This is a short excerpt from my 80 minute unfinished documentary film That Which Colors The Mind, on the life and music of the incomparable Indian classical music sitarist Nikhil Banerjee. The film (shot many years ago) stalled for a number of years largely due to lack of funding, especially for archival rights as well as other issues. There is much low resolution footage as a result of never finding the funding to gain access to the high resolution. Many people have inquired over the years about the status of the film so I thought to start releasing short segments (imperfect as they are) from the film that can be viewed on Vimeo.
Some final words on this project: I began this film with the most humble, loving, and sincerest intentions, to bring to the world some light on the life and music of Pandit Nikhil Banerjee. I have often been asked why hasn’t the film been finished? Why can’t you raise the necessary money? When can I get a dvd copy? This is not the place to get into depth about all the obstacles I faced in trying to make this film.
This is admittedly a very imperfect film with many flaws, but at the same time I do believe it serves a certain cultural and historical importance. A combination of my own limited resources, be they creative, intellectual, questionable fundraising tenacity, …. as well as being overwhelmed by the many disappointments, frustrations, broken promises, and rejections I experienced along the journey is in part why the film was never properly finished. I invested many thousands of my own dollars and many thousands of hours of my own time into making this project. I received no financial assistance and with few exceptions, very little logistic help from anybody.
The film sadly languished for many years partially finished because I essentially lost the heart to continue, and then eventually I decided I had to finish it at least in some state for the select few who would actually appreciate and possibly benefit from the effort. Initially I was looking for worldwide distribution and broadcast because I naively thought there should be a global audience for Indian classical music, and more specifically the music and life of Nikhil Banerjee. But I came to learn that there was very little interest beyond the passionate and dedicated few.
I want to apologize to everybody for the film’s shortcomings as well as the long delay in getting the various segments out so they could be viewed. The bulk of the film was shot 20 years ago. I hope soon to re-stitch the segments together and put them up on YouTube as an unfinished, non-commercial, basically personal celebration of the life and music of Nikhil Banerjee, as his life model and music have had such a profound impact on my life. It is my personal thank you to him.
Photographs used were what I was able to find many years ago when the film was still in production. Since then many others have surfaced that I wish I could have included in the film. Unfortunately I do not have the names of most the photographers, so any help in identifying them would be appreciated so that I can give proper credit where due.
I want to offer a very special thank you to all those who, without their support and contribution, this film could not have been made, especially those who took time to sit for my interviews. And most especially, my heartfelt thanks to Smt. Roma Banerjee and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, because without them this film would not exist.
Berkeley, CA USA