Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Childhood Memories

My dad took me to watch my first movie when I was a toddler. 

I exactly do not remember which one it was. But, the characters present were Mickey, Donald and Pluto.

 I already knew them from my elder brother's comics books. I do not really remember. But, I think they used to come on Chandmama comics too.

Lots of kids go to watch a cartoon film with their parents when they learn to watch one. 

However, seldom one takes to that habit as a religion. I did. 

Very soon Chaplin, Disney's live motion films, Children's features from European countries and Canada, and documentary features like Moscow Olympic and African Safari followed Suit.       

I loved animation more than live motion at that age. Being a painter himself, my father never really liked the art of animation. 

I wonder why. But, I cannot ask him the reason anymore.

My love for the frame started there. It was a love for the silver screen, and till date I have a problem in watching a film on the small screen - be it a Plasma or a computer monitor. 

I was a spectator, in the classical sense of the term. I enjoyed every moment of the darkness - be it the erotic moments of the Potlatch trailer, or the martial art series from Hong Kong brought to India by Golden Harvest.

It was Chaplin, however, who haunted me throughout my teenage. 

The first film I watched, with my classmate from school, was The Kid

I was fourteen then. And a retrospective of Chaplin was going on in the local theater, Navina. 

There, I practically watched all films by Chaplin, including the two he directed without himself appearing on screen. 

Among them, Modern Times and City Lights were repeats from my earliest days in this planet. I already learnt to have a childhood nostalgia, in my teenage.

One film I repeatedly missed in my childhood was Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha).  I already knew the story from my brother's books. 

But, I finally managed to watch the most celebrated version when I was fifteen.

 Five years before that, my dad recorded the soundtrack for the full movie, in the audio cassette. 

But, watching the modern day fairy tale on the big screen could not be compared with the third gen recorded track, even at that age.

Pather Panchali opened the door to Ray, for me, in the same year. In the next three years, I watched each and every Ray movie many times. 

When I was sixteen, my dad gifted the first cinema book to me. 

Boi Noy Chhobi, penned by Chidananda Dasgupta. 

I came to know about Eisenstein, Kurosawa, Bergman and Godard for the first time. 

Cinema became the source of fantasy in the middle teens. 

Weekends would see me  in Esplanade and Free School Street roam  around corners looking for books to learn screenplay writing. 

My Bengali teacher asked me to read the classics in original. 

At that time, I did not understand what he meant. 

Moving images carried a magic which literature did not carry. 

I was capable of manipulating alphabets. In the same way, I never even imagined to create or manipulate image.

I was at the receiving end, without any further goal or hidden purpose. 

I enjoyed every bit of it. That was the purpose. 

It was hard to explain to my classmates, in school. But, when I wrote an essay in my high school final exam, answering the question, "Your favorite hobby", I felt really happy.

I wrote about going to cinema.

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Childhood Memories by Anirban Lahiri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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