Voice of silence

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Love for cinema........

Off late,I have discovered my love for cinema thanks to my emotional upheavals .quality cinema is a catalyst effecting a catharsis in an emotionally cataclysmic catastrophe.I love to surprise myself and on Saturday I just decided to go for MAMI.As soon as the afternoon lecture at the university was finished ,I went to Kurla (East)and from there I picked up bus no. 60 heading towards IMAX.
At MAMI...
I was just finishing the formalities,college ID,photograph,filling the form et al.I saw a bunch of foreigners who were rather confused.There was a gorgeous French lady in her 30's and another was a somewhat good looking blond and an American guy in his teens.I finished my formalities and the American was having problems communicating with the management.He looked frustrated and impatient and I was overwhelmed to help him.His name was Kevin,a journalist from the US who was making a documentary on Bollywood.I said,"Bollywood,not again!".He grinned and said,"I feel the same but don't have much of a choice with two strong women around".He just laughed and I took him to the rear side of the building where they were distributing passes to the journos.He got help there and finally got the desired passes.He was quite pleased and expressed his gratitude.I met Anusha at the facade and she smirked and said,"I knew you were going to come leaving your studies".I was thinking,"No choice,young lady." because I didn't have the guts to say that to her.I went inside to watch Nobody's perfect(Espana).It was hilarious and a complete laugh riot.It was about 3 handicapped friends who decide to have a party before the blind bloke gets married ,the next day.What happens in the night is quite an experience for these 3 friends and for the audience as well.As usual,the 3 friends get lost and each one of them has an experienced to be cherished for a life time.The movie was racy and had blatant humor on a lot of occasions.
On Sunday..
I was quite laid back to be on time ,so I had to rush and go by a rick.I had to stop at the RTO cuz the rick doent go further.I was sprinting towards Imax.Fortunately,a gentleman gave me a lift in his car.He was Utkarsh Majumdar,a theatre actor who also has worked in Parzania.I also talked about the plays i have worked in.It was a pleasant conversation.
1.The Near East (spanish)-I chose to watch The Near East,a spanish movie,which was a very interesting film.It was an intelligent take on the intermingling of cultures predominantly the Bangladeshi and the Spanish and that of religious overlap.It was primarily a story of 2 spanish brothers and a Bangladeshi girl.One of them is good looking called Abel with a wife and 2 kids and the other one is shown to be fat and obnoxious named Cain.Abel impregnates the Bangladeshi girl and escapes to another place with his wife and children.Cain is moved by the excruciating emotional turmoil,the girl has to go through.He decides to marry her by converting to Islam.After getting married Cain is obviously caught in an imbroglio and responsibility creeps into him.He overcomes difficulties effectively and in the end,loves the child of his brother from his wife.
Cain becomes likable as the movie progresses and becomes a part of the Bangladeshi family.The film is a semblance of how different cultures can coexist coherently with a symbiotic relationship.It was really an enriching movie and can be a good educator of cultural intermingling into homogeneity in today's world of globalization.
I spoke to the director,Fernando Colomo, of The Near East and he said that he researched for 3 years ,reading books on religion and also the Bangladeshi ghettos.He portrayed the religious element beautifully like an artisan without facing any antagonism from any community.Fernando Colomo loves Satyajeet Ray and has watched Water.
2. Merry Christmas (France)-I didn't do much of research but I read the synopsis and asked the blokes around and heard,"its supposed to be a good movie".It was a war film.The army is under stress because of incessant fighting,increasing toll of dead soldiers and lack of sleep.It is during Christmas that they decide to take a break & strike a ceasefire.The armies intermingle,share a champagne ,chocolates and obviously there is a camaraderie.The funniest part is the cat which is called Felix on one side and Nestor on the other.The inebriated soldiers from both sides argue over the name and you cant help but be amused at human side of soldiers.It juxtaposes the sensibilities of soldiers who are tough but also want to be sensitive and merry and therefore,want to be humane by forgetting their sides.On the whole, a good movie, with scintillating screen play,intelligent direction coupled with a poignant and powerful storyline.
3.Lady Nitwit(Spanish)-This was the third movie,I saw.I was in a dilemma,whether to go for this one or Vanaja(Telugu).I went for Lady Nitwit because it had poetry in it.Besides, everybody was saying that regional cinema can be watched on Doordarshan with subtitles,especially when Doordarshan is kind enough to show good movies.Lady Nitwit was ok,not great though.But ,my brief interaction with Sylvia Abascal,the main actress,was more exciting.She is a beautiful woman,very affable and jovial.Before the movie,she earnestly said that she loves India and loves everybody in the theatre for making the effort for her movie.I normally don't take any autographs from celebs 'cuz i m not celeb struck but i felt there wasnt any harm in taking her autograph as she was down to earth.She signed an autograph & later explained to the fella that it meant "kisses" in Spanish.When she took my notebook,I said "i too want "the kisses"" in an innocuously flirtatious manner.She laughed like a fresh spring and called me a "clever boy".I had the trademark cool smile on my face.I heard a hormonal Uncle saying"it must be very difficult kissin onscreen actors".She seemed embarassed and pretended that she didn't hear anything.I shook her hands and said "encantado" n she said the same smiling gracefully.I just took the autograph and said" adios amiga" and she said "adios amigo" with a spark in her eyes.The brief meeting had my heart pounding a trifle faster.
