English, August (film)
|Directed by||Dev Benegal|
|Produced by||Anuradha Parikh|
|Screenplay by||Dev Benegal|
|Based on||English, August|
by Upamanyu Chatterjee
|Music by||D. Wood|
K U Mohanan
|Edited by||Dev Benegal|
Allyson C. Johnson
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
English, August is a 1994 Indian film and director Dev Benegal's first feature film. A humorous and irreverent study of bureaucracy and the Indian Generation X, English, August won several awards at international film festivals.
English, August became the first Indian independent film to break the stranglehold of mainstream Indian Bollywood cinema when it was acquired by 20th Century Fox and became a theatrical success in the country. This has led the way for other low budget, independent movies such as Bombay Boys and Split Wide Open, which are part of the next generation of "middle cinema".
In February 2020, a copy of the film was found in the National Film Archives of India. Since the film reel is a 35 mm print, the restoration process has begun. However, restoration was brought to a halt in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agastya Sen (Rahul Bose), nicknamed "English, August", speaks and thinks in English. A lover of poetry, he listens to Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, rock and jazz and reads Marcus Aurelius. He is also an Indian Administrative Service Officer, a member of the most influential and powerful cadre of civil servants in India. He is sent off for a year's training to Madna, the hottest town in the country. Culture shock and a language barrier in his own country follows (August's mother tongue is Bengali). He feels like a foreigner, but must survive.
Moreover, August is surrounded by wild characters: Srivastava, the pompous head bureaucrat and his wife Malti, the fashion and cultural leader of the town; Sathe, a local pothead and cartoonist; Kumar, the Police Superintendent and connoisseur of porn films; and Vasant, the world's worst cook. August negotiates this provincial creek with the only paddle he can find; Fantasy, daydreams and "self-abuse" become his means of revolt and escape as he escapes from the heat into the mystery and quiet of his secret world of erotic fantasy and contemplation.
Cast and characters
- Rahul Bose as Agastya "August" Sen
- Salim Shah as Ravi Srivastava
- Tanvi Azmi as Malti Srivastava
- Shivaji Satham as Govind Sathe
- Virendra Saxena as Laxman Shankar
- Mita Vashisht as Sita Avery
Awards and recognition
- Won the Silver Montgolfiere and the Gilberto Martinez Solares prize for the Best First Film at the 1994 Festival des 3 continents
- Won the Best Feature Film in English at the 1995 National Film Awards, India
- Won a Special Jury Prize at the 1994 Torino International Festival of Young Cinema
- "August Blues"
- "By the Sea"
- "Title Theme"
- "Welcome to Madna"
- "End Titles"
- Ciecko, Anne Tereska; Alexander, Vera (2006). Contemporary Asian Cinema: popular culture in a global frame. Berg Publishers. p. 138. ISBN 1-84520-237-6.
- Ghosh-Schellhorn, Martina (2006). Peripheral centres, central peripheries: India and its diaspora(s). LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münste. p. 104. ISBN 3-8258-9210-7.
- "English, August". Dev Benegal.
- http://www.tropicfilm.com/ English, August audio-video goodies page