Word Is The World: Tumhaari Amrita Completes Twenty Years On Stage

February 27, 2012 at 9:15 AMFeb (Letter, Literature, Media, Theater)

It was two decades ago that the play Tumhaari Amrita was first staged. It was in Prithvi Theaters of Mumbai, the then Bombay. A recent report in The Hindu reveals that Feroze Abbas Khan, the director of the play, while preparing the play for its first show, thought that the play wouldn’t go beyond four shows. But after two decades the play still continues to pull the crowd and today the play is being staged in Mumbai after yesterday’s show in New Delhi, to mark the completion of twenty years.

Tumhaari Amrita is a play telling the story of two individuals Amrita Nigam and Zulfikar Haider through the letters exchanged between them for 35 long years. Amrita and Zulfi sit on the stage with a pile of letters and read out the letters. This play with no stage movement unfolds before us and enacts itself in the realm of our minds through words. Experimental in its own way the play actually challenges the traditional norms of staging a play and succeeds in giving a fresh and euphoric experience.

Amrita and Zulfi are not just different individuals belonging to two different religion but are also different in terms of their outlook, approach, intensity, temper and also taste. But these differences stop them neither from loving each other nor from writing letters to each other. They pamper each other, they play pranks with each other, they advise each other, they fight with each other, they criticize each other they encourage each other. In one sentence, they live with each other through the ups and downs of life, through letters. Though they do not come together they do not stay apart too for they cannot stay apart.

Two worlds meet through words. At one point of the play Zulfi says that writing letters to Amrita has become an essential part of his life. Amrita once after meeting Zulfi writes to him saying she loves him more in letters than in real life. It is not just two worlds meeting through words but two worlds coming to life, for themselves and for each other, through words. In the play where the ‘word’ is the king, the worlds of Amrita and Zulfi get unfolded before the audience through words and thus the word becomes the world, in the moving tale of Tumhaari Amrita.

Through these words what unfolds is not just the tale of Amrita and Zulfi but also the tale of the times in which the play is set. The play begins in 1940 and goes to the time of Emergency in India. The pains of partition, the insecure position of Muslims in the post independence India, the communal riots in Meerut, the turbulence of the 70s and the emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi cuts through the lives of Amrita and Zulfi and thus becomes a part of the narrative of the play, which while encapsulating the lives of Amrita and Zulfi in words also encapsulates the tale of the times.

Feroze Abbas Khan, in the recent interview to The Hindu, said that a friend from Gujarat gave him a copy of A.R. Gurney’s play Love Letters which he thought was not a play for the Indian audience, even though he liked the play. Being at the peak of his theater career then he thought of staging the play for the Prithvi festival and contacted Javed Siddiqui to write the very same play with Indian context. Javed Siddiqui, who says that he liked the form of A.R. Gurney’s play but not the content, went on to write a play with the same form in mind but a play of his own. Thus flowered Tumhaari Amrita which though started off to become an adaptation of A.R. Gurney’s play went on to become an independent play which Javed Siddiqui prefers to call a play by him ‘inspired’ from A.R. Gurney’s play.

The play has not been published yet and all the rights of staging it is with the Feroze Abbas Khan team. But interestingly the play has not just been translated into Kannada but also published. As the Kannada translator Jayanth Kaikini mentions may be this is a unique incident in the history of literature and publication where the translation is published first and not the original. It was translated by Jayanth Kaikini, in the year 2002, for the Saket team of Arundathi Nag who wanted to stage the play as a precursor to her major project- Ranga Shankara. The play was directed by M.S. Sathyu, who incidentally was the person who, in 1992, had escorted Feorze Abbas Khan to Javed Siddiqui. The play won the hearts of the people of Karnataka and so did the play, in written format, when Manohar Grantha Maala in the year 2003 published the play. The beautiful translation of Tumhaari Amrita as Iti Ninna Amrita, for many a Kannadigas, has made the play a play of Kannada itself. So, when Tumhaari Amrita is celebrating twenty years Iti Ninna Amrita is also celebrating its decennial.

Shabana Azmi, who plays the role of Amrita in Tumhaari Amrita once said that the original pile of letter to be read out on stage had increased from 100, during its first show, to 300 now for the change in eye power over the time. This also speaks of the amount of river water that has flowed into the sea from the time of the first show of the play. She says that often she jokes with Farooque Sheikh, who plays Zulfi in the play, that the play will follow them even after their death and that the two will have to perform the play in the other world too.

The play follows the audience throughout their life by moving them deeply and by pulling the chords of their hearts. It lives with them. It can also be read like a novel or a novella being alone in silence, without being staged. I know of many, including myself, who with friends read out the entire play. They live out the play, while reading it either in a group or in seclusion.

Amrita at the moment of death pleads Zulfi to keep writing to her even after her death. She commits suicide and asks Zulfi to keep writing to her! She lives her death. This passion, this intensity, this eccentricity captivates! It could even scare death. So, the death is also lived. The play also continues to live- on stage, through words- even after two decades when it was assumed that it wouldn’t go beyond four shows.

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An Open Letter To C.C. Patil

January 2, 2012 at 9:15 PMJan (Activism, Letter, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Respected C.C. Patil,

You are the minister for women and child welfare, so let me assume that you are really concerned about women and hence you suggested a possible way by which girls and women can be saved from being raped. Your concern remains unquestioned from my side honorable minister.

Yet your statements angered me, I must tell you. Your statements saying you do not “approve” of “provocative” clothes being worn by women and suggesting they wear “dignified” clothes, how much skin they should cover and finally throwing the ball in the other’s court by saying it is up to women to decide which cloth is “safe”.

What a sane society we live in! Isn’t it Sir? What a sane society, where women are asked to be dressed “decently” and in a “dignified” manner to safeguard themselves from being raped and men are not asked to behave decently and dignified. Improper (as per your definition) dressing leads to rape and not an improper mindset of the rapist. Really insightful view Sir! We have ethical questions to the victims and not to the victimizers! What a sane society!

Do you know what is even the more sick? This mentality which thinks it can ‘instruct’ women and doesn’t have anything to ‘instruct’ the men!!!

Equally sick, as the act of rape, is the omnipresent male gaze which scans through the body of the girls to see how much of her skin is revealed and how much covered.

