India | 2015 | 74 mins | Hindi | Director Attending
This short feature recounts a day in the life of a failed Bollywood session violinist who finds an unusual vent for his talents. Unkempt and largely unemployed, the film’s unnamed protagonist lives with his wife in a rented hovel on the outskirts of Mumbai. On this particular day, he has a small gig in a recording studio after which, waiting at the train station on his way home, a distinguished-looking man scrutinises him and his violin case from the other side of the tracks. The man eventually approaches the violinist and makes a strange but generous proposal. From here on, the story becomes increasingly mysterious, as the musician follows the stranger through Mumbai’s back alleys into a sprawling, deserted building, giving the performance of his life. Shot on a shoestring but with high production values, The Violin Player mixes humour and pathos right up to its unexpectedly profound dénouement.
The son of a poet and a schoolteacher, Bauddhayan ‘Buddy’ Mukherji was born in Kolkata in 1973. He majored in economics at St Xavier’s College and studied advertising at Clarion College of Communication, both in Kolkata. Buddy is one of Mumbai’s leading advertisement film directors—best known for Bell Bajao, the campaign against domestic violence. His first feature film was the Bengali-language Teenkahon (2014). Speaking about The Violin Player’s unusual narrative style, Buddy says, “I was trying to involve the viewers in an experience which for them would not be a passive one. Nope, this is not an ‘interactive’ film but I consciously wanted the viewers to be aware of what’s happening around them … and experience the film while experiencing their own self. Only time will tell whether this experiment of mine was of any worth or not!”