On My Collection

  • 1319 Words

It is sad to reflect that so much of our film heritage has been lost due to neglect. All that remains are some images, a remainder to preserve them.

Such devotion to an individual is rare. But then Langlois was a rare individual. He was without doubt the greatest diseminator of cinematic culture in the world.

A call to halt the negligence (and even vandalism) through which many thousands of films have perished since the birth of the cinema industry.

Reaching Out to Film in India

  • Taj Magazine
  • 3898 Words

With the independence of India, well-known documentary film-makers like the Russian Roman Karmen and the Swedish Arne Sucksdorff were drawn to witness not only an ancient civilization but also the exciting drama of a young nation on the move.

The Smuggler of Light

  • 1958
  • 2531 Words

A reprint of Garga's review of a film title that assumed, owing to its absence from a general public forum, a mythical status: Sergei Eisenstein's 'Ivan the Terrible Part II'. As is true of much of film culture, the set of circumstances that seem to have yielded the review is as incredible as the film itself. In this piece, Garga combines a review of the film with the description of the setting from it was borne out of, a clandenstine screening organised somewhere in the heart of Russia.

Painting was her very existence and though she was aware that her work in Europe was far removed in emotional content from her Indian canvasses, her intellectual processes eternally craved for experiment in form and colour.

In this piece, written for a Filmfare special issue in the mid-60s, author B.D. Garga contemplates the various accomplishments - and the erstwhile reception - of one of the earliest Bombay Talkies films, Light of Asia (1925). Garga then ventures an extraordinary hypothesis: if indeed, he ponders, Light of Asia had not been lost and had been allowed to register the legacy it deserved, the history of Indian cinema would have been panned out entirely differently.

This interview, sourced from a 1980 issue of Cinevision, features Garga in conversation with Ardeshir Irani, who details the process involved in the production of Alam Ara (1931), India's very first talkie.

The article contemplates the international reception of Indian films in 1959. This is essential, for it establishes a legacy - of concern and lament - that sustains to this year. The author selects a set of titles that are now recognised as seminal, and a majority of which, even more critically, are available widely for exhibition.

Filming Ray

  • 1620 Words

A process piece which focuses on the production mechanisms of not one, but two films: Satyajit Ray's Mahanagar (1963), but also B.D. Garga's own documentary on Ray, Creative Artists of India: Satyajit Ray. The piece is significant not only for its insight into Ray's methods as a filmmaker (also available in elaborate detail elsewhere), but in its discussion of how the state's mechanisms of film acquisition and distribution operate.

B.D. Garga spent a significant amount of time in Soviet Russia in the late 1950s (a piece detailing his adventures as a critic is available from the period in the first cycle) while an assistant on K.A. Abbas' Pardesi (1957). In this piece, he uses his presence there to contemplate the aftermath - and the impact - of Eisenstein's totemic Battleship Potemkin (1925) on Russian cinema in general.

The Prophet of Cinema

  • 1961
  • 1613 Words

In a piece that may be read as being one from a series of continuing reports on Soviet cinema, Garga ruminates the figure of Vsevolod Pudovkin, one of the seminal figures of film history, and a pioneer of the praxis-as-thought stream of film production. 

B.D. Garga was one of the members of the jury of the 1972 edition of the Leipzig Festival of Cultural and Documentary Films (since renamed, Dok: Leipzig). He reports on the various titles he witnessed, which a special, directed focus on Chris Marker's masterpiece from the year, Le Train en Marche, which features Alexander Medvedkin (also the jury president for the year and about whom, Marker would later produce, The Last Bolshevik (1992)).

Requiem for a Friend

  • 1987
  • 1710 Words

B.D. Garga pays rich tribute to his abiding friend, colleague and the very first editor of his writing, K.A. Abbas, who was himself a cineaste, a writer, a film journalist and a film producer, much like Garga himself.