For the Bimal Roy Memorial & Film Society, 2007 opened on an auspicious note with the release of the Commemorative Postage Stamp to honour Bimal Roy on his 41st Death Anniversary January 8, 2007. Before a distinguished audience assembled in august Convocation Hall ( former university ) hosted by the Department of English, University of Mumbai, Smt. K. Noorjehan, Principal Chief Postmaster General, (Maharashtra Circle) did the honours. Professor Vijay Khole, Vice Chancellor (Mumbai University) presided over the function and felicitated BRMC’s special guests, Sitara Devi, Smt. Sulochana and Shri Dharmendra, represented by his son, Sunny Deol.
On January 9, 2007, we presented our vintage music concert, Smriti Sandhya, at St. Andrews Auditorium, Bandra. A veritable trip down melody lane, it was rich tribute to lyricist, Majrooh Sultanpuri, featuring a galaxy of gifted singers, like Sadhana Sargam and senior musicians, like Manohari Singh. The music programme was preceded by an impressive dance performance by Jhelum Paranjpe’s troupe, Smitalay.
A two-day interactive Film Appreciation Seminar & Workshop was held by the Memorial on 19th & 20th May 2007 at National College with the aim of increasing awareness on the finer film making nuances. Leading young and veteran film personalities like Vikas Desai, Jaidev Hattangady, film critic Maithili Rao and award winning actor, Purab Kohli took the audience through an exciting journey of exploring film language, direction, production, story telling and critiquing among others. Theatre personality, Dolly Thakore and academicians, Dr. Mira Desai of SNDT University and Dr. Debjani Dasgupta of Mumbai University moderated the various sessions with insight and understanding.
On the occasion of Bimal Roy’s 98th Birth Anniversary, we presented a song bouquet from the films of Roy’s brilliant protégés, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Bhattacharya, Gulzar and others. The function was held at National College with the intention of having a small intimate informal gathering of invited guests. We were stunned by the response of an overflowing music loving audience, reaffirming our faith once again in the loyal following that melodious film music has always fetched.
Eminent nutritionist, Naini Setalvad held a special workshop for members on “Health & Nutrition” on 13th October, 2007. A fit and fitting practitioner of her own precepts (she managed to reduce her weight from an embarrassing 158 kgs to a svelte 60 kgs successfully through sheer determination and discipline), Naini showed how healthy food and healthy habits could make a difference to our stressful lives.
On 29th November, 2007, our third music concert in one calendar year, Anandadhara, was held, in a departure from the past, at the newly built Yeshwant Natya Mandir, Matunga, celebrating maestros in Hindi films from Rabindra Nath Tagore to R.D. Burman and later. It was compered by eminent theatre personality, Jaidev Hattangady. Legendary music arranger, Manohari Singh was the Guest of Honour. Many old timers conceded that it was one of the best concerts held BRMC in terms of content and quality, but the change of venue appeared to have acted as a dampener to our regular audience, which we have now made due note of. BRMC is fortunate that Anandadhara was sponsored by the ONGC. We are pleased to say that quality of the concert was praised by BRMC sponsor.
BRMC had a series of films on social issues. MY BROTHER NIKHIL, for example, raised the issue of discrimination against HIV positive individuals. We also had a show of PARZANIA on the Gujrat riots .These shows were accompanied by the film’s directors or stars – like Naseeruddin Shah – who introduced the theme.
Our Film Society continues to screen Indian classics and world cinema twice every month at the National College Conference Hall. Despite our best efforts with good selection and reminders by SMS, emails, phone calls, circulars, attendance of members leaves much to be desired. In this context we have tied up with other registered film societies for a reciprocal arrangement . In effect, this implies that our members have a choice of viewing over 10 films a month, though at different venues, while we have the satisfaction of enjoying the presence of a larger audience.
The coming year promises to be packed with events that will lead up to the Bimal Roy Centenary Celebrations in 2009. A beginning has been made with prominent media coverage of BRMC’s activities by Times of India (2nd February, 2008) interviews by Reuters and CNN-IBN lined up in the pipeline. Programs include fund raising art auctions , fashion show & renaming of a street in Bandra in of Bimal Roy’s memory are currently in process . We hope these come to fruition with support of film aficionados and the powers that be.