Between presence and absence in Tuni Chatterji’s Okul Nodi | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2045-6298
  • E-ISSN: 2045-6301

Abstract

This article examines the layers of vistas of landscape, archival audio, ambient sound and documentation of history and culture in Los Angeles–based filmmaker Tuni Chatterji’s experimental documentary film () (2012). Chatterji’s film consists mainly of luminous shots of boatmen travelling along Bangladeshi rivers. During key sequences, recordings of Bangladeshi boatmen’s songs known as are heard on the soundtrack. Interspersed among these shots and tracks are brief interview scenes with anthropologists and archivists of this musical form and musicians who perform or study the genre. This article shows how the film fuses experimental filmic approaches from artisanal to structural with documentary, ethnographic and archival modes, including that of ‘ecocinema’, highlighting questions of seeing and knowing. It also traces how the film obliquely brings to light a history of twentieth-century engagement with and archiving of this musical genre on the part of collectors of folk and Indigenous music, as well as radical subcontinental modern artists, thinkers and activists across Partition’s borders.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant
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2022-04-01
2024-04-19
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