Yes, honorable minister this is the country which has named many a river after women and has worshipped women in many ways. But why is it that women become disrespectful if their skin is exposed? Why is it that they become ‘indecent’ when they wear “low-waist jeans” and “provocative” dresses? Why is it that they should even know if some Tom, Dick and Harry “approve” of their dress or not? Why is it that they are blamed when they are being victimized? What sort of respect is this? Why is it that women are expected to change their way of dressing keeping in their minds what men would find provocative and what they wouldn’t find provocative? Why should their way of life be seen through the eyes of men before being lived? Why should the omnipresent male gaze dictate the women what to do and what not to do? What sort of respect is this, which pushed women into self imposed censorship?

Your concern for women’s safety is well appreciated. But is there any way that one can prove that “decent” and “dignified” dressing will assure them safety? No. Plenty of cases can prove that many women are raped with them wearing no “flimsy and fashionable” clothes.

If a girl is wearing a “flimsy and fashionable” cloth it is no invitation for rape. If one feels it “provocative” it is their problem and if one feels it is “objectionable” even then it is their problem and not of the girls. To give “flimsy and fashionable clothes” as a reason for rape is equal to using it as an excuse. The victimizer’s mentality needs to be corrected and not the victim’s life style.

You are nobody to “approve” what they wear nor am I anyone to “allow” them to wear anything they want to. Who am I to “let” them do whatever and wear whatever they want to and who are you to “stop” them? To wear what she is comfortable with is her right. To wear what she wants to wear is her right. It is her liberty. That liberty was not given by us nor can it be snatched by us.

Peace,

Samvartha ‘Sahil’

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Ek Kora Canvas

November 26, 2011 at 9:15 AMNov (Friends, Letter, Literature, Music, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Dearest Srajana and Faizan,

Do you remember the 26th of September 2010? I am sure you do remember the day if not the date. That was the day when we three of us visited the Humayun Tomb in New Delhi, exactly 14 months ago.

Scanning through the age old walls, we walked around talking about the lineage of Humayun, about the architecture being a chocolate flavor Taj Mahal, about a song sequence from Fanaa and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom being shot in the same place. We saw the water flow around the space, wondered where the water came from. We found out a well nearby peeped into it after climbing a bit. We sat under the tree and walked on the lawns. It was a beautiful day.

The reason why I am recollecting all this is because couple of weeks ago I read the book In Freedom’s Shade by Anis Kidwai. The book was originally written in Urdu in the year 1949. It was first published in the year 1974 and then in 1978 in Urdu and later translated to Hindi and published in the year 1981 its title being Aazaadi Ki Chaaon Mein. Now the book has been translated from Urdu/Hindi to English by Ayesha Kidwai granddaughter of Anis Kidwai. The book is based on the notes jotted down about what the author saw and observed around her in Delhi between 1947 and 1949 while she worked as a relief worker for partition victims.

The fourth chapter of the book is titled ‘The Camp at Humayun’s Tomb’. The historical place was a camp for the victims of partition where around 60,000 refugees were housed! As I read those pages I kept remembering our visit to Humayun’s Tomb. The water there, the well, the grass, the soil, the trees, the broken walls, the stones nothing over there spoke of this aspect of history which intersects with that place! The place was silent about a certain episode of history!

Sixty thousand people lived there in the tents provided by the Government of India. But the general feeling of the people there, as Anis Kidwai writes, was that the Government wanted to throw them out of India. There were solid reasons for the homeless to believe so.

Anis Kidwai writes about those several people who lived in tents with no proper blankets to protect themselves in the winter. Dilli ki sardi is known to you both and me. Imagine spending day and night in the open without proper clothing during winter! Pneumonia and influenza swept through the camp and everywhere bodies were racked by coughs, chests wheezed with congestion.

The camp at Humayun’s Tomb has a special tent for the old women, weakened and cripples by age. Anis Kidwai says this special provision had to be made because the sanctuary seeker’s when left for Pakistan couldn’t be bothered to take the old family members and relatives with them for they would require assistance to walk and times were such that people had to run for lives. Many of these elderly people were brought to the camp. One such old lady was brought to the camp from a graveyard! Her grandson had left her in a graveyard on his way out.

Graveyard must have been an extension of the camp! Yet the last journey was difficult in dark times. The shrouds being distributed were short in size and wouldn’t cover the corpse completely. Anis Kidwai recollects how the Pir wouldn’t agree to bury the corpse when the shroud wouldn’t cover the corpse completely. The situation was so graver that men and women had to be buried without shroud and in their soiled clothes!

Many survivors, remembers Anis Kidwai, at the camp would speak of revenge. A Sikh boy, she recollects, once said, “Nineteen from my family were murdered. I, the twentieth, am still alive to avenge their deaths. I want to live only so I can kill as many of the murderers as possible…”

Six decades after all this, when we visit the place the place seem to carry no memory of it at all! The same walls which the refuges must have held while struggling to breathe because of the congestion in the chest, the same wall which the old lady and many like her must have held to walk. The same passage through which water must have flowed carrying blood of the survivors who must have bent to drink water letting blood mix with the water or must have washed their wounds in the same water passage. The same corners of the architecture which must have echoed with the angry cries of those who wanted to take revenge.  The same earth beneath the feet which must have shaken as the several homeless shivered in the winter.

Humayun’s Tomb doesn’t carry the memory or history of the camp. Humayun’s tomb doesn’t speak the horror stories of partition which it witnessed. Humayun’s Tomb doesn’t shame us with our history. Not a single blade of grass, not a single grain of soil, not a single leaf of the tree, not a single drop of water flowing through the historical space reminds the visitor of the grave history attached to the place! Silence. Absolute silence.

There was one member of the camp who once came to Anis Kidwai and asked her if she had some time in hand. When she said she did have time in had the man asked, “So, shall I get my dholak?” The man was a mirasi, a qawwal who wanted to play “just one number.” Anis Kidwai refuses to listen to a song and silences his by saying, “Music in this graveyard? When the dirges of death let up for a while, then there will be singing…” Narrating this episode from the Humayun’s Tomb, the author writes: “Crestfallen, he retreated. Truly, how difficult it was for singers of happy songs to survive in such times.”

There are dark songs in the dark times, said Brecht. But who will sing the songs of those dark times. Anis Kidwai is singing, through her book. But what stands more visible is the Humayun’s Tomb completely divorced of memories of partition, allowing a part of history erase from our minds.

Not just Humayun’s Tomb, Puraana Quila too was a camp with around 80,000 inmates. Today we have stories about how Elkazi lit the walls of Puraana Quila to stage Tughlak which is a post-Independent history. But there is not enough memory and stories about the dark episodes of our history. How conveniently we let certain episodes of history erode. Not a single reminder in the entire place of Humayun’s Tomb about the dark times of partition! The silenced history.

