Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vijaya Mulay's book

From Rajahs and Yogis to Gandhi and Beyond is reviewd by John Samuel "This is indeed a monumental piece of work - a mammoth book covering the international scene of India-related films in several languages for the entire 20th century in 554 pages with a foreword by Professor Thomas Waugh. This most ambitious project was completed without an army of researchers, single handed by Vijaya Mulay who deserves to be celebrated by all film enthusiasts."
Her life and work in her own words Pather Panchali(the story of the road). Her career seems to have started with her husband's encouragement:
" My husband had had to abandon his university education because of financial constraints, but he was very keen that I should not suffer the same fate although he could not afford to send me to college since he earned only 120 rupees per month.[2] Patna University fortunately permitted women to study privately in order to sit for its examinations. So I studied at home for my bachelor’s degree, learnt Hindi and a little Bengali, and when our finances got better, I attended college on a regular basis to complete my master’s degree.
In 1946 I won a state scholarship to study in Britain. Ironically by then I did not want to go as my second daughter was only nine months old. But my husband insisted, arguing that India would soon become independent and need educated women like me. His final argument was unbeatable. Fathers, he said, were also parents, and with a little help from family members like my younger sister, our two daughters would fare quite well. That’s how I went to the University of Leeds for my master’s degree in Education."
I just came across her name looking for some information about K.A. Abbas and if the following interview is any indication, her book should be interesting, From
Vijaya Mulay: Still documenting, at 87 :
"Do you think India is sufficiently aware of the quality and quantity of documentary films that are coming out today? If not, why? And what can be done to remedy the situation?
I am not clear exactly you mean by “India being aware”. India is many things. I am presuming that you mean the government, the elites, the middle class, etc -- those with some modicum of power in their hands. If this is so, my answer is no, they don’t. But for me they are not important enough to bother about. It is ‘we the people’ (not merely of the Barkha Dutt weekly NDTV programme variety, but everybody) who have to learn to use this facility that has become so very user-friendly, to give voice to those who have never been heard before. We must use it as part of our common weaponry to make the world a better place."

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