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Umbra is a quarterly newspaper on screen culture published by Lightcube out of India. Its pages feature major developments in the sectors of film preservation, film archiving, film society activism, funding for alternative films and film literature. Its focus is to establish a broad narrative or a lineage between the state of these areas in the past and their condition in the present. To this aim, Umbra runs a number of interviews, essays, program notes, festival coverage, listings and annotated filmographies in its issues.

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Umbra Blog presents excerpts from its issues, special interviews and writings.

WRITERS

Anubhav Dasgupta, H.N. Narahari Rao, Isabel Stevens, Kartikeya Jain, Pawan K. Shrivastava, Purti Purwar, Rahee Punyashloka, Ramesh Hambram, Shaunak Mukhopadhyay, Shivarth Pandey, Sudarshan Ramani, Sudipto Basu, Suraj Prasad Mahato

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From The Urban Lens : Abhinava Bhattacharyya's 'Jamnapaar'

by  Vrishank Tripathi

Jamnapaar (2017) lurks on the river's edge seeking to explore how the inhabitants of the Yamuna relate to its degraded presence, the fragile nostalgia of an unknowable past and the horror of its unthinkable future [citation]. The film has a protagonist who has been a diver and a life guard at Yamuna river for many decades. Abhinava Bhattacharya, who is the maker of this film, uses him as an element to portray the image of Yamuna's past, present and future. The film starts by the protagonist saying that there was a fragrance of Himalayas mud that the river used to carry while flowing from the mountains. The river had an utmost important for the inhabitants as their livelihood was dependent on them. Even the kids are still fascinated by the river as was mentioned by one kid where many types of sea creatures used to come during the flooding of Yamuna. 

But the river transformed drastically, owing to the needs of our excessive consumption and the resultant exploitation. The director has used many shots in the film to show the city, as it reflects in the dark dirty water of the Yamuna. The city has relied on the river for centuries, but now we have left it degraded and allowed it to mutate into a sewer - a strange, tense predicament considering its status as a 'holy river'. He also superimposes images of the flock of birds that fly around the banks of the river, with the clouds of smoke produced by the nearby industries and factories - this overlaying is visually arresting because of its aesthetic pleasure, but it also creates a state of tension in the viewer's mind. The filmmaker also employs the protagonist as a means to articulate his own frustration against the society and people who are the chief cause of this calamity. In this, Jamnapaar convincingly employs techniques of the experimental film to induce in the viewer a contemplation of our participation in this exploitation of the river: a defacement so brutal that we can no longer discern how the river looked in the past.

Using close-ups, colours and textures to great effect, the film becomes a beautiful, poetic meditation on not just the river, but also life and livelihood along the river. The treatment of the film is original, script is delicately handled with evocative camera work. Jamnapaar creates a compelling, evocative soundscape with the rhythms of the everyday and draws in the viewer. The layered soundscape adds to the sense of alienation and longing, intricately weaving the past, the present and the future [citation].           





COLUMNS:ARCHIVAL, INTERVIEW, FESTIVAL, TECHREVIEW, FUTURE TRENDS, CAMPUS, EXCLUSIVES, REAR VIEW
EDITOR: SUMEET KAUR    MANAGING EDITOR: ISHAAN BANERJEE
CONSULTANT: SANJAY WADHWA    WEB ARCHITECT: SURAJ PRASAD
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Umbra is published by Lightcube Film Society
UMBRA@LIGHTCUBE.IN | 9851737307 | 7838340196

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Print editions of the present and future issues, along with institutional access to download the journal's current issue, along with its archive of past issues.