FILMS DIVISION PRESENTS
Of EXILES & KINGDOMS / PRATITYASAMUTPADA
26 min / Films Division / 2015
It all begins with the Seven Sisters (Fairies) singing and dancing and the Master Thangtong Gyalpo keeping the beat. As the Opera Troupe travels, across the Himalayan Ecosystem, gathering resources, building Iron Chain bridges over turbulent waters, stories and lives are Reborn as Carnival.
That was 1430. This is Ache Lhamo’s 20th Year in Exile, Shoton / Yoghurt Festival, Dharamsala.
A Democracy is being born. Mountains stand Witness.
In dialogue with the TIBETAN INSTITUTE OF PERFORMING ARTS, Opera performers and artists, the film pitches its tent at the Third Pole.
A TRIBUTE TO MAHASIDDHA THANGTONG GYALPO
Inspiration : HH THE XIVth DALAI LAMA
Resources : Penpa Tsering / Wangdue Pesur / Sonam Gompu
Collaboration : Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts / TIPA
Images RAJULA SHAH
Sound SUBHADEEP SENGUPTA
Music GANGJONG DOEGHAR & VIKRAMJIT BANNERJEE (TUKI)
Production Manager JAMPA KHENRAB
Executive Producers ARGHYA BASU / SONAM GOMPU
a film by ARGHYA BASU
PRATITYASAMUTPAD: Workshop on Film Design/ Curating Practices
Site: Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts & Hotel Tibet
Onsite Workshop Support INDIA FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS
5th-7th August 2014, NEW DELHI
SECRET LIFE OF MEMORIES: Film Installation of Ache Lhamo Opera
Site: Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
Tent. You are Here at the Cinema Sensorium, in a spectacle unfolding of Nomadic encampment; invoking the moving collective, seeking the flow. You Enter Tent to reach Tibet Road. The milestone is faded. You are now outside the field of gravity. The Lhamo Opera team from Kalimpong is camping here for the night. You can See all of them, Hear some others and Talk to a few. Tibet road is a highway on the ancient Map of Silk Route connecting All to Everything. Where is Tibet?
It is several places all at once; Here the surface is the core. The condition is that you keep moving, through rain snow or storm, through the city and the jungle crossing junkyards of History, passing through ruins of civilizations; in and out of the caves of the remembered and the forgotten. If you keep to the track, you reach the hearth of Hotel Lhakpa; you can have a chai here; or a Lafing. Lhakpa is located at the crossroads, at an interstice of History where Time and Space are one. There are no territories, anymore; nor a measure of distances; only a Secret Life of Memories playing itself out in the Green Rooms of the Ache Lhamo Opera.
They have come from far, crossing the collapsing borders, poised with us at the convergence of the ancient, modern and emerging practices of image making. The cinematic apparatus makes possible a ‘glorious retelling of the bhavas’, rooted in life as a concrete reality. Together with Abhinavgupta, we invoke Thangtong Gyalpo, The Tibetan adept and father of Ache Lhamo Opera, who repeatedly emphasized in his edicts that the Buddha had said-Much merit was gained by constructing images, even more merit by writing out the scriptures, even more merit than that by creating representations of enlightened mind (such as the Stupa), even more merit than that earned by saving the lives of sentient beings.
Refined subtle essence purified by fire.
A body where infinite light-forms converge as one,
you are teacher, the taught, the audience.
Building upon the research, study, documentation and audio-video resource of two decades, Seasongray installed video projections of Lhamo Opera in a semblance of Nomadic Space at created at Lalit Kala Gallery, New Delhi. The Opera was mounted as Cinema Sensorium streaming live and archival video loops on multiple screens. It was installed as a walk-through in a Semblance of Tibet Road/ Silk & Spice Route, that takes the viewer through a dim lit corridor of faded paintings, into Hotel Lakhpa where the opera plays out in multiple video loops leading you further into the green room to meet the performers of Tibetan Opera with their fine crafted costumes, props and masks.
The majority of the backdrops for the exhibition walls and partitions were painted by two migrant signboard painters from Garhwal. The local Tibetan community from Majnu ka Tila collaborated with special Tibetan butter tea for the opening; and the famous Lafing seller setting up his Lafing (a Tibetan-Chinese dish) stall inside Hotel Lakhpa.
This exhibition was done in collaboration with the Kalimpong Tibetan Opera Association while the Lalit Kala Akademi provided the space and resource; A Lighting professional, an Art Director and a team of young film & drama students joined Seasongray for the setting up and mounting of the show that was open to Public for three days as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations at Lalit Kala Akademi. It was a critical coming together of a cross ethnic, cross profession diaspora. The Exhibition got enthusiastic reviews and warm responses from the Sahridayas/ Viewers and was instrumental in opening doors for Looking at History, Story and Tradition in a new light for collaborators.
Arghya Basu, Rajula Shah with Kalimpong Tibetan Opera Association
& Tsewang Paljor, Samdup Tsering, Anup Joshi, Seetaram, Tenzin Younten, Tenzin Namkha, Ngawang Tenzin, Bhupal Singh, Ankur Das, Pankaj Bangde, Reema Kaur, Rishi Bhattacharya, Bhismapratim Chakraborty, Manendra Lodhi, Sagnik Mondal & Madhusudan Baul
16th March, 2014, Ravangla, SIKKIM