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Showing posts from August, 2008

Remembrance of Things Past- Duvidha

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Duvidha.( The Dilemma) Mani Kaul 1973 I sat across the street and observed a man in his early 60s standing outside the main entrance of the Osian Film Festival(2008) - perhaps lost in his thought; but somewhat, oblivious to the cacophony around him. People of all generations walked past; sometimes someone from the older lot smiled and nodded their head in reverence, but for most, he stood, just like any other man, no different from others. If, and only if, I could use even the basic layer of dissolves and freeze from his film that I saw the night before, then only, most of us, could understand the sheer greatness of the man. Mani Kaul, like his contemporary Kumar Shahaini are two of the most important filmmakers alive in today in India, and who were relegated to oblivion from film production for their sheer avant- gardism, nothing esoteric, but more of, exploring the depth of mise-en-scene in cinema, and what price they had to pay. How sad it is for a medium like ‘Cinema in India’, w

Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam

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First things first, Maan Gaye Mughall-E-Azam is a film with a difference. It has a boring first half, extremely dull song sequences, and basic narrative meltdowns. However, irrespective of all mishaps, just like the incoherent structures and repetition of the plays performed by the theatre group in the movie, the film manages to wind up and become quite watchable by the time it ends. The film belongs first to Paresh Rawal, second to Paresh Rawal and third to Paresh Rawal. The movie opens with a montage which helps us understand the basic plot, place and narrative structure of the film. Although what precedes the montage makes the whole sequence a misnomer. Since everything what the montage set out to establish is purely laughable from the narrative and plot development point of view. The setting (St Louise), the year (1993) and the basic foundation of the gags (the underworld) has been a staple diet in Bollywood for churning out mindless comedies and it is precisely here the film be

Art for Activism- Cinema in India.

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Jean Luc Godard the French cineaste abandoned commercial filmmaking, in pure Godardian terms to become an active participant in formulating a direct passage between the essence of art and its reactionary functions- to create a base for political cinema. In the span of few years Godard’s activism dried up. This raises an important question of, the role of art in our lives today. A question which we all should ask ourselves; especially for cinema which is ubiquitous as a commercial form of art, but has the power to touch the masses unlike any other form of art. Hence the possibility of capturing, reflecting and storing through the medium of images is the most important tool for activism unlike any other form of art, with photography coming as its close second. "A Prophet Has Died In His Homeland," read a headline in the popular Komsomolskaya Pravda daily on the death of the Russian writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn who took an active interest in using his art form to express the

God Tussi Great Ho( God You'r Great)

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God is definitely great, because without the support and blessing of the Almighty, such films could never have seen the light of day. God Tussi Great Ho is a film which epitomizes everything what is wrong with Bollywood today - a weak screenplay, sloppy direction, overacting and gratifying inflated egos in the name of ‘satisfying the audience.' There is nothing in this film (creation) to talk about, because even a look at its cardboard cut out in the theatre could give you signs about what to expect - but one didn’t know that things would turn out to be so ugly. God Tussi Great Ho belongs to the special group of Bollywood films, which are mainly running on the faces of their stars, in this case Salman Khan to be precise, but the circus around the ‘star’ has been running around for such a long time that the relation with the art form is lost, and there is almost no relation with the content either - hence the dialogues, set-pieces and gags, which are an integral part in building

Cinema-Cineaste-Cinema

Abbas Kiarostami : “My feelings don’t lie, I will go on trusting them.” Abbas Kiarostami : “Sometimes I can’t understand what the word realism means. I don’t think reality deserves any credit in itself.... When you record reality, you interfere with it. If I shoot 18 hours of film, and edit it down to 45 or 50 minutes, this means interfering with reality. If I wanted to be faithful to reality, I’d show an 18-hour film.” Abbas Kiarostami : “If a character has to feel fear, I’ll scare him, if he has to he happy, I’ll make him happy, Everything has to be real. I can’t stand artificial sentiments.” Akira Kurosawa : “I believe the films of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami are extraordinary. Words cannot relate my feelings. I suggest you see his films, and then you will see what I mean”. Alexander Sokurov : “I am nothing but a worker whom the destiny has thrown in the realm of cinema. Neither my upbringing nor my psychology prepared myself for it. Even genetically, I was not made

North Indian Light Classical Music

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Every culture has its own aesthetic temperament. So the Western concept of harmony is alien to classical Indian music, which uses melody alone. The Western method of teaching music is through written notation while Indian music has an oral tradition of learning. A Western classical musician interprets a composition while an Indian classical musician improvises, developing upon a particular composition. Also, Western rhythm is linear whereas Indian rhythm is cyclic, having a precise beginning which is both a point of arrival and departure in every time-cycle. Classical music differs even in North and South India. From common roots, entrenched in ancient scriptures, grew the Raga system of music that later split into two distinct styles, the hybrid style of North India, culturally impacted by foreign invasions, and the unalloyed style of South India. Dhrupad arose from meter-oriented chants in North India and was originally sung in temples. Then music from temples entered palaces and a