Paridhi Puri, a correspondent at DU Beat interviewed Basundhara about her journey with the page, her nascent vision, her love for movies and what she plans to do next.
Basundhara Ghosh is a theoretical physicist who’s in the process of completing her PhD from University of Geneva. A Delhi University (DU) alumna, who studied Physics at Kirori Mal College – she runs @gangsofcinepur, a passion project extremely popular with cinephiles, filmmakers and artists all over the world. With over 56,000 followers, the page is a treasure-trove of Indian cinema, where Ghosh weaves magic with her observations, critiques and short write-ups about movies.
Paridhi: When did your journey with the page start? How did the inception of the page take place, and why did you choose Instagram over other platforms like WordPress, and Facebook?
Basundhara: My journey with the page started in the end of November 2018. The inception of the page took place because I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about movies with the world, and Instagram seemed a more viable platform for the same because it is an image-based platform – which has a better reach when it comes to people who associate with films: filmmakers, actors, artists and so on. I wanted to discuss new films, especially non-Hindi cinema.
Paridhi: Over a period of time, I think a lot of amazing artists have followed you on Instagram. How is the feeling?
Basundhara: I’m used to it now! (Laughs) It feels really amazing and I’m glad because someone is putting in the effort of reading what I write, which is always a great feeling. The first ‘big’ follower I got was Anurag Kashyap, and it feels good. We represent the audience, thus we are different from critics – and such interactions make the whole process of seeing movies more open to perspectives.
Paridhi: While opining on cinema, and writing your thoughts, what are some points you keep in mind so as to critique the movie better?
Basundhara: I like to piece together an overall review of a movie, most importantly my take away from the movie as a whole. I especially like to highlight good points of the movie, irrespective of how well received or not it has been. If most people have watched the movie, or it’s a cult classic – I like to talk about its songs, or some new inferences.
Paridhi: You’re an alumna of Delhi University! Tell us a little about your personal journey here, and do you get a little nostalgic with the depiction of DU in movies?
Basundhara: I was about to start college when Band Baaja Baarat (2010) released! It has this shot of the Kirori Mal College (KMC) backdoor, which is so nostalgic in hindsight! There are so many movies set in DU- Rockstar, even in Do Dooni Char, KMC is featured. When I was in college, I used to primarily focus on academics, and wasn’t too much into movies. I still remember the streets of Kamla Nagar, Hudson Lane though, I’m very fond of all the memories.
Paridhi: What, in your capacity as an audience would you aspire to change about the Indian Film Industry?
Basundhara: I think everyone is very sentimental right now, with how they want to change things. While nepotism is a huge problem, instead of dismissing someone’s hard work; we must rather uplift and amplify outsiders. Just take Brahmastra as an example, so many people are waiting for it to release, and ‘cancelling’ actors will amount to nothing. We must need to strike a balance. This is where I feel OTT content has changed the game. So many talented artists can finally get their due, and unlike theatrical films, there is no censorship so it’s even better.
Paridhi: How has the resultant fame and renown due to this page impacted your personal life?
Basundhara: I just had an interview session with Manoj Bajpayee! Things like these keep me going, and remind me how much I still am in love with the idea of this page. My friends and boyfriend tease me saying I’m now famous. But personally, fame is not something I’m looking forward to – I want to balance this with my personal life. I aspire to make films myself. Due to this page, I started watching great cinema plus starting noticing so many beautiful things in movies. I’ll always be grateful for that. Right now, I’m completing my PhD, and watching even movies to explore new things and learn more – and most importantly, write!
Paridhi: Our readers are very keen on getting film recommendations from you! Kindly suggest.
Basundhara: I’ve scores of references on my page already, including highlights called Weeklies and Monthlies. Still, if I’d to recommend one movie – it’d be this Malayalam cinema gem called Kumbalangi Nights (2019) directed by Madhu C. Narayanan.
Feature Image Credits: Basundhara Ghosh