New Delhi, Jul 14 (UNI) A great piece of literature may not always translate into a great cinematic work, but literature and cinema have their own distinct places in the art pantheon.
This was the widespread consensus during a discussion on the subject 'Has Great Literature Spawned Great Cinema' at the ongoing Osians Cinefan festival of Asian and Arab cinema here last evening.
''Film and Literature are irreplaceable and irreconcilable. If literature gets words, then film gets images, movements and sound,'' said Suresh Chabria, Professor of Film Appreciation and Registrar, FTII, Pune.
''Literature, as of today has inspired a lot of filmmakers, but why is it that a film has never inspired a Novel?,'' said Chabria, the moderator at the session, which saw participation from a talented and distinguished panel comprising Kunal Basu, Jaishree Misra, Chitra Devakurni, Basu Chatterjee and David Philips.
Delivering the keynote address at the session, held as part of the Infrastructure and Building of Minds at the ongoing Osians Cinefan, veteran filmmaker Kumar Shahani, a student of Ritwik Ghatak whose first feature film, Maya Darpan (1972), is regarded as India's first formalist film, said, ''Writing a book and writing a screenplay are very different activities. A literary work should only be inspirational.'' He highlighted his opinion by showcasing clips, one of which was from Robert Bresson's film Une Femme Douce (1968) on which he had worked as an intern during his time spent in France.
Speaking at the session, Mr Kunal Basu said, ''Good literature has a seductive and a narrative story. One may not be able to recollect a particular line from a novel but will surely remember its story.'' He said that both the filmmaker and the author are ultimately involved in the craft of story telling in their own different ways.
David Phillips, however, put forth a note of caution by saying, ''One has to be careful about moving from one medium to another, as it is an act of translation. Both the mediums give a moment of insight and thus the specifics need to be preserved.'' In this context, Chitra Devakaruni bought to focus the need to understand the spirit of the literary work. ''It is not crucial for the filmmaker to closely follow the book, but one has to understand the spirit of the same,'' she said.
Jaishree Misra, supporting Ms Divakaruni, said, ''Both the mediums, that is, Literature and Cinema are constantly challenging and upgrading each other. What a filmmaker needs to understand is the heart of the book.'' Ms Misra was also of the opinion that the filmmakers adapting an already famous novel have a commercial advantage of having a preset audience.
In reply to a question, she said, ''For the author, it is always a win-win situation. Either a great film popularises a book or even if disliked, the book is only further appreciated in comparison.'' Noted Indian film director, writer and producer, Basu Chatterjee, who has directed 43 short/long films, most of which are adaptations expressed, his views from a filmmaker's perspective. ''For a film to be great, the filmmaker cannot just depend on literature; the challenge is how to make the content visually strong,'' he said.
He brought to light that only after the popularity of his TV serial 'Byomkesh Bakshi', did the novel written by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay get its due recognition.
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