Partition of India was worse than the holocaust: Devdas Chhotray

IIMC, Dhenkanal organises national seminar on Cinema titled ‘Indian Cinema: Through the Prism of Reality’

Dhenkanal: As part of its Silver Jubilee Celebration Initiative, the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal organised a National Seminar on Cinema titled ‘Indian Cinema: Through the Prism of Reality’ here on Sunday. The event was inaugurated by renowned writer, lyricist, bureaucrat and academician Mr Devdas Chhotray in presence of Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee, Regional Director of IIMC, Dhenkanal and renowned film critic Dr. Piyush Roy. Mr Nadeem Khan, Regional Director of IIMC (Western region) and renowned film researcher and critic Mr Surya Deo also graced the event.

Deliberating at the event on ‘Partition Films in Indian Subcontinent’, Chhotray said, “It (partition of India) was violent and traumatic. Never before in the history of mankind had such large scale violence and displacement of population taken place. At a conservative estimate more than one and a half million people died in the violence following the Partition. It was even worse than the holocaust. As a society, we must assess its effect on our society and especially on our popular culture.”

While addressing the gathering on the topic, Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee opined, “We are probably scared of the horrific realities of the past and would not want to return to them and, at the same time, would like to push it under the carpet by not discussing it…. Probably as a nation we have not yet matured to view our history dispassionately and show violent and traumatic events as it were. Unlike in the west, where people of the countries that fought bitterly during the Second World War have by and large got over it, we have not yet been able to do so.”
Dr. Piyush Roy also deliberated on ‘Partition and the Ascendancy of Bombay Cinema’ and explained how the Mumbai film Industry was affected by the partition. In his deliberation, he threw light on how many cine artists, including actors, musicians and directors had to migrate due to partition and how it affected the Bombay (now Mumbai) film industry. Roy also drew a comparison between the on the film industry of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
An Odia monograph on entertainment journalism, ‘Manoranjan Sambadikata’, a monograph on ‘Forgotten Footnotes: Partition Films in Indian Sub-continent’ and the updated Alumni Index of the institute were also launched at the event.

Notably, the institute is organizing a string of cinema related events titled ‘Filmi Chakkar’ here from 14-16 January 2018. The seminar will be followed by a two-day Film Appreciation Workshop on 15 – 16 January, curated and conducted by National Film Award winning critic and film scholar Dr. Piyush Roy. Besides, there will be screening of feature and documentary films. Some of the most acclaimed films of Indian history will be screened after the session. An exhibition of film magazines down the ages was also curated by Sri Surya Deo as part of the event.
The Seminar was divided in two parts. In part one; the focus was on ‘Partition Films in Indian Subcontinent’ while the second part will focus on ‘The Process of Engagement with Reality’. Each part will have two plenary addresses, and three paper presentations.

Every evening, there will screenings of films- Indian and foreign, feature films and documentaries.

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