4.Life in Colour(Spanish)-I read the synopsis of all the other movies and I had a gut feel that these movie would be intense.Sylvia Abascal was also acting in the movie.When i begun watching the movie,I felt I was right.It was a real cinema with lot of sadism and sadomasochism.In the middle,it was very difficult to survive because of the ugly depiction of reality.Its the journey of a young boy who metamorphoses from a coward into a brave boy.The boy is constantly bullied by other boys and in the end becomes a hero by saving his girlfriend.
After the movie,i was depressed.I became very philosophical,analytical and thought about life.
On Monday..
On Monday i got time to go through the synopsis of all movies and I chose 3 days of Anarchy over other movies.
1. 3 Days of Anarchy(Italy)-The film narrates through the eyes of a 25 yr old Giuseppe,the events in a Sicillian village during the 3 days between the landing of American troops in July'43 & the departure of the fascists.The communists take over from the fascists and are no better than them.Giuseppe is obviously confused as he is forced to take responsibility of the political situation and become an apparatchik.The movie ends with a hint of bright future.The film directed by Vito Zagarrio is set in 1943 & the period is beautifully recaptured and recreated.In fact,it takes some believing that the film was made only in 2004.
After the movie,I spoke to Bikram Saluja ,the actor.He missed the earlier part of the movie but liked it.I asked him about the movies he had seen.He loved Merry Christmas .However,he left Life in Colour midway because it didn't "appeal" to him.I could empathize with him because although the movie was good,it was still harsh.And like always even good cinema can be subjective.
2.Legend of Time(Spanish)-It was about a boy who cannot sing after his father's death.The movie was slow and didn't have any story in it.It was slow and i regretted making the wrong choice.
Next I had a choice between Poet of the Wastes(Iran)and Outsourced(America).I was tempted to watch Outsourced because the story was interesting .I had met John Jeffcoat,director of Outsourced,plus Outsourced had Ayesha Dharkar.In short a difficult temptation to resist.However,i chose to watch Poet of the Wastes because you can always see American movies on HBO & STAR.I had never watched any Iranian films.
3.Poet of the Wastes (Iran)-This movie was brilliant.The story,the acting by the hero,the screenplay..It was about a garbage collector who becomes a learned man by reading from the scraps.He reads a letter by a girl who is depressed.She is unable to get a visa and her letters don't go to her brother.She mentions that she is going to commit suicide if her brother doesn't reply.Obviously,the hero writes to her and saves her life.It is a simple ,beautiful story.The garbage collector is shown to be a dreamer using his broom stick like a paint brush and harnessing it to good effect!It had an intelligent apolical statement by the character who is confused about politics because,"the left becomes right and the right becomes left"which is relevant in today's complex political scenario.After the movie,we(anusha & me) rushed to watch Outsourced.Normally,I like to contemplate after a good movie but i watched Outsourced to assess my choice.I loved Outsourced,but it was a bit like ABCD,FLAVORS ,American Chai or rather the niche Indian American movies.Poet of the Wastes was very different.
4. Princesses (Spain) - This was the last movie I saw for the day. After watching legend of time I was a bit wary of Spanish cinema.I am glad I overcame the bias. Princesses was an amazing movie, on the life of prostitutes. It was a real cinema.Although,it was sad it had humour at the right time.Princesses is the story of two prostitutes who are the real princesses.This movie probably had one of the best Spanish songs.Princesses had a lot of thought provoking statements about life from the main actress.The best statement I heard from the main character was,"You exist because someone thinks of you and vice versa..."The movie really made me think about life .You get the feeling that even prostitutes have a heart,they have a life,they too want to be loved and treated like princesses.The songs were really intense and they made me cry on a lot of occasions .I was quite overwhelmed with emotions after this movie.Its probably one of the best movies of the festival.Princesses has won the Best Actress Award at the 2006 Goya Awards.
After the movie,I spoke to John Jeffcoat, the director of Outsourced.I told him,I liked the movie even though I saw the last part of it.He approved my choice of watching Poet of the Wastes because he said “ you cannot watch Iranian films on HBO and STAR”.John is from Seattle and he is a very interesting gentleman.Another guy joined us in the conversation and it was very exciting.John loves to watch Bollywood and also likes reading books and loves Indian authorsas well.He is yet to read The Kite Runner(which I absolutely loved reading).There is a scene in Outsourced where the hero is called by the slumdweller.The hero has to take a lot of turns going into the dungeons of the slums and finally reaches the slum dweller’s house.He is offered lunch.The same incident happened with John(but he wasn’t exactly offered lunch).He had the paranoia of an American man in Indian slums with strangers.Later,he was astounded by the warmth,the love and friendliness of the people.John also likes Kuch Kuch Hota Hai which was my favourite movies in my teens.There is a scene from KKHH in Outsourced.John loves kajol ,he immediately became her fan after watching DDLJ.I was on the tip of my toes ‘cuz she is my favourite actress too.Besides,we are related from her mother’s side in a distant manner.I told John , “You should make a movie with Hrithik,mate”.He smiled and and reciprocated, “I know he is a very good dancer”.John liked Vanaja played in the fest,which was a Telugu movie on a dancer.I bid adieu to John and left with the guy who was with us while we were conversing.His name was Amit Kumbhar.He has been coming to MAMI for the last 7 yrs.I guess I was in deep slumber all these years. Amit also attends Asian film festival and IFFI at Goa.He also has read a lot of books on cinema.
