from Tom Gunning

February 15, 2010

“Spring in the Colony proves that the great tradition of Bengali cinema still exists. At turns poignant and wryly funny the film follows a range of urban characters — thieves, business men, poets, slackers and shopkeepers from a neighborhood of post partition refugees slated for large scale destruction and re-development — as they move through the city over a twenty four hour period. With an eye alert to the human and revealing detail that recalls the masterpieces of Ritwik Ghatak, the directors create an enduring image of urban life at a point of transition, capturing the way people negotiate their lives and traditions even as they are being dislodged and ignored. As serious as its themes are, the film never loses a lightness of touch and an all-embracing compassion for its characters, their illusion and foibles, their desire and timidities, that matches the films of Italian neo-reallism. I have rarely seen a first film with such assurance of tone and genuine warmth towards its characters.”

Tom Gunning

Professor and Chair, Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago


From Thomas Elsaesser

October 19, 2015

“I had been thinking of you in a different context, having finally caught up with your film “Spring in the Colony”, which I found extremely engrossing, layered as it now is with my own memories of Kolkata. I like the combination of genres – love story, coming of age, Brechtian chorus and learning play, multi-stranded complex narrative, with each thread having its own pace and dynamics, its own turning points and ironic reversals – and the fine performances. A little gem of a film, for which once more, my warm thanks!”

Thomas Elsaesser, Professor Emeritus, Department of Media and Culture, University of Amsterdam

(email to Moinak Biswas, August 17, 2014)


DVD released

November 27, 2012

Sthaniya Sambaad DVD has been brought out by Shraddha Home Video. Available at m3, Starmark, etc. and online from Indua.com



Gayatri Spivak speaking on Sthaniya Sambaad in a lecture

January 23, 2012


Award for Sthaniya Sambaad!

May 14, 2011

We are happy to announce that Sthaniya Sambaad has won the Best Feature Film award at the New York Indian Film Festival, 2011. The Festival, in its XIth edition, was organized by the Indo-American Arts Council between May 4 and 8. Our film was nominated in the Best Screenplay and Best Feature Film categories. At the closing ceremony held at the Asia Society, New York, Salman Rushdie gave away the award to Moinak, who was attending the festival on our behalf.



From Lata Mani

December 28, 2010

I wanted to share some initial thoughts about Sthaniya Sambaad and some of why it has stayed with me. The film succeeds in evoking loss without nostalgia. It tells the story of neoliberal urban development with a degree of dispassion and a lightness of touch that is unusual. I feel strongly that we need a fresh language (visual, verbal) that can enable us to reflect on the things we witness not merely possess facts and figures about them. The stories that interweave to form the narrative of the film enable us to do this. They draw us in but only so far (the multiplicity of characters and subplots ensure we retain a certain distance). We are, in one sense like the unemployed boys. Like them we watch, simultaneously integral to and apart from what is gradually unfolding before us. And the kinds of stories that you have chosen to tell means we are positioned to contemplate not just the lives of your characters but the lifeworld of the street and community.

It is here especially that I feel that the soundscape of the film becomes crucial. The auditory shifts that accompany “development” have (to my knowledge at least) not been adequately explored. I am thinking not just of the marginalisation of the folk-song or the loss of quietude that undermines the street as a locus of open-ended conversation but also the fate of the cycle bell or the call of the vendor. All of this, as we know, becomes overlaid (at times drowned out) by the roar of traffic, the noise of construction and the mass mediated sounds of the entertainment industry. The film allows us to experience all of this not just as a physical onslaught but also as a cultural/epistemological one.

The welter of sound and the whirl of lights and motion of the contemporary city alter an earlier relationship between the inner and outer worlds of individuals. The inner becomes little more than a psychological space within a context whose overwhelming nature de facto places individuals in an embattled relationship with their environment. Or else makes them akin to salmon swimming upstream. This contrasts with the more relaxed urbanism of the refugee area in which we still find a continuum of relationality and where the process of self-reflection has not yet become thoroughly interiorised. This difference is evident in the discomfort of the young protagonist who finds the city to be alien territory despite his predisposition to being immersed in his own world. We can barely hear the conversation between him and the professor figure; an analogue perhaps to the challenge of being able to listen in on oneself in context of the sensory overload of the bustling city centre.

All in all there was much to think about. I would like to see it again.
Thank you for making it. I hope it will be widely seen.

Lata Mani, historian and independent author, Bangalore


From Lakshmi Subramanian

November 29, 2010

I loved the film… poignant and touching and funny. Absolutely wonderful the way sound has been used. Could have done with a little editing but overall a treat .. Thanks makers of Sthaniya Sambaad.

Lakshmi Subramanian, Professor of History, Centre for Studies in Social Social Sciences, Calcutta


July 1, 2010