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Chitrabani – The Social Communication Center

Piu Sur

As I walked in, everyone was talking about it. Anushka Sharma and Parambrata Chatterjee will be shooting in the library today for Pari, Anuksha Sharma’s new production. The location was the Chitrabani Library.

This is the same library and place where Satyajit Ray and Gaston Roberge helped grow with the objective to develop professionalism and scholarship in media and to spread mass media culture that helps people to integrate communication media into their cultural lives. The center has helped to develop critical awareness and alternative visions of media. That is how several years ago I had come here to study cinema and demystify all that I saw and enjoyed about parallel cinema.

Chitrabani is located centrally on a very busy street of Kolkata and has been there since 1970, as an extension service of St. Xavier’s College (estd.1860), Kolkata. It was the vision of Fr. Gaston Roberge, one of the few media scholars in our country that gave birth to this institution. He steered this center as its founder-director for the first 25 years. Film maestro, the late Satyajit Ray was the advisor to Chitrabani since its inception and the founder-member of the Chitrabani Society which possesses the best media library, film and photo-archives in the state.

Chitrabani has in all these years quietly but consistently offered a variety of services in media training, research and production. Besides the library, there is a professional sound studio which has been a part of the history of music recordings besides producing a wide variety of programs fostering education, culture and art. It included regular programs in Bengali for Radio Veritas Asia, Manila since 1978.

According to Gaston Roberge, the institution’s Founder-Director: “Chitrabani is more than an academic institute, and more than a production center. Through its training, production and research activities, It is a laboratory or experimental center for creative persons interested in more than business. An educational center where serious students of the media can find support and exchange ideas. A social center where persons committed to development can work together.”

Address: 76 Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road (close to New Market), or visit the site www.chitrabani.org.