One of the finest films from last year, IYE – The Others is an experience that will stay with you much longer than one would have imagined. The fact that I am writing about this film almost after 6 months of my first viewing of the film is a testimony to it. The film was screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival last year.
I fondly remember an incident of my sister during her school days. She was too young to understand the seriousness of those things which generally concerns grown ups. It was her school annual function and the students from her class have been very beautifully dressed up to enact a play on Little Krishna. My sister was playing Krishna in her childhood and her role was to walk up to made up kitchen on the stage and start eating the “maakhan” (butter) from a pot. Her teacher decided to keep real maakhan inside the pot so that she knows there is reward in enacting the role. My aunt and her mother who was also a teacher in the school was going to sing the bhakti (devotional) songs in the name of Krishna during the role play. As the play began and my sister entered the stage, she went to the pot and was engrossed so much with the eating and licking of the cream that she forgot that she had to exit.
“The Accidental Prime Minister” has kicked in a controversy, probably something that the film intended to do as well. Public, media and politicians are thrown into both ends of the spectrum – something that we saw earlier with Udta Punjab and Padmaavat.
As a filmmaker, I do not subscribe to the idea of censorship in cinema nor the display of political hatred through force and demanding ban on such films. A film once made and passed by CBFC should be eligible for public viewing and the viewers must decide the fate of the film. Legal recourse is something that any one aggrieved can take up.
On the other side, in India and in a way, the industry majorly manufactures propagandist films which try to play with popular sentiments only. And this is not new – good over evil, college love stories, cat and mouse themes etc are all done and dusted but would still be in the usual recipe. Cinema as such largely is absent. An Om-Dar-Ba-Dar or a Kaafiron Ki Namaaz (talking about Hindi films) will continue to be a rarity. However, off late, films have moved from social propaganda to political propaganda. And this where the game becomes more dangerous.
While political documentaries which have negligible scope to fictionalize are dealt with an iron hand, fiction based films these days are becoming political tool with a hope to sway the masses or project larger than life images. The honesty in cinema, the intention of makers and the integrity of actors are all diluted in between. Am afraid if tomorrow, another political party comes to power they may use this for their agenda too.
And The Accidental Prime Minister from its trailer looks to me a film made with quality mimicry artists. Only that cinema is certainly going to suffer. I can only hope the audience will demand cinema rather than propaganda (be it from any party).
Manto on the outset shows what biopics should be – whether on cricketers, sportsperson or any actor – projecting the psyche of the central character is vital and crucial. Biopics need to stay true to the actual happenings for it’s not a propaganda material rather a documentation in cinematic form. A big round of applause to the gorgeous Nandita Das for not succumbing to the commercial tastes of Bollywood consumers and projecting Manto much like the way Saadat Hasan Manto was – brutal, truthful and unwavering.
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE – will make you fall in love with Wong Kar Wai, especially, if this is his first film that you are watching. My thoughts on this sumptuously crafted and subtly woven film can end here for certainly that is the summary of it all. But there is a lot more to talk about the film.
Khyanikaa is all about moments, like snippets from a dream. It is set in coastal Orissa.
The characters: Two men, a poet and an idler, in quest of the ever illusive idea. While fate acts judge and jury over their claims. Glimpses of a skeptical society. Newspaper stories come alive and question the reader, quite literally. Boats become alternate realities and the postman a dream navigator.
The setting: There are several scenes framed through a doorway or broken window … maybe to question ownership and reality itself. A man whiles his time away reading newspapers, immune to the rants of his irate wife. A poet consoles himself with alcohol and imminent international fame. A world leader addresses an impoverished and under-developed world, hints of comments on the divide between the have and have-nots. A mad man goes about his routine of dragging a teacher on a wheelchair, asking…
‘A Time Elsewhere’ from Penguin Books | Originally written in Odia as ‘Desa Kala Patra’ from Friends Publishers
Author Jagannath Prasad Das | Saraswati Samman, 2006 | Translated into English by Jatindra Kumar Nayak
A Time Elsewhere makes up a fantastic read on the state of affairs of a region which has mostly stayed dormant in fields where the neighbours and others have excelled to various peaks at different generations. It gives a typical window to a narrative spanning 50 years beginning from 1859. This span of history is important in many ways for Odisha, as we know today, where it gives an interesting view to its past and the formation of a society, language and identity stepping out from the shadows of neighbouring regions.