Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why write reviews

I have realized quite recently that honesty is undervalued. And it is rare. Even in casual conversation, let alone carefully crafted blog-posts and articles. It is easy and most times very convenient to say things which will impress others than what we truly want to express. If you offered me a choice between smartness and honesty, i would have picked smartness any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. Chicks dig it! But i guess i have reached a level of maturity (read, age) where impressing girls, though extremely desirable, is not the only thing that occupies my mind. And perhaps experience has also taught me that no amount cunning, stunning, trickery, smoothness or smartness, can make you a likeable person.

So even if one does not posses scathing insights on a subject, even if one does not posses flowery and eloquent skill with language, one shall strive to be true to himself and write honestly. And perhaps another one shall like reading it.

I try to write reviews about any new book, play or movie that i come across. Not because i want to judge that piece of creation. I doubt if anyone can do such a thing. But you do not improve at anything, or gain anything from an experience, unless you put some mental and physical energy into it. Writing a review makes you think about the experience once again, and that is where part of the learning takes place.

So write on and send me a link, would love to read it :)

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Arbhaat Short Film Club

The venue was full before i got there. And i was on time. Umesh and Girish Kulkarni talked about films, short films and film making in general. I was amazed by the quality of Marathi that these guys converse in. It was obvious that they love the language and making films in it.

Mani Kaul's "Before my eyes" was a visual treat. Serene and majestic Himalayas and the Kashmir valley. It is supposed to be an iconic film, but yours truly been an average guy that he is, got bored midway through it. It was just beautiful depictions of nature from start to end. Umesh Kulkarni later described it as a poetry of visuals. आपल्याला साध्या कविता कळत नाहीत. हे काय कळणार? But the music was superb. There was a haunting piece in Dhrupad for most of the second half. The director had used a very nice ploy where the background music of one frame led to the object of the next one. While i was pondering over which instrument was used to render this soulful piece, the screen was filled with a young European girl with silver hair playing the cello. Sitting in a simple wooden houseboat, gliding on the smooth sparkling waters of some lake in Kashmir.
The girl who played the cello almost 34 years ago for this film, was present in the audience yesterday (This was no coincidence of course, she was invited). She talked about her learning Dhrupad with the Dagar brothers and leaving her country to live in India for all these years. People have such interesting lives!

I was utterly humbled by "Three of us". Directed by Umesh Kulkarni and having the most unusual cast, it stuck a cord with the audience. I had no idea that simple people, average looking people, can be so beautiful. This was a day in the life of a middle aged person with a severe deformity living with his ageing parents. You begin by feeling sorry for them but as you get to know them better you realize that their lives are not so different from ours. We might feel  better off, but perhaps if we put all our happy and sad moments on a balance sheet, it will not look too different from this family's accounts. I had read somewhere that permanent life circumstances like marriage, where you live, a disability, income level, do not affect your day-to-day happiness that much. Perhaps it is true.

"Kaatal" was another well made film. It won a lot of National Awards this year. But more that the film i liked what came after it. An interactive session with Yogesh Pawar (Best Director), Abhimanyu Dange (Best Cinematography), Alok Rajwade (Male Lead in Kaatal) and Prana Pethe (Female Lead in Kaatal). The audience asked the usual silly questions but these young guys handled them extremely well. The film is a bit arty and has a somewhat ambiguous ending. People kept asking the makers what _exactly_ did they want to express. To this Alok suggested that we, all of us, always want something definite, exact, unambiguous from most things in life. But the truth is never so. It was a slam dunk.