Ayesha Kidwai says she first read her grandmother’s book in 2002 in the wake of Gujrat violence. There is a need to listen to the stories from the past. The past has to narrate its story to us. Memories should be kept alive, in words, in space and in every possible way. Possibly then we will be able to stop history from repeating and be able to form a new history for ourselves.

That day while we sat under that huge tree on the left side of the tomb, I read out a poem to the both of you, a poem that I had written that very morning. It was titled ‘Kora Canvas’ (Empty Canvas) and if you remember correctly the poem repeatedly kept mentioning about images being erased and the canvas becoming empty again. There is a certain erasure of images of partition in that space where I read the poem to you too. Aaj phir kora hai woah canvas (the canvas is empty yet again)…

Someday, we should revisit Humayun’s Tomb and listen to the unheard story of Humayun’s Tomb. The crying whispers and whispering cries of Humayun’s Tomb need to be heard… We should shame ourselves a bit with the dark history of our country.

In harmony,

Samvartha ‘Sahil’
26 Nov 2011

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De-Brahminising The Mind

October 17, 2011 at 9:15 AMOct (Friends, Letter, Media, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Had a small debate with a faculty of Management in Manipal on caste, the Vishwakarma community in specific, which took me back to a mail i had written to my friend Shobha after she shared a blogpost of Rahul Pandita titled ‘A Brahmin Heart’ with me. Here i post the entire mail:

Rahul Pandit may be correct in his opinions on Binayak Sen, CRPF, Maoists etc but his take off point itself appears flawed. When people ask “Why are you doing this?” the question comes from a statist mind and not with a hidden expectation that only a Dalit, JNU passed jhola fellow or a leftist needs to do it. If he can’t understand such simple psyche of the larger population, which thinks Nation is mother, Nation is God etc etc (which makes them feel offended when someone takes a soft stand on Maoists who declare a war on the nation) and takes that as his spring board to kiddish arguments about Brahminism, i can only pity him.

He was displaced by Islam terrorism. Sad. Very sad. I condemn. But how does this feeling of displacement gets translated into a pride for Brahminism? In a system which is oppressive, crying slogans about one oppression and feeling proud about another oppressive group is no progressive-ism. It is utter regressive-ness and display of stupidity and half baked understanding of the world in which one lives. I have no issues with he not eating meat on Tuesdays and wearing the so called sacred thread, for i know many, including myself, who wear the so called sacred thread as a respect to the emotions of their family. Some of them have casted it off once the emotional burden fell off. In my case it will remain till i can convince my parents in removing it and i am in the process of convincing since nearly ten years now and i hope to convince them sometime soon. That apart, yeah… wearing the so called sacred thread is not much of an issue. The problem is when one wears it on their minds. I think this Rahul Pandit has worn the so called sacred thread on his mind.

Well, now let me tell you about my caste history. I was told, since childhood, that we are brahmins and i was brought up in a typical brahminical set up. You may not believe, Shobha, in my childhood, during holidays, i have served as asst priest, distributing holy water to the devotees. My father happens to be in the forefront of these caste organizations and i would go with him to all their programmes (because there they would serve ‘bajal’- a local soft drink which was very popular those days) and listen to all the speeches. It was sometime when i was in high school that the caste-organization, in which my dad was an active participant, started a gurukul to train the caste-boys in priesthood. Soon, a ‘Mutt’ was established. Out of my curiosity, i asked my dad as to why suddenly they found a need for such a school. Then answer was, “Because the Udupi Brahmins refused to train our boys.” The immediate question was, “So, till now din’t our caste have priests?” The answer to this was, “There were only one or two who went and learned from northern parts of India.” I couldn’t accept the answers. I realised, that Vishwakarma community were not Brahmins. The community, from ages, have been occupied in the profession of smiths, carpenters, architects, idol making (stone) etc which is a working class job. I just couldn’t digest the fact that a working class community was a brahmin.

When i came to my calss 12 in our sociology we had to learn about Sankritization. The theory was formulated by one M.N. Shrinivas and his case study was that of Vishwakarma community. He says that in history there have been many communities, like Vishwakarmas, which though not from an upper caste, follow the upper catse way of life and rituals in order to enhance their social status. (it is a totally different fact that no brahmins or non-brahmins saw them as brahmins just because they followed the brahminical rituals) I had a theoretical background now. So i started arguing with my dad and my dad started saying that M.N.S. has been proved wrong long ago, for it is a well known fact that to sculpt the idols of the god and do the temple architecture one needs to know the vedas etc etc so one had to be a brahmin. Saying this my Dad said, “MN Shrinivas is bogus.”

My dad was partially correct, though not completely. I will tell you why. MNS makes his observations correctly, but doesnt go further and ask, “Why do they imitate?” Earlier i thought, and i still think, that these communities which imitate to gain acceptance by enhancing their status are desperate for being a part of the world. There is a whispering cry and crying whisper in that imitation. MNS doesn’t speak of that and by just documenting his observations has in no way explained the power politics in the structure. Even Vishwakarma community is of the same kind, but there is a small twist here. As Deviprasad Chattopadhyay observes, at one point in Indian civilization the working class and working hands enjoyed great dignity for that was the early stage of civilization when man was still conquering the world and gaining control over the world. But once the caste- structure came into existence knowledge and labour got broke and immediately knowledge gained supremacy over labour. That is when the Vishwakarmas lost their dignity in the society. Here this community seem to have, in an attempt to regain their supremacy, have adopted to some brahminical rituals without leaving their professions. Sadly in the course of history they wore the so called sacred thread on their minds, not juts on their body.

Two years ago the caste organization of which my dad is an active participant organized a seminar ‘The False Theory of M.N. Shrinivas’ and even i was invited to read a paper. My paper was titled ‘Sanskritization as a regressive counter culture’ made people go angry because i not just was showing the limitation of MNS but also arguing in the same breath that Vishwakarmas are not Brahmins. People were annoyed. But i stood my ground. If my dad had not earned so much respect in that circle, i guess i would have been trashed that day. Whatever.

Now my dad himself has started slightly believing in my arguments, but he has believed that he is a Brahmin, in fact a step above Brahmins, that it is getting difficult for him. All i tell him is this: “MNS did injustice to Vishwakarmas but not addressing the issue properly. Fine. A greater injustice is being done by people like you who through the ages have ripped off the community from its own flesh blood and culture to make it wear a Brahmin culture, making the community divorced of its own culture and its own grammer. You have uprooted the Vishwakrma community from its soil.”  At times i also tell him that the caste organization is killing community identity by hanging it to the brahmin tree with the so called sacred thread. To this his answer has always been silence.

