TABLE OF CONTENT: NOVEMBER 25th- December 25th Issue no:7
(article available on the web from this issue)
Paradise Lost: Kshitiz Anand
Cinephilia in India: Nitesh Rohit
Porgramming a film festival: Sachin Gandhi
Seeing is Believing: Supriya Suri
Cinephile, Adjectiv- Cinephilia in Romania : Anamaria Dobincuic
Winds From The East: Sagorika Singha
Multiplexes, Millions& Wood: Anuj Malhotra
The Space Race: Gautam Valluri
Crossing The Bridge: Gautam Valluri
Deep in the Valley: Anuj Malhotra
Inglourious Bastards: Gautam Valluri
Animal Town: Supriya Suri
“The Cinephile is an orphan who chooses to be kidnapped by a rather special passer-by who launches him, but not just any old way, on his apprenticeship in the world”
My father was one of the lucky few in his college years who had a bicycle, and he fondly re-members picking two of his best friends, and riding his way to the movies. For the trio it was a ritual to watch a film everyday, even if that meant seeing the same film thrice. Cinema for them was glimpse into an art-form that could provide these small town boys a chance to witness a world that existed beyond the boundaries of their own lives. Yet, at the same time, it gave them a chance to mould themselves like the characters they admired. It taught them how to dress, speak and interact. In short, for them, cinema was life and life was cinema. The two were so inextricably linked that they only bought clothes from only those tailors who could stitch trousers and shirts like those worn by the stars they admired.
But it was not just the persona of stars that was shaping their attitude. Music played an important role in the lives of these cinephiles. The songs from the Golden Age of Indian cinema and till the late 70s formed a foundation for them to dive into understanding Urdu, as many lyricists who were working then in the industry were Urdu poets themselves. So the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz was spoken in the same breath as a film by Basu Chatterjee. This at the same time also made them get into the dramatics. But all their new found interest was done on their foundation for the love of films. They could talk about directors, musicians, actors and the overall film. And this cinephile growth was occurring without any knowledge regarding the presence of world cinema or the realization of any cinematic conventions. A film celebrating a Golden Jubilee or a Silver Jubilee was the talk of the town and Filmfare Awards were seriously taken and discussed. Just like the trailer of every new film that was shown before each film that played in the theater. If there was one common wish they all wanted to fulfill before dying - it was to watch a film shoot.
It’s only in the early 80s that the trio disbanded, my father’s best friend decided to go to Mumbai to become a film director, his second lieutenant entered the world of politics. While my father’s love affair with cinema continued. He went on to open one of the first video libraries in the early 80s in Patna, Bihar. So the decade brought in new possibilities: color television, regular TV shows, VCRs, VCP and soon the world of movies became bigger. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly became a household name, and Clint Eastwood was as much in vogue as Amitabh Bachchan. But the ever mutating face of cinephilia proved too costly for the cinephiles of my father’s generation. As Indian cinema slowly becoming an ugly Godzilla like creature called Bollywood.
The love for movies was slowly disappearing from the landscape. When cinephilia entered the 90s my father had lost his interest in movies completely; he never went back to the theater he so much loved, except for the fact that he reminisced about the films of Guru Dutt, Vijay Anand, Basu Chatterjee and more. The baton of the cinephile dream was passed on to me. And it’s this transition that the cinephile in India needs to construct as he(she) has an important role to play in finding the missing images(histories) that are completely lost between cinephilia that existed in the 20th century and cinephilia that exists now. So that a genealogy of Indian cinema can be created that would help in understanding the relation of cinema and its role in shaping the cultural milieu of our society today.