Jwalanto Shobder Path AKA Across the Burning Track (2016)
The video, originally involving two screens and four channels of sound, works through Ritwik Ghatak's autobiographical last film Jukti, Takko ar Gappo ('Arguments and Stories', 1974). It was created for the 11th Shanghai Biennale, 2016. In one stream, we present a reconstruction of the film, which tells the story of an intellectual (Nilakantha/Ghatak) caught in the turmoil of the 1970s, marked by the Bangladesh Liberation War and the Naxalbari movement. Nilakantha is a wandering figure killed by a stray bullet at the end of the film. The other stream involves the writer Manik Bandyopadhyay, and the playwright Bijan Bhattacharya who acts in the film. Manik and Bijan were representative figures of the radical culture of the 1940s. Two moments of great misery and creativity, 1940s and 1970s, syncopate each other. We present moving and still images, texts and voices that spectrally connect these moments with other times and lives. Ghatak's Jukti Takko, a perilously autobiographical narrative, sets in motion flows touching the shores of a distant present.