Ashish Avikunthak

*1972, India. Lives and works between Calcutta, India, and New Haven, USA.

Ashish Avikunthak is an experimental filmmaker from India whose films have been shown in film festivals and museums worldwide. He has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Stanford University and now teaches film making at the University of Rhode Island.

AVIKUNTHAK Vakratunda swaha

Vakratunda swaha / India / 2010 / 21’ / 4:3

In 1997, Ashish Avikunthak filmed a sequence – a friend immersing an idol of Ganesha at Chowpati beach, Bombay on the last day of the Ganapati festival. A year later, his friend committed suicide. The artist completed the film twelve years later by using his footage and creating this requiem to a dead friend. One of the key motifs is the tonsure, a Hindu funerary ritual, a rite of passage and a symbolic representation of a new life after death.

Endnote / India / 2005 / 18' / 4:3

The film, based on a play by Samuel Beckett, Come and Go (1966), evokes a historical autobiography. The three characters Aditi, Aswini, and Kuheli share a secret of which we know nothing about. They are replicas of Ru, Vi and Flo from the play reduced to the extreme of their theatrical possibilities with a minimalist dialogue and game. The film amplifies this aspect, not by rendering them even more minimalist - which would be impossible but by giving them a frame of context and exploiting the cyclic nature of story-telling. Antaral places the characters historically and culturally in Calcutta, more precisely in the southern part of the city, where the film maker spent his childhood. Through the medium of Beckett's play, Ashish Avikunthak, allows his own demons to take shape, to reminisce about forgotten times and places, thwarted friendships and loves.