Growing up was a tenuous affair in the far sight but then childhood has a myopic memory. So did I have like rest of you who are reading this blog.
I remember watching Doordarshan and the perils of living in a middle class home with frequent power-cuts. I also remember a neighbour who owned a television set but never forgot to tom tom his “Dubai connections” which enabled him to buy a Malaysian video cassette player (we used to call it a VCP).
I watched Rajendra Kumar’s Jhook Gaya Aasmaan some millions times during the 1980s on a borrowed VCP some 20 years after film was made. I don’t know how many of you have seen that film but I believe that the film is a masterpiece. The story goes something like this: the protagonist dies right after a beautiful song, his soul gets transported onto another body and then he lives a life again to correct his ‘mistakes’.
If I had seen Fellini or a Truffaut or a Godard or a Rossini then I would have understood the film better, I guess.
On second thoughts, no!
Along with knowledge and reading, I have developed a habit of operating on a film like a specimen in a biology dissection class. The film gets constantly slit and cut in my mind.
These days, I laugh when I see that cinema dying with its hand right under its throat as it had been slit. I see it die and get smothered right in front of my eyes with blood drying up over its body. As the scenes passes through my mind, I feel that have also become a maniac and a cold-blooded murderer.
I am sure so many of you out there are narcissistic and fearlessly cold and hence you are continuing reading this blog.
A watchman or an auto rickshaw driver won’t read this blog because he probably digs deep for a Sanjay Dutt in Saajan which I did too. I am thankful to the class divide in our country for having myself exposed to these films right from the 70s to the 80s.
And then, I am born in a Bengali household, so Tagore, Ray and Sen are watched or heard under the starlit sky on a projector during a Durga puja or a Kali puja. The biting cold was never a deterrent. The brunt of the bitter cold was not a deterrent when I as a little one.
Tina Ambani (Munim) in ‘Des Pardes’
I recently saw few portions of a masterpiece called Des Pardes where you see Mrs Anil Ambani with catty eyes and slender legs as a beautiful contemporary Indian woman of the 70s hurtling down the seedy bylanes of London and cutting through posters of porn films and strip bars.
You have to see those portions on a you tube to understand that man called Dev Anand was so far-sighted that he made films about the illegal immigrants of London with Rajesh Roshan’s superb music and Pran’s powerful acting.
There is a portion where there is a montage of London and Indians living there and it reminded me the neo-realistic american cinemas where the colours on the screen were so warm.
I think we have trivialised this whole idea of making cinema — neither are we making sin city nor a Bawaarchi.
Instead. we are making trishanku cinema me thinks, or you need a Narsimha to kill Hiranyakashyap when the clock strikes twelve. Darwin is required here too.
Finally, I want to say that Manoj kumar, Vijay Anand, Bhagwan Dada, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt and the likes made films, wrote and acted and none went to film schools.
We all are suffering from myopia as we are not looking at our glorious past and looking at the capitalist cinema of the west at present. It’s not nostalgia where you get drunk and press the history button on the iPod and travel through time on Rafi or Talat Mehmood’s shoulders.