Top-notch artist Paresh Maity has been painting, primarily, and sculpting for well over three decades. But few would probably know about his long-time interest in films. Maity has produced and directed short films like The Magic of the Monsoons and The Mystic Melody.
Maity grew up surrounded by water in Tamluk town in Bengal. There were canals, ponds, rivers, and the sea; there was that water-laden sky in the monsoons; the raindrops inspired him to create a thousand watercolors. The sight of water anywhere in the world has led him to turn out many more paintings.
“I wait for the monsoon every year. It is my favorite season,” confesses Maity. So, he finally decided to translate this intense love for water into a film. “Yes, The Magic of the Monsoons—Montage, Moments, Memories was the outcome of this deep love for water. Since this element has captivated me for so many years, I wanted to capture it on film,” emphasizes Maity.
He started shooting the film during the monsoon in 2009. The unit began in Kolkata and traveled to Kanyakumari via Mumbai, shooting throughout the Konkan coast. In the movie, he tried to depict the pre-monsoon phase, then the monsoon in full sway and finally the post-monsoon period. This was done through effect and impression on nature as well as on life around. “We were shooting entirely outdoors, using natural sound. The film is a subtle reflection of the beginning of my journey into the world of art,” underlines Maity.
The Mystic Melody—A Day in the Golden Desert, the other short film, was shot in Rajasthan during the winter. “When I came to Delhi in 1990, I traveled to Rajasthan. That changed my paintings dramatically from landscapes to figurative. I started using absolutely primary colours like red, yellow and blue. These hues seeped into my palette,” Maity says. The Mystic Melody fathoms the sound of silence. “The folk music of Rajasthan and the Shekhawati wall paintings have inspired me to recreate the joy and celebration of life. After that first visit, I have traveled almost 100 times to Rajasthan,” Maity exults.
They shot from dawn till dusk. The movie has various elements… the early morning mist, the golden sunlight, waves of sand, the colours of everyday life, folk music, the twilight and sunset, evening performances, the moonlight…
Maity intended to embrace all these facets in the film. Both films stretched over 18 minutes and took around two months to finish. The illustrious artist had a 14-member crew from Mumbai to assist him.
“I loved viewing films by Satyajit Ray and Western films. Observing cinema for at least three decades has fired my imagination,” Maity emotes. Even during his travels abroad, he has dropped by at movie theatres, especially in England and Switzerland. He is moved by the sound, movement and atmospheric elements of films. “This medium is multi-dimensional. I still watch good films, but I’m very choosy,” he says.
Both The Magic of the Monsoons and The Mystic Melody were fulfill edged 70 mm films in digital format. Maity has not yet negotiated a commercial release, but he does plan to screen the movie overseas. Dwelling on future plans on the movie front, Maity says he plans to embark on three full-length feature films. On whether these movie outings would also revolve around elements related to art, he is still a trifle undecided: “I think it will be a little premature to discuss the themes at this juncture,” he says.
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