Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why India's first prez is biggest Bhojpuri hero

A dainty dusk descends on Cinema Bhojpuri author Avijit Ghosh's office, but being a journalist is no joy at that hour. His tone is terse, his words wandering into the work realm. "Sorry, you might have to hold if I get another call." But there's none. Instead, it's his calling that keeps us busy. "If a journalist wants to be a good author, he must discipline himself strictly," he emphasises, sharing his pre and post office writing regime. Ghosh rouses the author in him in the week, mostly, if not weekends. Much removed in manner and style, from his almost namesake Amitav Ghosh. There's a curious connection, though: Amitav watched Bhojpuri films like Mai Jaisan Bhauji Hamaar while researching for Sea of Poppies, Avijit delved into the cinema itself.

The rest of the conversation unfolds in heady Hinglish, with so much to say in such little time. "India's first president Dr Rajendra Prasad (in his meeting with character actor Nasir Hussain) was a sure-shot inspiration for Bhojpuri cinema," he begins, "but an inspiration, not a pioneer. That certainly spurred the phenomenon, but the films would have come about anyway. It was mainly a question of time and money." Beyond the 1950s, no politician can take credit for the success of Bhojpuri-wood, he clears. Laloo, the least. "He took charge in 1990, and the years of his reign, and Rabri's, were the worst for Bhojpuri cinema. It was Sasura Bada Paisewala which changed the tide in 2004."

This compelled Ghosh to get going on his book. He dedicates it to Rupam, Mohan, Sapna and Moti Mahal -- the cinema halls of Arrah, an administrative town in Bihar where he fell in love with these films. Without regret.

Full report here Mid-day

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