Rediscovering the Gaze: Dhrupad


While watching Mani Kaul's Documentary – Dhrupad, where one of Dagar brothers is reciting a raga and is completely focused, but suddenly he [vocalist] becomes conscious of the camera and people around him. He looks directly at the camera - the gaze [not a deliberate one, but the director kept this as it is] transpose the master from a world outside our realm into a mere human being, as if, to show, that he is vulnerable as much like us. The Camera captures the ' Gaze', and disrupts the unison that the Master instills between him and heavenly blessing, here he becomes a mere subject being photographed and captured
Realism - subjective or orchestrated?

The Documentary starts with a Sutradhar [played by young Vinod Nagpal, a Talented Actor].the director’s intention are to describe/elaborate a classical form of music - Dhrupad.whenever you are making a documentary, usually the practice is to describe/lecture/demonstrate/educate the viewer. It is as if one is viewing something from a distance - Realism? Subjective & orchestrated - recording reality (usually we assume that parties involved in a documentary are not aware of the camera recording their activity, [natural?] but infact they are) - that gaze provides objectivity [although momentarily] to this documentary. Did this ‘Gaze’ just happened, or was Mani Kaul, who himself a trained teacher and practioneer of the art form, placed deliberately. Since, this is the only standing point in the Documentary when the whole atmosphere of transcendence- the ragas, the purity, hangs on becoming who we are.

Gazing and seeing someone gaze upon another provides us with a lot of information about our relationship to the subjects, or the relationships between the subjects upon whom we gaze, or the situation in which the subjects are doing the gazing. Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris invented a device called the Interrotron which allowed his interview subjects to make direct eye contact with Morris while simultaneously looking directly into the filming camera. It allows the film's viewers to maintain eye contact with the people in Morris' films, giving what some describe as a more intimate acquaintance with them.

Scroll down to watch the Documentary, and read the ‘ Director’s Excerpt.


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