Well i narrated this entire narrative just to ask this: Now should i, for having been uprooted from my soil, sometime in history, left with no culture of my own, but a borrowed culture of brahmins, take extreme pride in saying i am a Vishwakarma and once upon a time we were the most respected people on this earth and these Brahmins did injustice to us? Or should i engage my entire life in resurrecting the Vishwakarma culture which the brahminical supremacy snatched from the Vishwakarma people? How regressive and stupid that would be. The real thing to be done is de-casting the society.

I know, like Dalits, the community which i belong too has been oppressed throughout history. The community to which i belong to lost everything of its own, in an attempt to regain its supremacy, and gained nothing, not even the dignity for which it yearned. This remains a less spoken part of India cultural history where certain communities got torn apart between two cultures. But there is no point in speaking of it and trying to re-establish it. Any such attempt would only build walls and what we need to build is not walls but bridges. Construction, should have a knowledge of the past, but the eyes or the vision should be focused in the future and not in the past. I guess somewhere Rahul Pandit has to understand this and needs to decaste himself first. Else, with all his progressive stands on developmental issues one would still say “arrey yeh toh Pandit hai” because he is Pandit not in his card but in his mind.

In harmony,

(The mail was written on 7 July 2011, from New Delhi)

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Life Changes With The Second Throw Of The Dice

September 25, 2011 at 9:15 PMSep (Friends, Letter, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

While reading the new book of Rahmat Tarikere sir, his article on Hazart Nizamuddin dargha reminded me of my last visit to Nizamuddin dargha, few days before coming back from New Delhi.

That evening, at Nizamuddin, i saw a stranger who was crying helplessly. It was clearly visible that he was in some extremely helpless condition. But in his eyes i saw not just tears and helsplessness, but also love and also hope. At that point, as the stranger cried and cried and cried, i remembered a mail i had written to a friend just a few days before (on 24 June 2011) my visit to Hazrat Nizamuddin. Here i am reproduding that entire mail, for i am also reminded of that mail along with that man who i saw at the dargha.

Adaab

Remembering you and one of our very first conversations, since the two days…

It must have been late summer or early monsoon 2007, if i remember correctly… Those were the days of Orkut and not Facebook. You had copy scrapped some sentences and stated that if the same were to be scrapped for ten more people your wishes would come true and if not, one would have bad times to come their way. When read those sentences carefully, i figured out that it had sandwiched a holy hymn of a religion between several meaningless words and also had mocked the hymn, in a way. I was annoyed and sent you a message raising objections about the same.

Couple of days later i had seen your reply in my message box. It read something in the lines of- “may be it held something annoying within it, but the fear it generated in me, made me scrap the same to several others.” To this you added- “You dont know that i am going through some problems and at this point of time i cannot afford to take more problems on myself.” Saying this you had concluded with the words- “Sorry if it hurt your sentiments but i am so hurt that i could not think and anything that gives me some hope, i just hold on to it, without giving a second thought.”

When darkness settles in our worlds, how desperately we look for light. All politically incorrect statements are made, all illogical decisions are taken, all immature moves are made, all done like a small baby which beats its hands and legs, out of sheer helplessness.

The reason why i remembered this conversation with you is- few days ago i asked a friend’s friend if she would be able to meet me in Delhi. Her name is Vatsala Shugal. I had met her around six months ago in Mumbai when our common friend Deepanshi alias Daadi Ma had taken me to her. Vatsala does tarot card reading. She had done it for Daadi Ma earlier and when Daadi Ma had mentioned about it i had laughed about the entire thing and very mockingly had said, “I would like to get this done sometime”. Though i had forgotten about it, Daadi ma had not. So when i went to Mumbai to see Daadi Ma, she took me to Vatsala and got the tarot card read. My disbelief in God and the cards is well known to all. But still i went to Vatsala because its Daadi Ma who took me and Daadi Ma has the liberty to do such things with me, to take to the card reader or take me to the temple. That apart… Recently i asked Vatsala again, if she could meet me here in Delhi and do the card reading for me… She said she would but before we could decide when and where to meet, my net connection got disconnected and couldn’t connect to her later… So, day before yesterday while sitting with my teacher (H.S. Shivaprakash) i asked him if he would do tarot card reading for me… He agreed and did…

That night, while walking back from his house and during the late night swim i kept laughing at myself and my own helplesness which had pushed me to do something which i myself do not believe in… But when i asked Vatsala if she would do the reading for me or when i asked my Sir to do the reading for me i did not laugh at myself… I was anxious and i wanted to see if the cards could help me in any which way… Do i believe in it? No. But i did look for some healing through it… Its for this reason that i remembered all of our conversation…

Now i think of it, i can see myself shuffle the cards… I can see myself spreading the cards on the table… Asking a question and picking up three cards from my left hand and handing it over to my Sir… He answers… I shuffle the cards again and i spread it on the table again… Taash Kay Patton Ki Tarha Hai Zindagee Meri. Aur Patton Ko Baharhaal Bikhar Jaana Hai… That is it… Life is just about breaking into pieces… But its strange and beautiful too as to see what goes through the mind, and how and all it clings to hopes, when the card is being shuffled and spread across the table… Before i ask the next question, i know, i should pick up all the cards once again and put them together… Life changes with the second throw of the dice… I continue to play… With no belief in cards or on the so called God…

Peace

I did not believe. But i wanted to believe that things will fall into place again. I wanted hope. I wanted something to hold on to. I had visited Hazrat Nizamuddin, that evening, not to listen to Kawwali alone… And my friend Shobha puts it beautifully, “While i dismiss all rituals as stupid, i will never dismiss what prompts people to report to them, because i know what it means to be there.”

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Love In The Time Of Civil Disobedience

September 11, 2011 at 9:15 PMSep (Activism, Letter, Media, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

A national daily, recently, broke the news about Irom Sharmila’s love life. Few months ago, in the month of February 2011, her love Desmond Coutinho had blogged about his ‘engagement’ with Irom, which seldom did make news or did people believe. But finally Irom herself has spoken about it and media has spoken about her.

Desmond is said to have first written to Irom after reading the book Burning Bright on Manipur resistance. This was almost a year before they first met in the month of March this year. A series of letter exchanging between the two let love flower in their hearts for each other.

Irom, who is on fast from the past eleven years to pressurize the Government to repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act- a draconian law, while speaking of her love to the media has said that her supporters in the battle of fighting AFSPA are not in support of her in her love life. The reason, as Irom tells, for her supporters to not support her in this affair is because Desmond is “of Goan origin but a British citizen.” She also said that her supporters did not appreciate their relationship but also were very possessive and mean.