On Tuesday..
On Tuesday,I begun my day by watching The Child, a French movie.I was impressed with the synopsis and it had also won a lot of awards.
1.The Child (French)-Its about a young couple who have a child.The father is a 20 yr old loafer.He doesn’t earn much.It shows how messed up one’s life can get if one doesn’t think straight.
Honestly,I didn’t really like the movie.I guess I have a different taste.
Next, I chose to watch Nayi Neralu(kannada), a movie on reincarnation.There were many people who didn’t advocate watching regional cinema but I went for my instinct. I made a right choice.
2. Nayi Neralu(kannada)-It was a beautiful movie .It just catered to my taste.It had a good blend of romance and reality.However,reality is the dominating factor which drives the movie.I had a déjà vu days when I used to watch R K Narayan’s Swami and Malgudi Days.The film had exotic locales and it had an aesthetic beauty to it even when the harsh reality was depicted.It was beautifully narrated,simple and sweet yet thought provoking.I was confused after the movie with the overlapping of myth and reality which was scandalizing.
3.The Collector(Poland)-The movie was very fast and difficult to grasp.Right from the beginning I watched it with an erect spine because I anticipated something to happen.The Collector had a good background score.It was very confusing and slightly mysterious.The concept of redemption was the storyline which was supported with brilliant acting by the author.
4.Volver(Spanish)-Volver was initially shocking.Later ,it changed to humour and sarcasm with an endearing fictional story.The humour got a bit dark yet was very lively.I really enjoyed it.
On the whole Tuesday was a very fulfilling day.I was looking forward for Wednesday.
On Wednesday..
Started my day with Real Life is Elsewhere (Switzerland).Wasn’t able to chose between Deserted Station (Iran) & Real Life..However,I felt I made a fairly good decision even when Deserted Station was a good movie.
1.Real Life is Elsewhere (Switzerland)-This movie reminds me of Chekov and his realism.How one night with one person can change your life and you discover your life. “a quiet or a talkative stranger or a rather a talkative and a quiet stranger who provides lot of help(sometimes unwanted)and changes your life”.
Next I chose to watch The Road (China).I was advised to watch Road by Amit and his journo friend who had watched it at IFFI.
2.The Road (China)- It was very different from mainstream Chinese cinema.Beautifully narrated,showed different periods starting from 60’s,70’s,….till the 21st century.The main character is a female,who is a bubbly effervescent girl and she matures into a strong woman..It also showed that a man has to be a man in true spirit..It perfectly portrayed how the Chinese are gagged by communism in a pluralistc society.In totality,the movie was decent.
3.April in Love(French)-Romantic,sweet,well written,a bit slow ,funny at times.I felt it was “ok” ‘cuz I have watched such movies.
There was a girl sitting next to me while I was watching April in Love.She completely enoyed it. She was a ravishing French girl and her name was Tanya.After the movie,she asked me, “Did you like it?”.I said , “yes,but it was girly”.She was left fuming and I had a tough time defending myself.(Moral of the story-never tell a girl,the movie is girly).An Irish woman was sitting next to Tanya and I really was pleased to meet her.The Irish woman has a son who is studying cinema in London.She whispered to Tanya that I don’t look like an Indian.Tanya conveyed this to me.I asked Tanya “what do I look like then?”.She got the answer from the Irish woman which was “either Greek or Arabic”.Well I wasn’t too happy about the latter part of the comment !These two ladies were with Anant John,the filmmaker.We talked a great deal and it was very interesting.Anant asked me what I did and I replied ,the way Jovy from Friends says, “I am a theatre actor”,it was quite melodramatic.hehehehe….jokes apart,I introduced myself.We talked about cinema and the artist.According to him,the artist should suffer commercially because suffering gets the best out of such a person. I didn’t quite agree with him but it was interesting to hear a different perspective.Later I talked with the Irish lady(I don’t remember her name,it starts with J..).She said she liked The Child. I had a blank expression on my face. Her immediate reaction was “You didn’t like that either?” I again was at my diplomatic best.Later,I spoke to Tanya who reminded me of Basanti from Sholay and I didn’t have any qualms being a “Viru”.Later the Irish lady took the role of mausiji and whisked Tanya away from me.Tanya said loudly, “bye Arjun and I replied “bye Tanya” exchanging blushes and giggles.
4. 7 Virgins (Spanish)-This movie wasn’t great. I guess I erred in choice.But,that’s a part of the game.It was certainly better than Legend of Time .But,yeah ,I still enjoyed the different movie,lot of violence in the movie.
