Tales from Planet Kolkata is a personal film about a city that may only exist in a film or on TV; a film about various dreams about Calcutta. The film starts with a variation on the first image of Francis Ford Coppola's APOCALYPSE NOW and takes the spectator along through a strange file full of ideas and images of the city. Some images come from the North - Hollywood films and European television, others are poetic scans of architecture, an old mansion crumbling, another one being dismantled, of frantic traffic and a quiet neem tree. The commentry voice changes, the filmmaker himself, speaking to a recently dead friend, changing voices to mimic American radio or a French film-director. The film also has a traditional patachitrakar, a scroll-painter unfurling a different history of colonialism and the continuing media-colonisation of Calcutta. A third commentator is an Afro-American video-artist from New York. Through these voices and images the dark city imagined by western media is spoofed while another, far more rooted sadness is suggested.
Ruchir is the director of the international award winning films Eleven Miles, Memories of Milk City and Tales from Planet Kolkata. For many years, Joshi moved to writing fiction and non-fiction. He is the author of an acclaimed novel, The Last Jet-Engine Laugh, and a recent diary of the West Bengal state elections in 2011, Poriborton.