It is not surprising that Irom fell in love. It shouldn’t be a surprise. When one has distanced oneself from the people, physically, for (the cause of) the people the loneliness can be heart breaking. As she herself said once earlier, probably in the interview which has been reproduced in her collection of poetry Fragrance of Peace, she craves for human interaction and wants to be with the people.

The objection of the supporters could not be just because Desmond is of a different culture and nationality, as it might appear from what is told by Irom. It is also, as pointed by, Lakshmi Chaudhry, because we rarely allow our leaders behave in a human manner, especially when we have made a saint out of them.

Human Rights activist Babloo Loitongbam raises objection on the media focusing on the personal life of Irom and not on the issue that she is fighting for. True, in a way. Social activist R.K. Anand says that Irom’s love affair is not the central issue but her battle is and adds joins the voice with Mr. Loitongbam. Very true. He, Mr. Anand, later says that an attempt is being made to divert the attention from the burning issue. Well, I will not credit the state with such intelligence and smartness. But the matter is not of conspiracy by the state, to me, but the way in which the entire battle is being seen. It appears like the burden of the battle against AFSPA has been put on the shoulders of Irom alone and everyone is comfortably backing her, forgetting that she has a personal life too. Else there is no reason to feel that a shift in the focus on Irom’s love affair can divert the focus from the issue. It is our battle too for it concerns us also. Irom has sacrificed way too much for this battle and it would be extremely selfish on our part to expect her to sacrifice more of her personal life. Its high time we all sacrificed more than some virtual space and some coffee table time to support Irom. So, if Irom is given a choice between continuing to fight the battle against AFSPA and Desmond, she should choose the latter and not the earlier, i think. But Irom says she will marry Desmond only after her battle is won.

In one of her poems, Hyderabad based activist Mehazabeen writes:

Not just ozone, but
Love also is vanishing
From the surface of the earth.
What we all need, right now, is
Love.

The battle of Irom from the last eleven years, at its heart, now appears to me, as a battle for love itself. It is to repeal AFSPA, yes. But it is, at its heart, asking the nation state to love its people, asking India to love the North-East, asking India to mother its people as a motherland. It is a demand for love. But sadly those who stand with her for the demand of love by the nation state do not stand with her for the love that she is seeking/ sharing from/with Desmond.

Irom remembers how Desmond was not allowed to meet her when he came first to meet her. Later, to meet her, Desmond had to go on a fast for two days. Similarly for the love of the Nation state and of the mother land Irom has been fasting. Pray, her fasting, like that of Desmond, succeeds in reaching the desired destination. She has said that she will marry Desmond only after achieving success in her battle. Pray, soon Irom will be with her love and will be loved by the nation state… For love is the necessity of life. May be one can survive without food but not without love.

Nafrat Kay Saaye Main Palti Hai Mohabbat ‘Faraaz’
Hathon Main Haath Ho Toh Lakeerain Mil Hee Jaati Hai

(The title of the post has been borrowed from the article on the same Irom Sharmila’s love published in the website: firstpost)

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Remembering Gangu Sir…

July 26, 2011 at 9:15 AMJul (Friends, Letter, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

A student friend messaged me saying, “Sir I am reading Gandhiji’s autobiography.” My reply read, “May be this will change your views about the great man.”

Within a few seconds my mind went to my personal copy of Gandhiji’s autobiography. My mind opened the cover page of my copy and I could see, through my mind’s eye, written on the first page of my copy, in a red ink, ‘Wishing you a happy birthday. With love- Gangadhar E. Naik’ dated 30 March 1998.

Year 1997-98. We were in class 8 and during the second half of the academic year there were a bunch of B.Ed. trainees who came to our school to teach us for a couple of months as a part of their training. I faintly remember that there was someone to teach Science for our class. Or was it Mathematics? I don’t remember. But I remember, very well remember, Gangadhar E. Naik teaching the students of our class who had opted for Kannada as first language. I had opted for Sanskrit and never got to attend the classes of Gangadhar E. Naik. But he was quite popular among the students who had opted Kannada as their first language. We, the students of Sanksrit, heard a lot about this man and his classes. Not that his classes were excellent or extraordinary but that he was a very very friendly man. So we named him Gangu like we would have a shorter version for any of our friends. Then on, among our friends, we would refer to him as Gangu Sir.

Though he never took classes for us, he knew all our names and would also talk to us whenever we crossed paths. Once as were walking near the staff room he called my friend (Preetham, if am not wrong) and me. When we entered he asked, “So, you have renamed me?” We got scared. Thinking that he would complain about it to our teachers we started giving explanations and justifying ourselves. I remember saying, “Sir, people call me Sammu so I thought Gangu and Sammu would rhyme so we just referred to you so once. Not more than once Sir.” He just said, “I like the name and I felt happy that you thought I was so close to you all that you could rename me.” Then I remember having walked out of the staff room with the pride that I had managed to escape and that I had fooled someone with my answer.

With passing days Gangu Sir got close to few of us. He also started calling me Sammu, as I in my defence, had told him about the rhyming scheme. Being friendly with students was quite revolutionary on our school where teachers were not just strict but also spied on the students. His friendly approach was welcomed by all of us. We enjoyed his company and he enjoyed ours. After a couple of months he had to leave. He left. Though Ganu Sir’s training in our school was over he was still in Udupi. He would call some of us, including me, once a week asking how we were. Once when he had called me I told him that it was my birthday the following day and asked him to come home. He gifted me with Gandhiji’s autobiography.

That evening while talking to my parents he said he loved his time in our school especially because the students were lovely and also said that he had got very attached to all of us. In the same conversation he had also said where his room in Udupi was. I made a note of it mentally and decided to pay a surprise visit. When I gave a surprise visit he was extremely happy. He was sitting and writing a letter to someone in his room when I entered his room which had doors kept open. I told him that I too wrote letters to my cousins. That is when we had decided to exchange letters after he left Udupi.

He was in Hassan for sometime. Then in Madhya Pradesh for sometime. Wherever he was he wrote letters and also called occasionally. There were times when he would call and say, “It is so boring here. No friends. So called you.” I was quite young, I guess, to understand what it means to feel alienated and not connected to the world in which you reside. Whenever he called he would speak for hours together. We friends would tell each other that Gangu Sir had called and everyone had the same ‘complaint’ that he spoke for long and that it irritated our parents. Slowly some started avoiding him. But he and I continued to speak for hours and write letters to each other. He would ask me why others were not talking to him properly and the easiest answer I had with me was, “Sir they are all doing either medicine or engineering those courses demand too much of study. May be that is why…” and he would agree with me. This was years after he had come to our school as a part of training.

