Friday, February 22, 2008

Palador Pictures- Rows and Rows of Fences.


(World Cinema has finally reached our shores)

I had grand plans for visiting Paris this February, and paying my homage to Henri Langlois and spending time at the Cinematheque Francis, but luck would have it, the French Authorities decided to give my Visa a slip, and your humble blogger as Alex would narrate in "A Clock Work Orange", is sitting in his holy room surrounded by books, movies and dreaming about empty scripts- Perhaps Fate seems to be indicating Leo Carax, Boy Meets Girl. Sometimes, I feel like Jean Pierre Leaud form Jean Estuache, Masterpiece, "The Mother and The Whore" leaving aside all sexual freedom and hegemony, but keeping up with the tradition of speaking about the things you like day and night, no matter where things are headed or with whom you seem to be with - free, vocal, never afraid to say anything.


A week back, I met a guy at the local DVD shop, who narrated me an incident that really worried me about the nature or the mentality of people regarding- Cinema in India. He had called up the Doordarshan people( who are sitting and hatching eggs over the works of many “Great Director’s” of our country), and when he asked them regarding it, their unanimous reply was," Who watches such type of films", that we would be interested in it? No wonder Prasar Bharti who presides over the country’s National television have move beyond sanity, once a place of great television works, virtuous documentaries(today they even backlash great documentaries work), and helping up film makers along with NFDC, which has revived back again; though producing Social films are their new cause.


The attitude really made me feel cold, when the state is against something like that; it's not surprising that the audience is pretty much oblivious and blind folded about a lot of things. Sometimes, I feel we are closer to the way North Korean are made to feel complacent regarding their country- As everything appears great to them. Though unlike North Korea where the citizen is not going to speak against his nation, we have a brand of "Film enthusiast", preferably called "Cinephile" who are vocal enough to let out a cry against the same old brand of Cinema which we are feed again and again. It’s like our world is surrounded with it, you pop on MTV, Aishwarya is doing her Plastic act; you walk on the street Hrithik is Akbar; sit down in the car and Himesh starts singing and the moment you raise a voice, people cry out. Everywhere you go, it’s the same images, same emotions, which is nothing like the world we live in, it does not even represent the age we live in, and does not even give an account to who we are, and even if it’s fantasy, a dream -not even once in my life I have seen myself dancing behind tress and running down in Alps. And if that is what all the people want, then the amount of film produced would all be a hit, which is not the case, then why is a Producer so reluctant to give green signal to project which really shows something about us or talks about us. The Cinema of a nation should represent what the country and culture one stands for, not only open our eyes, but also gives us an insight which we have been so desperately seeking.


Unless like minded people join hands, the industry will crush individuals within their feet. It’s not going to tolerate a person who is threatening its stronghold. But at the end of the tunnel, a sign, a faint glow of light is beginning to appear- the kind of light which gives a sense of inspiration, reminds of the famous Akbar/Birbal Fable, when Akbar announces he would give away money to anyone who stands in the freezing cold in the river, and finally a man does stand and prove that it’s possible. Akbar then asks him how he did it, to which his reply was, that he focused on the small light which was coming from the temple. And it’s this small light, which finally has started showing and giving a certain inspiration to people who are willing to shell out a change. Even though the water is freezing, the cold harsh winter will always be on, but such lights have started glowing,


Rows and Rows of Fences (as the Ritwik Ghatak book is fondly titled) have been woven against the filmmaker, and people who seek to promote “Good Cinema”, but things are shaping up from the very community of people who are “ Film enthusiast” whose sole intention is too promote good cinema, and among such wonders of wonders is a company called, Palador Pictures, established three years back this is the sole company in India which has taken the Herculean task of “ Promoting World Cinema”, with over 1000 titles under the belt. Palador Pictures has a simple motive to promote the rich heritage of the medium and allow we Indians to be aware of the possibilities, methods, emotions and culture which exist beyond the parameters of our country.

Palador Pictures, UTV World Movies and NDTV Lumiere are three important milestone who have taken the task to promote “World Cinema”, I have always been skeptic of business men selling me movies, after all, how much a Harvard Graduate would know about the sacrifice and nature of art, would he even care, and even if he cares, could he convince his bosses to believe in the project- a losing battle from the start. I don’t know how much the other two avenues, UTV World Movies, and NDTV Lumiere take the strides of Cinema, but it’s a positive start and a healthy start for showcasing of films from across the World. Among this three companies promoting pictures, Palador Pictures is a company which I sympathize a lot, as their task and risk are much more than those “Big House” companies, other than that, I’m aware how much Ronnie Screwvala and company really know about films. Promotion is different, but being aware is another fact, Irving Thalberg was a Great Producer and also aware of the limitation of art and craft. Similarly, it couldn’t be said for Jack Warner, who said, messages are made for Western Union, and that’s where I categorize people like NDTV and UTV. Their message may be good, but it does have it’s corrupting undertones.

It’s a very interesting time to be a Cinephile in India, at one hand, Piracy is rampant, even when it comes for obscure foreign language films to the Art House Favorites- Bergman, and Kurosawa the films are available in the market. While the titles are cleverly priced at Rs 200-300, and if you have been customer for years, like I was, it comes down Rs 150, that’s for disc as diverse as Criterion, Artificial Eye to Tartan. When a chain of such distribution didn’t exist, I would champion the cause that even though it was Piracy of such films, but it did serve a purpose. And it definitely promoted the market for “Good Cinema” rather then dumping it- “As the market for original title never existed in India”. Today the scenario has changed. Palador Pictures have taken the courage and determination to bring out over 1000 titles. It should be a call to all “Cinephile and Film Enthusiasts” to stop buying illegal Pirated film and promoting it. As it’s this core group which will make up the major share of the buying public.


