The hunt must go on, cries despotic land owner and big game hunter Singh from atop his elephant. Dressed in a Western European safari suit and with a hip-flask in his hand he is the unrivalled star in today’s safari. Nothing can go wrong: with the help of an astrologer he has even calculated when and how the prey will appear in the jungle. One sure bullet is all it takes to bring down the attacking tiger. Singh is then having his photograph taken with the prey. But tigers are not the only ones to fall this day. It turns out that Singh is incapable of holding the gun himself these days. Instead he has hired a shikari, a professional hunter, to do the shooting for him. Bharosaram is a good hunter but belongs to the absolute bottom level of the Indian society, which means he ends up in the labor camp for the ’’untouchables’’. He is well looked-after by a beautiful woman, Bijri, who soon tells him about the appalling conditions that prevail in the camp: the wages are miserable and they are treated as cattle. At the beginning Bharosaram does not want to know about the things he sees and hears since he himself, as the number one hunter, is well paid by Singh. However, a bloody incident makes him change his mind. But one crushed arm does not stop him from shooting with the other one …
Target is set in the little village of Panporia in contemporary India. By letting the story deal with hunting and prey Sandip Ray mirrors the social problems within the Indian caste system in a multi-dimensional way. Problems which are still acute in certain parts of the country, according to Ray. By using a narrative close to that of a fairy tale, Ray confronts the reality with a backdrop of lies. Singh’s glittering mansion is as unreal as the king’s castle from Arabian Nights and the circumstances in the labour camp just as cruel as the life of the poor in Robin Hood. This feeling of fairytale is heightened by an acting technique which resembles Commedia dell’arte. Each actor comes to represent a human characteristic: the good, the bad, the ugly etc. Even the visual composition in Target is theatrical. A strong feeling of claustrophobia is created by the repeated use of one or two settings in the village of Panporia and its surroundings. In spite of this the film breathes an invigorating optimism and one can but hope that this is the beginning of a cinematic language growing in India, where the citizens dare to criticize centuries of oppression. —Stockholms filmfestival
One of the youngest directors of Bengali cinema, Sandip Ray was born of Satyajit Ray and Bijoya Ray on September 8, 1953. He almost grew up on father Satyajit Ray’s sets, beginning as a still photographer while still in school. Sandip started off by assisting his father on Shatranj Ke Khiladi (The Chess Players) in 1977. Earlier he had worked with Ray as a production photographer in a few projects. Ray went on to praise Sandip saying that he was “the best assistant that I have ever had”. His own directorial debut was in the year 1983, with the classical children’s fiction, Phatik Chand, which told the endearing story of a child kidnapped from his home and his adventures after he loses his memory in an accident. The film went on to receive an award at the International Children’s Film Festival in Vancouver.
This was followed by two televised serials (in 15 episodes) based mostly on stories by his father and the filming of Goopy Bagha Phire Elo read more