Film Appreciation Workshop



Mr Jethu Mundul, a veteran film editor who has worked with leading movie makers across the spectrum of Indian Cinema for the past few decades, and who was a teacher at the Film and Television Institute at Pune, conducted a series of workshops at IHS during the first fortnight of March, 2017.

He put together three different workshops for the purpose of introducing the comedy genre to the students. For the Junior School he conducted three sessions in which he played clips from the pioneers of modern comedy, such as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Mr Mundul was happy to witness the unfettered joy and mirth of the junior schoolers, who had a hundred follow up questions after every session.

For the middle school, Mr Mundul played a few clips from the pioneers of comedy films, which included those of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. He gave the students a brief overview of the development of this genre of movies. Many children liked the screening of the films more than listening to a talk about the history of film making.

Mr Mundul’s main contribution was the seven day workshop which he devised to show case not only the development of the comedy genre, but also a general understanding of how the pioneers of movie making explored the various ways in which they exploited the potential of this magic instrument called: movie camera. The workshop focused on the silent era, and the students were shown the work of people like the Lumiere Brothers, Edison, W Griffiths, Alice Guy, Buster Keaton and of course the inimitable Charlie Chaplin. The journey showed how the early magicians and artists used this medium, and with very little technology other than an ability to shoot pictures in rapid succession, to slowly weave the pictures into stories, fantasies and even futuristic drama all without the use of the spoken word or the magic of editing. The workshop culminated with the screening of the Chaplin classic – “A Dog’s Life” – through which Mr Mundul was able to help the viewers delineate the possibility of how humour could be used to depict poverty, suffering and discrimination through the use of visuals and some appropriately designed background music. This movie was played to all children across the school.

The children were left in splits when the movie was playing but the message was not lost on them. I spoke to a couple of young students from the junior school house Jajji who told me that the movie was called “A Dog’s Life” because both Charlie Chaplin (Who played a Tramp) and the Dog named Scrap, underwent similar problems in the movie.

During his last evening at IHS, Mr Mundul had a short session with the teachers with whom he discussed “A Dog’s Life” in particular, besides the various developments in Comedy Movies in general. Mr Mundul told us that he would now present the same programme to other schools and institutions.