Bela

  • 59'
  • India
  • 2020

Lit by lamps, young men practise an expressive, acrobatic dance they will only unveil in its full glory at a regional contest. The Chhau performers travel to the latter in a wagon full of colourful masks and costumes to preserve their village’s honour. They played bit parts in Sakhisona, which won filmmaker Prantik Basu a Tiger Short Award in 2017. His latest film is an impression of daily life in their home town of Bela in eastern India. There he also records the women’s activities as a counterpoint to the dancing, which is exclusively for men.

Basu filmed there for two years, yet his edit condenses the material into what seems to be two days. The evening rehearsals are followed by the slaughter of a chicken, before daybreak. Women collect wood from the forest, grind corn and prepare a feast. A diesel loco, a factory and the surrounding nature provide the backdrop for this choreography of art, ritual and labour.
Director
Prantik Basu
Country of production
India
Production Year
2020
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
Length
59'
Medium
DCP
Language
Bengali
Producers
Anjali Monteiro, K.P. Jayasankar, Prantik Basu
Sales
Prantik Basu
Screenplay
Prantik Basu
Cinematography
Prantik Basu, Riju Das
Editor
Prantik Basu
Sound Design
Ananda Gupta
Music
Manbhum Sramjivi Chhau Dance Group