In the year 2004 October I had been to Heggodu for the yearly culture course. That was my first visit to Heggodu. One day after the morning first session was over, we all came out for a cup of tea and a friend of mine said, “Samvartha someone has come in search of you.” I was shocked. Who would come in search of me in Heggodu? That too when I myself am new to the place. I asked my friend, “Who is it?” and he pointed his finger towards a man. I look in that direction and there stood Gangu Sir.

I ran to him feeling glad to see a familiar human in a new place. I asked him if he was a part of the course. He said, “No. I had called your place last evening to tell you that I have come to Siddapura (his village). That is when your sister informed me that you are here. I felt very happy because Heggodu is close to Siddapura and I can meet you. He insisted we go to Sagara on his bike. I agreed and sat on his bike. On the way I asked him how far is Siddapura from Heggodu. “Around 40 kilometers,” he said. I was shocked!!! Gangu Sir, who was my teacher during my high school, would travel 40 kms on his bike just to meet me. I was deeply moved. Who was I? Why did I mean so much to him? I dint know. I realized that he was a very emotional man and remembered his words to my dad saying he got very attached to all of us.

He took me to a very good restaurant in Sagara. We were having food and talking. That day in our conversation he said, “Sammu, you shouldn’t grow up. Though you have grown up you are still the same high school going Samvartha to me. As one grows he loses his innocence. That pains. You all got so close to my heart those days was because while I was seeing a different kind of world filled with selfishness and cut throat competition I got to spend time with you all and you all were so innocent and uncorrupt. You all were like fresh breeze. You all mean so much to me because in your company I can still see humanity surviving somewhere.” Though I did not understand every word he said that day, I remember every word, to this day. I had understood that he was referring to the elderly world as corrupt and children as innocents. But slowly I understood why the man was so emotional about all of us, why he would speak to us for hours over the phone, why he would write lengthy letters to us saying there are no friends and why he would travel 40 kms on his bike just to meet me for a couple of hours.

I understood this even the more when I entered the world of selfishness and cut throat competition. I remember the day I completed my masters degree I had messaged Kinnari madam saying I am done with my exams. He reply was, “Welcome to the big bad dirty world.” It dint take much of a time to realize how bad and dirty the world is. But thankfully my first job was of a teacher and I got to interact closely with students who were just out of school, with still some innocence left in them. As and when I started spending more time with my students just because it was more comfortable and energizing being with the still not corrupted minds, I remembered Gangu Sir a lot and his words in Sagara. I too started wishing that my students would never grow up.

While I was doing my masters I got too involved with my course and my institutions. I forgot many friends and also my family. Gangu also disappeared slowly. During my third sem, while I was interning in Bangalore, I was terribly hurt by a friend and was walking on the streets of Bangalore all alone. My cel phone rang. It read ‘Gangu’. I cut the call. He called again. I cut the call again. He called again and again. I cut the call again and again. That was it. He never called me again. That was 2007 December.

In my melancholic mood I did not realize how rude it was on my part to repeatedly cut the calls of a man who was so emotionally attached to me. I thought my pain was larger than the universe. Probably that hurt him. He never called. Later when I remembered him very much as and when I was getting attached to my students, I thought of calling him several times. But I did not have the moral courage to call him for I knew that I was unnecessarily rude to him and had hurt him. I remained silent and the silence continued. I felt guilty. But there was no way that I could cleanse my sin.

Years passed. I left Manipal, went to Mangalore. Left Mangalore came to Delhi. Now even Delhi is also almost done. Wher is Gangu? How is he? Sadly, I think, against his wish, I too grew up and became a part of the selfish world to think that my pain was larger than the heart of the man who would travel 40 kms on the bike just to meet me for a couple of hours. I had disrespected his emotions. I had disrespected him too, through my rude behavior. I had misbehaved with the man who was in our school for just two months but never taught me yet got emotionally attached to me crossing the unseen ocean that flows between students and teachers in that school, who saw me as a friend leaving aside the fact that officially he and I shared a teacher-student relationship. I had hurt him. I was guilty. But the river kept flowing. I would remember him once in a while and tell myself- That was bad of you Samvartha. You shouldn’t have done so.

Two days ago somehow I remembered Gangu a lot. I was still awake at 00:30 hours in the night. I decided to break the silence. I checked if I had his number on my phone. Yes I had his number. I sent me a message at the ungodly hour saying, “Greetings to Gangu Sir. Remembering you. Hope you are doing good” and did not reveal my identity, even while knowing that he doesn’t have my Delhi phone number, just because of my guilt which was pricking me as intensely as I was remembering him. After some good twenty minutes his reply landed. “May I know who is this? I have a feeling that it is Samvartha”. My eyes had mist on them. I said “Yes, it is Samvartha” and within a minute he replied “I wont ask how you are for I know you would be doing well in life. How are your parents? Where are you these days? Doing what? It has been so long Sammu.” The moment I read him referring to me as Sammu tears broke open through my eyes.

Gangu promised me to call yesterday. I was waiting. He did not. I thought of calling him, several times. But my guilt was something that stopped me even after the messages that we exchanged. Will Gangu call me? I don’t know. Will I be able to call him? For that I should be able to forgive myself. Can I ever? I don’t know.

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Guernica

May 9, 2011 at 9:15 AMMay (Cinema, Friends, Letter, Media, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

[The following is the mail i wrote to a few friends based on my first viewing notes after watching the film Guernica, directed by Alain Resnais and Robert Hessens.]

Adaab

This mail is to share my experience of watching GUERNICA, a short non-fiction film made by Alain Resnais and Robert Hessens.

In this film (1950) the paintings and sculpture of Picasso, made between 1902 and 1949, are used to tell the tragic story of Guernica, a city in Spain which was bombed by the Nazis in 1937, as an experiment. This horrific incident shook many and it also shook Picasso who went on to make a painting on the bombing and its destruction (pic attached). After travelling through few other paintings of Picasso, the film comes to this famous painting and concludes with a poem by Paul Eluard.

This short film (13 mins) was terrific to me because the film is constructed with only still images. These images do not move. But the cinematic tongue of camera and editing and also sound is used in such a fashion that these still images, connected till now only through its creator Picasso, get connected yet again through the filmmakers in yet another form of art, to tell a tragic story. But while constructing its own narrative the film doesn’t construct it relying completely on the narrative that the paintings and the sculpture holds. Using those images the film constructs its own narrative without making it appear like a ‘filmed painting and sculpture’ but a film made using images of painting and sculpture.

