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Sikkim (1971)

Sikkim VCD

Director: Satyajit Ray

Itemcode: 1000010306
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Sikkim (1971)

Country: India

Language: English

Year: 1971


Category: Documentary


A documentary about the nation of Sikkim, directed by Satyajit Ray, the film was commissioned by the Chogyal (King) of Sikkim at a time when he felt the sovereignty of Sikkim was under threat from both China and India. The film was banned by the government of India when Sikkim merged with India in 1975. Satyajit had planned several documentaries with people in their natural settings.. like musicians of Rajasthan, dancers of Ellora, but eventually ended up making only one. Ray's cousin, who lived in Darjeeling and had appeared in his film Kanchenjungha (1962), was acquainted with the Chogyal of Sikkim Palden Thondup Namgyal and his American wife Hope Cooke. The couple commissioned the films and his cousin convinced Ray to take on the project.

While no critics have seen the film, Ray described it in the following way: "While they're reaching this point, I cut to a shot of a piece of a telegraph wire. It's raining and there are two drops of rain approaching on a downward curve. It's a very poetic seven minutes. And the end is also very lively, very optimistic, with children, happy, laughing, smoking, singing. The whole thing builds up into a paean of praise for the place." The documentary was screened for public viewing for the first time in 39 years at the 16th Kolkata Film Festival. Mathures Paul of The Statesman wrote in his review, "Sandwiched between Pratidwandi, Seemabaddha and Ashani Sanket, Sikkim is beautiful, more an essay from a respected travel journal from Ray's era accompanied by detailed photographs that graces magazines like Life."

Except a private screening for the Royal family of Sikkim, the film never got formally released. For many years, the film was considered to be lost and it was thought that the only surviving record of the film is a scene-by-scene written reconstruction of the film by the remaining film team members. When Kolkata-based Satyajit Ray Socienty traced a print with the Chogyal's family it was found to be damaged beyond repair. However, in 2003 it was reported that a good quality print has been kept by the British Film Institute. Finally a print that had made its way to London was traced and restored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2003. A restored version was shown in 2008 during a "Ray Retrospective" at the Nantes Three Continents Film Festival in France. After the government lifted the banned, the restored copy reached the Gangtok-based Arts and Culture trust of Sikkim in September 2010, which had earlier received the rights for the film in 2000.

Director: Satyajit Ray

Music Director: Satyajit Ray

Voice: Satyajit Ray

Format: VCD

Label: Angel Video

Catalog No: AVVCD1026

No Of Disks: 1