Portrayal of environment in cinema: A comparative study of ‘Pather panchali’ & ‘Dreams’
Ram Prakash Dwivedi
Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) and Akira Kurosawa (1910-198) are the world-famous filmmakers. Coincidentally, they were contemporary and friends. They were also sources of inspiration for each other. Their films are a landmark example of creative cine-language. In most of their movies, nature and the environment are as important as the human characters. Rather, the human being is guided by the nature to act upon. Their movies incorporate nature as an essential component for human activities. Portrayal of nature, in Ray’s movies, is different from that of Kurosawa. To Ray’s films environment and nature comes as part of daily life or seasonal change, whereas Kurosawa represents nature as phenomena like rain, volcanic eruptions, tsunami and earthquakes. This difference is the result of separate geographical conditions of India and Japan. Japan is environmentally very sensitive country, whereas India, due to its larger landmass, does not feel such sensitivity. Pather Panchali (1955) is considered as a masterpiece of parallel cinema and reflects reality. The film was made with on location shooting technique. This film, therefore, depicts the nature and environment of Bengal. In Dreams (1990) imagination is more important than reality. Natural phenomena are all constructed according to the theme. The nature and environment, shown in Pather Panchali, are integral part Bengali/Indian life and culture, but the same is not true for Dreams. The nature, depicted in this film, has global appeal and situations created in it are more close to universal human life, breaking the boundaries of any particular geographic location. Environment in cinema is, essentially, a cultural reflection. But, at the same time, it can surpass the limits of time and space. Hence, environmental issues taken up by Ray and Kurosawa in their respective films share a common message and theme and sensitize all kind of viewers.