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19th December, 2017


Bengali Aunty, in one of the most chaotic and difficult shoots on The Metronome yet, travels to Dunkerque, France, after watching Christopher Nolan's film on Operation Dynamo - or the Dunkirk Evacuation of 1940! Her journey involves missing a train, losing a camera, finding herself in a quaint provincial French town where no one speaks English, with a crazy target of covering four location shoots within a near impossible deadline, including a twilight search for the remains of a ship bombed out during the evacuation, that is only visible during low tide, and a macabre session in a cemetery on Halloween night searching for Indian names.


WWII is so vast a subject, with so many stories within stories within stories, that it would be impossible for a single person to tell all of them in one lifetime! So some of the media articles criticising Nolan for not including  the episodes involving Indian soldiers in his film may be a bit unfair. On reading detailed accounts of this daredevil evacuation of 338,226 stranded Allied soldiers by the British Navy, assisted by over 800 civilian boats including merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure crafts, yachts and lifeboats,  one finds many more fascinating stories that Nolan understandably left out - some of which would have been far more pertinent inclusions in a film about Operation Dynamo - but all of which cannot possibly be accomodated in one feature length film. 

Had we not chanced upon Benjamin, the sweet and friendly Co-Taxi driver who spoke a few words of broken English, this shoot and this video would not have happened. A more detailed account of the entire shoot is on my Instagram - themetronome_atwork account. 



Song written, composed, performed and produced by Sawan Dutta

Video created by C.B.Arun Kumar and Sawan Dutta 


I took a break after doing a lot of work

I went to the Cinema, and I saw Dunkirk! 

Christopher Nolan has outdone himself! 

A book about Dunkirk is on every bookshelf...

I'm in the train that is going to the place

That has witnessed it all, face-to-face


There you can see, the great Eastern Mole

In Operation Dynamo it played a very big role

From beach to ship it was the only connection

Without the Mole, there would have been no evacuation

Somewhere here, on this very sand

Nolan's pilot was forced to land

In my head, I can already hear a glimmer

of the music composed by Hanz Zimmer

The British coast is very near

Some ships got away, some are still here

The Crested Eagle became a sitting duck

Since May 1940 the ship has been stuck! 

Six hundred soldiers were sailing on this

The Luftwaffe attacked it, the bomb did not miss

They tried to save it but the situation was dire

Half of the crew perished in the fire...

The British took from India soldier and mule

Finding their memorial is on my schedule

The British took from India soldier and mule

I have found their memorial right on schedule!

From Dankuni to Dunkirk, it is a very long way

This type of fighting we cannot think today! 

Now in this ship we are sailing to Dover

There is no danger, World War is over


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