Film lays bare routes to nirvana via lovemaking

Sex is often talked about in hushed tones. Documentary filmmaker Amitabh Chakraborty, however, makes it loud in his bold and experimental full-length feature titled Cosmic Sex on the art of conjugation on celluloid. Recently, the movie was showcased as a finale at Kolkata’s Metro Cinemas to bring the curtains down on the International Forum of New Cinema, organised by the Cine Central Calcutta.
While some of the explicitly shot coital scenes and slang-infested dialogues may appear crudely obscene, perverse and jarring to one’s senses, the director’s take on the burning issue, however, endeavours to settle the argument once and for all. “I’ve been working on this area as a documentary director for three years now. So the theme has always inspired me and interested me to draw ideas and different angles to it. My portrayals of copulation may seem stark to only those eyes who haven’t explored the various levels of society where certain communities engaged in such acts do exist,” he says.
But what about this divine connect in sex? Isn’t it blasphemous to blend godliness with orgasmic delight? “My film doesn’t attempt to be deliberately irreverent by inducing steamy passion-plays which many movies unnecessarily try to encash to sell out tickets at the theatre counters. But I had no such ambition since I knew there will be very few takers for this fringe film in the mainstream market and only a niche audience with a right kind of mindset will queue up to watch the movie. The subject itself revolves around redemption via foreplay. It’s like getting a kick of nirvana (salvation) out of love-making. The old-school orthodoxy may admonish me or look askance at my work on this radical representation of finding a divine route through physicality. But history certainly bears a testimony to such age-old conventions present in our cultural heritage. For example, it is also evident in the chronicles of the Charyapada or Charijagiti,” he explains. To the uninitiated, this historical tome compiles a collection of 8th-12th century Buddhist mystical poems from the tantric tradition in Kalinga (the erstwhile name for the present-day modern state of Orissa). It also comprises of the oldest verses written in pre-modern Bengali. Other languages like Assamese, Oriya and Maithili too find their native origin in the Charyapada. A manuscript of this anthology was first discovered in early 20th century.
Rubbishing the possibility of his flick to be allegedly labelled as a chick-lit, sacrilegious effort, the helmer instances that a range of sects varying from the vagrant fakirs to bohemian aul-bauls to the maverick cults of sahebdhonis and satimars — all practise this wild form of erotica, quite religiously for hundreds of years. “Hence, my film purely and precisely offers a downright picture of their way of living which needs some attention and proper discussion across the table. You may challenge my views and research upon this context but at the same time I can assure you that there is no undue titillation or provocation in the flick, though it largely dwells upon a hot-smoky premise. Our aim is not to propagate the movie in such a manner. For here we have just laid bare basic facts on the screen,” he says.
The film is next travelling to the upcoming prestigious Kerala film fest to be staged from December 8 onwards. Featuring the popular Bengali actress Rii in the lead cast, Cosmic Sex will vie for a prominent berth in the competitive segment. Though unabashed and much controversial in content, Chakraborty attempts to release the film in regular plexes through the snips of censorship. “The theme is unambiguously complicated. But then, it is strongly rooted in our traditions since the ages of yore. Besides I think, every film has its own target-viewers. At a globally recognised movie-festival too, a clique of world cine-buffs and astute critics fill in the hall-seats. But one has to first watch a particular film to understand its underlying essence before passing out any sniding remarks on it,” he says.
Chakraborty’s previous film Bishar Blues, having notched up a coveted National Award in the year 2008 as the Best Non-Feature Film, is another offbeat venture dabbling in the typical Bengali fakirs of the eastern India. Deeply impregnated with spiritual philosophy, folksy music and a vagabond’s wandering lifestyle, Bishar Blues has been a huge festival favourite across the globe.

It has already taken trips to the acclaimed movie-fests held in Amsterdam, Japan, Munich, Spain and America. Subtitled in English, this 79-minute film was released nationally in 2006.

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