This is all i can write, as of now, though others thoughts are still unfolding in my mind. Before i go back to watching the film again and before i close this mail i have to share this with you: It seems when the painting Guernica was first exhibited a Nazi soldier came to Picasso and asked “Is it you who did the painting?” to which Picasso is said to have answered, “No. Not me, its you…”

Peace

– Samvartha ‘Sahil’

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Notes From/ About A ‘Revolution’

April 11, 2011 at 9:15 PMApr (Activism, Cinema, Friends, Letter, Media, Music, Musings, Slice Of Life)

I said, “I express my solidaity with Anna Hazare. But it makes me uncomfortable to notice that the 10 year fast of Irom Sharmila doesn’t get the same kind of support and attention.” Anand replied, “This is the Jessica Lal crowd.” That said it all.

Not to say that justice for Jessica Lal is not important. It is. But it is sad that there is no such mass support and demand for ‘Justice for Manorama’ and ‘Justice for Priyanka Bhotmange’. But when it is for Jessica Lal, it wakes up the entire middle class. Similarly there was something ‘middle-class’ about the support that Anna Hazare got for the movement against corrpution. Corruption, is the preoccupation and an enemy, in daily conversations, of the middle-class. So a campaign and movement against corruption automatically gains immense support from the middle-class. Yes, justice for Jessica Lal was also important and fight against corruption is also important.

I feel that when the fight is against politicians we happily extended our support and show solidarity. Because the enemies are the politicians. But when the enemy is the state, we would not even let the matter register in our minds. Because there is identification of the self with the state. So what is called as national interest becomes more important, however absurd it is and however inhumane it is to our fellow humans and fellow countrymen. So, obviously there is no mass support for Irom or Binayak Sen but there is a ‘revolutionary’ support for Anna Hazare.

Because it is important and becuase it has attracted majority of the middle class, our media- which according to me is a national shame- went on to portray the Anna Hazare fast as a revolution. By the body language of the tv anchors, by the force of their language and by the time alloted to the coverage of the Anna Hazare fast, it did appear like a revolution. As Manu Joesph points out, in his article i the open magazine, there was a lot of media friendly performances and spectacle in the fast, which was giving a lot of ‘visuals’ for the television media. But the media, to the best of my knowledge, did not go to analyse the Janlokpal bill nor tell us what was the difference between Anna and Aruna Roy. The slightly unudemocratic nature of the selction of Ombudsmen was not highlighted nor questioned by the mainstream media. Thanks to the article and analyses by Shuddhabrat Sentgupto in Kafila website which showed this to us.

All the media kept doing was give the middle-class people a feeling that there was some revolution was happening of which they were also a part by sending sms and giving missed calls. Giving missed calls? Yes. This happned when i was having tea with a couple of friends discussing the candle light march that was to take place that evening. Another friend comes to me and asks me to note a number. I asked whose number was it. He asked me to note the number and give a missed call to that particular number. When asked what the matter was, he said: If you give a missed call your protest against corruption and your support for Anna Hazare will be registered. My jaws dropped. Missed call protest was something which i had never heard of or thought of in my wildest nightmares. But may be as a friend argued it becomes important at times to show our strength in numbers. But what the missed call protest reflected to me was a lack of imagination in the protest and in the movement.

The candle light march that evening was highly energetic, i must say. It was organized by the students of a University town. I did go for the march with a few friends. There was anger, there was enery and there was strength in the march. But it appeared to me that the march was more like a reaction and not an action. Sorry, for i am a born cynic and skeptic. Yes, it was more like a reaction and not an action. As i marched i went on making connections between the middle-class nature of the movement the involvement of the youngsters who by now are charged up in a patriotic mood because of the world cup victory and the kind of hollowness and lack of imagination in the protest which is more of a reaction and not an action.

Seeing the students hold the plucards and crying slogans i was reminded of a smiliar mood in the air of the same town few years ago, when i had seen many students- getting trained to be doctors- preapring posters against reservation. Once the images of those days flashed before my eyes, i asked myself if the same crown would join together if anyone called for a candlelight march demanding for reservation? I knew the answer. One of our impoatant poets Meena Kandasamy had rightly asked the question on the day Anna Hazare was to start his fast. Would Anna fast for the equalitry of dalits and will the people of this nation support him for that adn would the media give similar coverage, had asked Meena. Responding to Meena i had mailed her a report from The Hindu on 71 adviasis starting a hunger strike in a jail in Orissa on the day Anna Hazare was to start his fast. Why dint the media speak about the hunger strike of 71 adivasis?

This flow of thoughts stopped me from signing the letter to the President, which was read out once the march had reached the quadrangle of the college. As the students who participated in the march were signing the letter, the music player started functioning. The song from the film Yuva was being played. I was expecting the songs of Rang De Basanthi to follow because the film Rang De Basanthi would have suited the reaction like protest. But RDB songs was not played as a boy came running and announced, “The bill has been passed.” There was screaming and shouting to celebrate the so called victory without asking “How could the bill get passed?” It appeared like a farce.

Farce was not just the solidarity march in other parts of the nation. But the performance at jantar mantar itself was a farce, with people like Baba Ramdev coming into the pciture. And not to forget to mention the bollywood stars. If the solidarity march played Yuva songs the main spot of action- Jantar Mantar- played songs from Lagaan (as shown in the news channels). Was there a lack of songs of protest and movement songs that one had to play the songs from films which by themselves are quite regressive in nature? And why were people like Baba ramdev encouraged? Not to say they have no right to protest or participate but Anna Hazare should have given some thought to the politics of identification, i believe. But sad, he not only encouraged people like Baba Ramdev and also praised more sickening people like Narendra Modi, once the so called victory was achieved. Anna, dont you realise that in the will to fight against one evil, you are taking the support and thus strengthening bigger evils?

The last nail on the coffin for the already disllusioned people about this movement was the breaking of the fast with Pepsi-Nimbooz!!! As i saw the footage of this on youtube i was reminded of what a friend told me the previous evening. My friend told me that she had overheard people talking in her office about a PR agency being hired for this anti corruption campaign/ movement. There were all reasons to believe it. But i did not want to believe as easily as clapping my hands. I asked my friend to collect more information and let me. But looking at the entire performance of this movement, i think i know what i will get to hear from my friend.

As the images of Pepsi-Nimbooz, Baba Ramdev’s presence, Modi being appreciated all flashed before my eyes one of the slogans that the students in the University town cried echoes in my ears- “Anna nahi yeh aandhi hai. Desh ka doosra Gandhi hai.” There was a poverty of imagination, lack of understanding, historical knowledge and memory in the slogan.

