Recently, at a social network group, I had a discussion with a friend on the essence of ethics in art. Whether the film-maker, as an artist, has any social responsibility to uphold while being creative in his medium? My friend was of the opinion that the artist cannot be held accountable fosocial messages or the lack of any in his art. I, personally, cannot look upon the film as entirely a medium where the artist can work in a void, irrespective of social context and the urgencies of his environ. What art, literature, movie has survived the test of time that had been a pretext at creativity and not rooted in the social context?
'Swapno Satyakam' is a documentary drama. Literally the title means ''The dreams of Satyakam'', however it is subtitled in english as 'Dreamz un-dwarfed'. The subject is the matter of how the majority of human beings will look upon anything different from them as an aberration, and hence ridiculous or open to being judged. I think we know this subject much too well, of all discrimination and biases! In this case, this short documentary-drama is the story of a dwarf. Jaded and hopeless in his life from the unending jibes of neighbors, strangers and even children, who seem quite oblivious of the fact that as a human being he is just as sensitive as them and that being a dwarf was not his choice. Satyakam is nothing more than a curiosity of nature to them. Through the storyteller’s eyes we are informed that like us all he is not a dwarf in sensitivity or his capacity to dream. He imagines restoring not only himself to peace and love, but also the entire world. This message is related as a metaphorical folklore.
The film has a lyrical quality in its treatment, with a collage of harsh and realistic pieces of the city; and the darkly dreamy reverie scenes of Satyakam. The wide angle treatment of the scenic suburbs adds a quality of lyricism to the story. The music is not anything new but recognizably influenced by the earlier stalwarts of Bengali film. But even so, it is sweet to the ear and appropriate to the dramatic genre of the film.
The acting, being dramatic, is not particularly the strong point of this film. None of the main characters had any facial expressions, when the camera did catch them at close up. I liked the details however, and those were well executed- the neighborhood boys tittering at Satyakam, the amused and irritated tea-stall owner, and particularly the little boy on the swing chirping ‘e ma, lokta ki choto’ (what a little man!). The innocent yet unfeeling lips of a child utter the reality and climax of the pathos of this film.
I also found the screenplay very much lacking in cinematic quality. The camera looks at and builds the story in such a way that the message is easily conveyed, even without help of language. The dialogues of Satyakam and his mother, the long poetic proposal of Satyakam to his muse were quite redundant. A repetition of the story of nectar to rejuvenate the river and life was unnecessary. In a short movie there should not be repetitions, as per simple rule of thumb. I personally feel if Satyakam had been silent the film would have been more poignant in its message. But overall, a film with a definitive social message.
Director: Som Chakraborty
Producer: Tomal Chakraborty
The link: http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/9157/Swapn...