Loading Map....

Date(s) - 30/04/2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Alliance Française du Bengale


The Alliance française du Bengale is happy to announce the screening IN FRENCH of “La musique selon Deben Bhattacharya” (Music according to Deben Bhattacharya”, a film by Stéphane Jourdain in presence of Dr Jharna Bose-Bhattacharya on Thursday 30 April 2015 at 7.00 pm at Park Mansions.

After screening of the film, Dr. Hari Sankar Vasudevan, Professor of history at the University of Calcutta, along with Mrs. Bose Bhattacharya, will talk IN FRENCH about the film and life of Deben Bhattacharya. 


Deben Bhattacharya spent his life on he road recording music in dozens of countries, in hundreds of towns and villages, and making records. He was neither a scientist, nor a dilettante : simply a man eager for knowledge, with an exacerbated sensitivity and who just couldn’t stand still. By the mid-80’s, he had over 500 hours of field recordings, 16 000 photographs, directed 23 films and published about a dozen books.

The film is constructed around Deben Bhattacharya’s return to Bangladesh, the country of his origins. As a continual back-and-forth between memories and reality, north and south, anecdotes and History, this man’s extraordinary path gradually reveals itself through faces, trips and music.

About Deben Bhattacharya:

debenDeben Bhattacharya was born in a traditional Bengali Brahminfamily in Varanasi in 1921. That he was compelled to study in a traditional Sanskrit “toll” and dress in the old-style dhoti possibly bred a sense of rebellion in him and he ran away from home more than once when he was 15 or 16. Soon he would come in contact with the English poet Lewis Thompsonm then living in Varanasi, giving Deben the first glimpses of another world.

In the mid-forties he came in touch with another 2 Europeans in Varanasi, the first being Raymond Burnier, researching about Indian art and sculpture, and the other, Alain Danielou, who was keenly interested in Indian music. Through them, Deben came to meet a young officer in the Royal Engineers who assured him that he would try and help Deben should he be able to get to England in search of work. He finally found himself on 5th November 1949 at Tilbury near London. BBC was interested in airing contemporary Indian film music , Indian classical music and Indian folk music, and some of the programmes that Deben developed became quite popular.

He was then able to return to India for a short while in 1954 to record folk songs and came again in 1955 overland when he would record extensively songs en route from Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan followed by an extensive tour of India. Many of these recordings were edited and issued by Argo Records and later by EMI. By about 1963, BBC Television showed interest in films on Indian folk cultures and Deben’s materials were edited in 2 films, ‘Kathakali’ (the classical dance form of South India) and ‘Storytellers from Rajasthan’; both proved to be popular with viewers.

In 1969, he met Jharna Bose in Paris where they settled down. He continued directing and producing documentaries as well as music from many countries like China, India and Sri Lanka. IN July 2001, Deben Bhattacharya died in Paris.