Snapshots from a Family Album (2003) Works of Avijit Mukul Kishore

This was Avijit Mukul Kishore's first film as a director. About this film he had written in November 2003, "These days I am busy finishing the film that I have been making on my parents. For me its a daily activity, living with myself and my parents, with things that happened and were shot years ago, to watch our lives unfold and to try to construct it all into a coherent and interesting narrative. I am calling the film 'Snapshots from a Family Album'. It is about looking at my parents over five crucial years when children and parents come into their own and both 'retire' to their own spaces, and in the process remember a lot, look back a lot, with a lot of love and a whole lot of strange emotions. Hope it all comes through."

Closeup of a Gentle Lensman

By Georgina L. Maddox

From Indian Express, May 2004

“Why would anyone want to watch a film about an old woman lying in bed? Films are meant to entertain. Don’t waste your time son – do something productive”, says Manju Kishore, mother and nayika of cinematographer Avijit Mukul Kishore’s documentary "Snapshots from a Family Album".

The lady clearly is his biggest critic. In fact, through out the film, her humorous jibes keep the audience in splits as the tender tale of a suburban family in transit unfolds.

For seven years Mukul moved between Mumbai, Delhi and Allahabad to capture the family at various points in their lives. The one hour film had its first screening at the Majlis Cultural Centre in Kalina last week – he is planning to screen it again at the National Centre for Performing Arts. “Somewhere we all can connect with this family,” pipes up Rohan Shivkumar an architect-professor at Kamala Raheja Vidyanidhi, who came to watch the documentary. However, there is much more to be gleaned from it than the straightforward “family connection”.

Following his mother, father, brother and grandmother with his DV Panasonic, Mukul, an FTII alumina, filmed them going through the mundane business of living. Somewhere between the family lunch, their evening tea, watching television and taking a dip at the Kumbh, one discovers a larger story.

It comes to you when Mukul’s grandmother Chandra talks of how Harijans fought for their right to use the tap in the neighbourhood, and she supported them. Or when one of her sisters was the first girl in their village to be educated.

You see it through Manju’s graphic memories of Pakistani women, after partition, who would rather sell papads than beg. Or when his father Nirmal, narrates how he found it difficult living away from Manju, a Hindi teacher in Delhi university as he, a marketing man from Allahabad built up his business in Mumbai. They all see Mukul not fitting in the family as an unmarried film-maker of ‘arty’ kind of films. Yet the film proves otherwise.


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