Before the movie,I was in a quandary whether to go for Good Shepherd (USA) or this one.I chose 7 Virgins because Good Shepherd can be watched on TV.
On Thrsday…the last day……
I had no doubt I would be watching Waiter upfront. It was on public demand. Besides,my director friend Paresh, also recommended the movie. I have done two plays with him for IDEA and THESPO.Unfortunately,we didn’t qualify for THESPO.
1.The Waiter(Netherlands)-Brilliant,absolutely hilarious,very dark and full of humour.One of the best movies I have seen at the festival.The movie had fictitious characters. A writer writes and he brings those characters alive.The main character suffers like a hell and he is utterly frustrated after being treated like crap, thanx to the writer.Almost all the characters who have suffered come to the writer to complain.The writer gets rid of them everytime.It is perhaps the most different movie I have ever seen.
Next I chose ,Sophie Scholl.It was based on the Nazi era in Germany during the 40’s.I chose to watch the movie because I was immediately fascinated by the synopsis.Also,when I read about Ann Frank,in school,I loved her.Again,the movie was chosen on my belief.
2.Sophie Scholl-The final Days (Germany)-Tragic,historic.There was a lot of silence in the movie and at times it was loud(it had to be loud). I loved the acting which was brilliant during the silent phases. It was very moving and a perfect depiction of voices against the system.It also delineated how the Nazis were ruthless.
I was realy moved by the movie.I met Tanya one last time.I got the opportunity to give her my email id and mobile no. She immediately changed my mood.I offered her the burger I was eating,she declined and said “I ate a PParrata”. I taught her how to pronounce it graciously and she was pleased.I asked ,”which movie you saw?”She said , “I didn’t see much. I had to got RRavindra Natiya Maandir in Parbaadevi”.I winked at her and said ok.
Honestly,I loved her French accent and her sweeeeeeeeeet giggles. She asked me to come for another film festival and I replied, “I got to prepare for my finals for my masters”.She swirled around like a ballet dancer and had the expression, “Oh my……” on her pretty face. I couldn’t help but laugh with her.Later I met Anusha, who wanted to watch The Ringfinger(France).I had read the synopsis and I felt like watching Breaing and Entering even though it was an English movie. I told Anusha, “I have watched 2 good films and I just want to be consistent”.Next I went for Breaking and Entering.
3. Breaking and Entering (USA)-The movie was very good, awesome performance by Jude Law(I liked Jude Law as actor especially after watching bits and pieces of Cold Mountain).Breaking and Entering was intelligent yet sensitive and touching.In the movie,the main character called Will played by Jude Law has a hard time with his wife as he is a workaholic and his wife is unable to understand him.Will is a landscape artist and he has a state of the art office which attracts the attention of a local group of thieves.After one of the break-ins ,Will follows 15 yr old Miro back to the apartment he shares with his mother,Amira,a refugee from Bosnia.Will goes into his wild side and develops a relationship with the Bosnian woman.He also puts a stop to the breaking of his office through her.In the end he saves Miro who is the juvenile culprit accused of breaking into his office,with the help of his wife.Juliete Binoche , has won an award for her performance.In the movie,Jude Law’s wife forgives him for infidelity.Ironically,Sienna Miller(now Jude law’s ex-wife) was ruthless!
4.Kebab Connection (German)-Great movie on blending of two cultures.Classic example of stylized acting.I could very easily react to the movie and enjoyed every bit of it. I think it’s a must watch for advertising folks.The whole story was very creative and funny.
Well fellas, I am feeling a bit tired giving reviews.I feel I am on a marathon.Watching all the movies was a long process which I thoroughly enjoyed.I juz felt “I live for it”. I discovered there is so much to life than a relationship with a vain person.Kebab Connection got over around 9 pm.I grabbed a strawberry milkshake and said goodbye to anusha and her mother.It offcourse was a great pleasure watching movies with her. I haven’t really mentioned the arguments with her because again,there is so much to life! I am sure Anusha will agree on this (hehehehe…..i hope Anusha,you are concrete on this).
I was really geared up for the big one ,the last lap of my marathon.
5.The Namesake-It was again a good movie.A perfect movie for cross over audience. Mira Nair has deftly portrayed the Indian sensibilities in an American milieu.It was a bit sad but its again a break free from Bollywood masala movies.It definitely reminds me of Amitav Ghosh and Satyajeet Ray(folks,I haven’t read Jhumpa Lahiri).Both are geniuses in their own way and have a different way of storytelling.
The family drama delves into a very different kind of American family,the Gangulis,Ashoke and Ashima,who come to the US in search of limitless opportunities only to be confronted with confusion.Their son Gogol,named in a hurry after the Russian author Mikhael Gogol,hoping it would be a link between the past and a better future-grows up into a confused man.Kal Penn has done an amazing job playing the role of Gogol.Gogol is also caught in a conflict between his Bengali roots and his American identity.In the end Gogol, too begins his journey on his own and feels free for the first time in his life.
Ho… haa…Folks, I inhaled 5 films in a day.Made all the right choices on the last day. I heard from Anusha that The Ringfinger was pathetic.The best movies were brilliant in their own way.I too feel I am on a journey of my life…Don’t know what life has in store for me.ce’st la vie .Adios amigos.


