Ghost Dance from Goopy-Bagha
The film highlights the multifaceted talents of Ray. As was usual for him since Teen Kanya, Ray composed the background score; he also composed tunes for all the songs in the film (which I believe he wrote the lyrics for as well) – apart from writing the screenplay (based on a fantasy story by his grandfather Upendrakisore Ray Chaudhury), and of course, directing the film.
This particular segment is pure genius. It was conceived and executed with brilliance: unspoiled by CGI, using only camera ‘tricks’ for the special effects, blending in various musical instruments and forms (folk music, both south and north Indian classical music and dance forms) – it used to be a delight to watch as a kid. As I grew older, I also appreciated some of the socio-political sub-texts of class and caste: the various ‘forms’ of ghosts – the warriors, the priests, the ‘saheb’/ruling class ec and the infighting among them in the course of the dance.
The ‘explanation’ of the clip at the Google video site was rather unsatisfactory – it describes the whole film rather than just this sequence. I wrote the following as a comment on Amardeep’s blog:
Btw, the the ‘explanation’ is really about the whole movie – not just this clip.
This particular ghost dance has nothing to do per se with the musical abilities of Goopy (the singer) and Bagha (the drummer). Having been banished from their respective villages for their atrocious musical qualities, they happen to meet in the middle of the forest in the evening hours. Relieved at being spared by a tiger, they start singing and drumming – this ‘musical’ bedlam raises the ghosts in the forest area, who break into the dance routines shown in the video.
(after the dance, the King of Ghosts makes an appearance and grants the duo three wishes. They use one the wishes to gain musical talents)
Of course, goes without saying – it is a must-watch film (I am sure there aren’t too many Bongs out there who haven’t seen this).
(Note: Boing Boing links to the Google Video, which for some reason I could not embed in this post – hence I linked to Youtube. )