’s my favourite museum which shows a wonderful collection of objects from Asia. Every year, there is an Indian film festival called “L’Eté Indien” ( Indian Summer). I wait for this festival impatiently every year; it is my moment of happiness despite the start of school.
So yesterday, when I arrived place Iéna, I found strange creatures greeting me on the steps of the Museum. A group of environmentalists showing banners saying slogans against nuclear power. I think there were more CRS ( = State Security Policemen) than demonstrators but, well, I had to walk all around the square to enter my dear museum and watch this classic of Indian cinema.
SS Vasan, – I spare you his long first name, you wouldn’t remember it, anyway – was the director of Gemini Studios, great film studios situated in Madras. There, Tamil films were shot. Chandralekha is one of them. It was made in 1948. We saw a hindi version because there is no Tamil version with French subtitles. It is a black and white movie, of course but the film was so old that it broke, so the projection had to stop a couple of times. I didn’t know movies were still shown that way. I thought projectionists had DVDs or that kind of things!
The story is about a kind Prince and his nasty brother who wants to have the whole kingdom and the girl that the kind prince is in love with. The script is classic. It is a series of kidnappings, fights, escapes and so on and so forth. But what is really impressive is the decorations and the long singing and dancing sessions. This film cost a lot of money. it was risky but it became a classic in India. It reminded me of Gone With the Wind made ten years earlier.
Some scenes can’t be forgotten: the war scenes, the circus acts, the animal training and this incredible scene where women dance on huge drums containing hundreds of soldiers.
One usually says that the Indian cinema is the most beautiful in the world. It must be true.