Blogger Anusha said...

Well Well Well... What do I say? My marathon movie inhaling days were brought back to life with your marathon recounting. ;)

Yes, more to life than arguments, but as I am an argument buff if you hang around me for long you will get arguments. If I have no one to argue with I will play the devil's advocate myself. ;) Guess you saw that side too.

I loved viewing films with you Ashish. Your line of reasoning made me review mine (not always change mind you)and that I like.

Tanya, Janice, Anant John........... so many more characters we each met and interacted with all just added to the appeal of the such fests.

As for not daring to tell me somethig I hope we have now progressed beyond that!

Volver, Collector, Poet of Wastes, Nobody's Perfect, heartbreak, oh so many more movies really that i absolutely relished.

And yes, Ashish, once again, I reiterate that you were spot on about every single movie that your instincts chose that final day of the fest. Congrats! Here is to more instinctual choices that lead to lovely avenues of adventure.

12:37 AM  
Blogger arjun said...

hehehe....i m glad u sound relatively satisfied...guess wt,i too m an arguement buff.i juz dint mention em cuz...u wud a luved 2 deconstruct them wid a derridean view point.(hey ,its a compliment).yeah,i believe v have outgrown discomfort ,n v r pretty much "cheeky".Well,i m quite pleased u acknowledged my instinctual choices.Thank you.

3:42 AM  
Blogger Anusha said...

I am so glad you did so well in CET. Hope your future pans out just the way wish.
take care.
Best of luck for MA as well

6:42 AM  

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