There is energy of the youth, there is fighting of corruption, there is revolution- reaction more than action, there is media, there is also a sense of victory. “How does it feel?”- an imaginary tv reporter asks me. I say, “it feels like walking out of a movie theater after watching yet another Rang De Basanthi.”

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On ‘Pancharangi’

November 8, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Cinema, Friends, Letter, Media, Music, Musings, Slice Of Life)

[Here is a mail i wrote to a friend of mine on the 17 of October 2010 after watching the film Pancharangi. I am reproducing it with some changes made. These changes- rather additions- were caused by thinking and rethinking about the film in the time between writing this mail to my friend and posting it here today. This mail can be seen as my take on the film Pancharangi or my review of the film. Because it was written in the format of a mail it is being reproduced in the same format.]

 

Adaab

Yesterday I went to watch Pancharangi with Shrisha. There were mixed reactions and reviews about the film. This made me more curious about the film. I must say that i could not like Mungaru Maley for i found it to be a very chauvinistic film. When Gaalipata was released I did not bother to watch the film because Mungaru Maley had angered me. But very recently I had to watch Gaalipata for some good reason and I liked the film, though I felt that the ending was abrupt. I have been wanting to watch Mansaarey but have not yet. It was with this baggage that I went to watch Pancharangi.

When the film opened, it felt like Yogaraj Bhat was in a hurry. He gave no breathing space. Within no time things shift and progress. But he relaxes soon. But by then it appeared to me that the reviews branding the film, “heavy with dialogues” was true and seriously, i felt, that the opening title card should have read ‘Waak-Devi’ and not ‘Waagdevi Creation Presents”‘. But soon I realized that the strength of the film is not dialogues as believed popularly. Y. Bhat proves that he can do even without dialogues in the temple scene where Ambika kisses the hero. The Director goes for a slow motion shot letting the intense moment seep into us. The mood is enhanced by the sudden flow of Shreya Goshal’s magical voice singing, “Nee Bhetiyaadanta Yaavude Jaaga, Jeewada Bhaaga,” taking the audience into complete grip. Ambika runs and rings the bell and the audience slip into intense involvement in that scene. There is so much of silence in the following scene of the hero returning from the temple, letting the audience ‘feel’ the feel of the unspoken relationship. I wonder why the film was branded as dialogue heavy. There is silence in the film, there is silence in the relationship between Bharath and Ambika. The scene where Ambika reveals her heart to Bharath by the beach is equally moving. There too, though the expression is through words, the revealing is through silence. Even the last shot of the film is about a fight between silence and words. When we hear “Naanu barteene” in Bharath’s voice, we don’t see his lips move. Did he say that or did he not? Was it a speech act? Or was silence screaming? There is so much of silence within the words! I think this is where the strength lies. (May be I am wrong. Correct me if I am wrong) This is why the film appeals, it appears to me.

As everyone has been speaking the film does not have a story as such. I remember reading an open letter by Jogi to Y. Bhat where I got to know that a story-less film is something which Y. Bhat has been wanting to do from a long time. Now, looking at his Mungaru Maley and Gaalipata, I feel he was attempting it. But I think with Pancharangi he has moved much further in creating a story-less film. Though Mungaru Maley and Gaalipata, did not have a strong story-line as such and was strengthened by its narration than narrative, they did have a much ‘constructed’ narrative when compared to Pancharangi. In Panchrangi there is no constructed story as such. Things just happen, like it happens in life. Like the unknown nomadic philosopher (played by Ananth Nag) who arrives from nowhere and goes somewhere, things just come and go. In Pancharangi the ‘life inside Pancharangi’ is not aimed at the camera’s lense in a strictly determined order. It doesn’t appear like the life inside Pancharangi is waiting for Director’s instruction. Life there keeps flowing and it appears like the Director has just shot the flow but has intervened less in the course that the life inside should take. So, life inside Pancharangi is not ‘constructed’ as such. It is like life where things just happen. Life doesnt obey any script. And even the life inside Pancharangi, though scripted, is scripted like an unscripted life. Things occur by themselves and do not try to forcefully fit within the frame that the script writer-Director has invented. The story-less story of the film also flows in this manner like there is no script that is scripting its course. So, i felt “Lifeu Ishteney,” in a way is ‘life as it is.’

Though life is continuous, it is made of fragments and unrelated stuff. These unrelated things come together to make a complete. It is like a collage. Life has no meaning and purpose as such. It is being and nothingness. Similarly the film Pancharangi has stringed the fragments of life. Intersecting lives come together in a space, making an impact on each other. Every fragment is complete in itself but still a part of a larger body, like those unusual shots by the beach in the presence of Ananth Nag, which appear broken but still belongs to the very same scene. Though those shots, at times, appeared jarring, looking at it as a technical expression of the philosophy of life as a collage of broken images, the shots appear convincing.

But in the flow of speaking for and of the younger generation did Y. Bhat take the anxieties of the elder generation a bit lightly? The scene where the parents of Bharath breakdown, there is an immediate entry of the newly wed couples. This sudden shift made the entire theater laugh. Don’t mistake me as standing in support of the attitude and stand of the elders but I felt that their anxiety their melancholy- however wrong they were- should have been given more space and thus respect. The sudden entry dilutes their sorrow, as if it had no emotional value. Again I say, mistake me not for standing in their support. Even if they were wrong and responsible for their melancholy, I guess it should have been respected a bit more.

But in that very scene something unusual happens. Probably for the first time, we get to see a non-protagonists becoming heroes… The maid and the driver who are not the central character as such in the film become the hero by living a more meaningful life, according to their hearts will. The brother of the maid becomes more respectable than the parents of Bharath.

My complaint about the film is the editing. The editor should have given some breathing space between several shots in the film. These quick cuts not only make registering of certain moments in the mind and seep in, but also irritates because the mind cannot run in such a fashion.

I will surely not call the film a classic or something in those lines. But the film is an important film. What thrilled me the most was the innovative and imaginative way that Y. Bhat takes always in filming songs. Take any of his films, he has shown newer ways of filming songs. Be it the grand, “Na Dheem Tana,” of Gaalipata or the song “Ello Maleyaagide,” from Manasaarey where he makes the barren land appear so beautiful! Even in this film, the way he has filmed “Udisuve” is so imaginative…And yeah in this film Y. Bhat has given commentary to the film at regular intervals. Was he trying to involve the Yakshagana style in the film like the Bhagawata who takes the story forward with his interventions? I thought so because the film is located in Mangalore!!!

Eager to know what your reply would be…

Peace

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