Palador films is a mirage of our Cinematheque in India, it’s a matter of time before it will be made part of our cultural heritage, when it comes to preserving and promoting films. They should be spoken in the same breath as Cinematheque or Criterion Collection (Janus Films). Let’s not forget even though Henri Langlois created and promoted Cinema, he died of a heart attack, and the day he died, he had to come down three times from his room to answer a phone…He died a poor man, No Producer, No Studio, No TV Channel owners have died poor. DW Griffth died a poor man, Henri Langlois died a poor man, and so we don’t want this great initiative to be bogged down by the clutches of piracy- And it’s people like us who watch films, promote films that would be blamed. If someone has taken the trouble to promote films, it should be taken in the right spirit.


Being a student myself, I find the initiative and pricing very reasonable and affordable, and I’m saying it without any influence from the- “Company”, this is a Blog to promote Cinema, and this initiative falls under such module, we must distinguish the “Good from the Bad”. So, I say, in full confidence that we all should join hands and promote this venture and spread the words as far as possible. We should stop people from from purchasing illegal films, and promoting legal copies of films. As a matter of fact- Promote the venture, ask your college people to contact and get in touch with them, if you own a cine-club get in touch with them too. Do anything and everything, but stop purchasing, “Those Films from the Market Again”, remember each time you purchase, a Pirated copy as a film lover, enthusiast, Cinephile you will be killing the revolution which has just begun.


I realize, unless, we don’t move towards something like that, we will really be losing out a lot; not only in our global race to understand ourselves, but also our cinema. The only way we can firmly say our cinema is unique is, when we are aware of “ World Cinema". There has not been a generation before us who are privileged enough to get such an opportunity, it's an important mark in our country, as Neil Armstrong said, “One Step for a man, giant leap for mankind”, the steps of Palador Pictures are as important. The future of our Cinema lies in our hands, if we don’t get up, and start working towards promoting endeavors the past will come back and haunt us. I request people who read this post, Please, Please, Please, Stop purchasing those Illegal copies of film (And I’m saying this, not promoting anyone, but Cinema). And go out purchasing original works, because it’s our purchase which would help us in getting more access to the gems of world cinema, and also helping such “Film Enthusiast” behind the company to broaden their horizon and promote our cinema and our work.

For Cinema- Visit the Company website.

http://www.mypalador.com

And you can buy our DVDs online at
http://shop.mypalador.com.

2 comments:

Shubhank (pfft...who else) said...

*Respect*

This is lovely. Seriously.
Just little over a year back I was roaming in the dungeons of Palika Bazaar trying to get my hands on some stuff which would instantly boost my Cinephile level by a few massive points. You remember that day, dont you?

Its frustrating man. A Cinema Paradiso membership costs 3000 bucks. Which does not sound a lot, but it is - coming from an amateur game designer who took a leap of faith because this is far more 'fun' than the other mundane jobs (and far less paying, but who gives a fuck).

On top of it no one is actually willing to share that cost since 'El Topo' is a piece of shit for them.
"I'd rather watch the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy", they say.
"The extended version?"
"Nah! Its too boring. I like the battle scenes."
And comes out the familiar 'wtf'.

Over and over again we have to watch those banal plots ridden with clichés. There is good stuff too (Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi, Black Friday, Parzania etc etc.) but they say, "Switzerland is gorgeous, Rani looks so beautiful in that sari. We all read papers, why do you want to watch a movie about those naxalites?"

A few weeks back I was dying to watch 'Be Kind Rewind' and I was certain that it would never release here. Wait for the DVD to come out, download the rip since shipping from Amazon is freaking expensive.

/rant

I think the current offers on the site are very much affordable. Although, I feel there is a limited collection in the catalogue compared to the library (or I missed something). Im anyway gonna order the Truffaut collection early next month.


PS - Sorry about the Paris plans getting kicked in the guts.

PPS - Are you going to review Jodha Akbar?

nitesh said...

Thanks for your valuable comments Shubhank; I think your one of the few people who is aware how much Piracy is affecting not only Cinema, but the Industry you are working in- Video Games.

Film enthusiast have made the so called cine-clubs out of reach of most people, and even if you do join it has become another place for socialite, who likes their does of Bergman, or Godard to show that they are sophisticated enough to like them. Plain hypocrisy. I think Cine Club should have minimum membership and the core ideology should be promoting of Good film across all cultures and promoted discussion and debates.

I agree to the fact that in recent years there has been a crop of good movies every now and then. Sadly the awareness for them is bare minimum, because of the mainstream press neglecting these films, and lot of times such films are held so long by our Censor Board that in the end, the filmmaker has to give in to their demands.

The catalogue is pretty limited, I think the other films will be available soon or I think they have tied up with Moser Baer to release the films throughout India. Whatever is the case, the fact that single film would be priced Rs 400, for Original DVD of foreign language film and we hoping for some extras is a good proposition.

Yeah man, I still can’t believer they rejected the VISA on no grounds. Thinking about reviewing Jodha Akbar hasn’t seen it yet, did u watch the film?

As for Be Kind Rewind, I'm sure the DVD screner you downloading is fake . I suggest you to wait for the film.