Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

Aamir Khan’s Tare Zameen Par and the Oscars

So what are the chances of Tare Zameen Par to get a nomination or even better, win the Oscar for best foreign language film category ? First my usual rant. The Oscars do NOT represent the ultimate in films of that year. 85% of the foreign language films are not even seen by the voters. There are beautiful Vietnamese, African, South American, Japanese and other Asian films that are absolute treasures that just pass by without notice, because there is no one to back them.
TZP has a great theme, it is emotionally moving and has a brilliant performance at it’s centre. That should be good enough to get it nominated. Especially as autism is a subject that in the US (where all the voters live) has been the subject of a very volatile debate recently. So it should at least get a nomination. I suspect that most films this year will be political in nature given what the world is going through. So TZP will stand out……


Do we need to make any sense ? Lecture on film at North Western University in Chicago

Was delivering ( I guess) a lecture on film at the Northwestern University in Chicago. This was a film history class and I am one of the most film illiterate people I know on the planet. By the time I got to be a film maker it was too late to catch up. Yet the students and I had a very interesting session. We plunged straight in to the ideas of ‘not knowing’. How do you approach story telling without knowing the outcome. How do you completely surprise yourself. Is any art, including film making, an attempt towards exploration of the unknown ? For if it is not, then it is not art is it ? How do actually go out and try NOT to make sense, but allow the inherent tensions that exist within that exploration to surface, the inherent contradictions within you to surface, and these contradictions then begin to tell the story. Or some semblance of a story. Something emerges that you cannot take credit for, for the film had, or the story had it’s own organic being. The story and you meet not in the realm of sense, but somewhere outside in the largesse of the universe where the story is not trying to make sense but is somehow provoking thought processes that have so much contradiction in them that they make sense and do not make sense at the same time. Like a boiling pot – with somehow sense coming to the surface but disintegrating into ‘no sense’ and sinking back, merely to give rise to the illusion and a tantalizing glimpse of sense again, only to fall back again into no-sense. Like all great poetry. Leaving the viewer/reader to connect the dots to try and create something of logic or of sense in it all. Or not.

Akira Kurosawa on film critics

Here is what one of the greatest film directors of all time said about film critics :
“There is a famous haiku by Bashio :
An old pond
A frog jumps in –
the sound of the water.
People who read it and say “Well, of course if a frog jumps into the water, there’s going to be a noise” simply have no feeling for haiku. There are sometimes such human beings among film critics – the things they say they see are so far off the beam that you would think they were possessed by some kind of demon. I suppose nothing can be done about critics, but we can’t have such people among film directors.’” A quote by Akira Kurosawa.
Film is poetry. But more and more film critics look for prose. Even critics now are too impatient to look beyond. Like the rest of our society now, they too suffer from information overload. We are are becoming increasingly a ‘reactive’ society’ propelled by unrelenting external stimuli.

The Art of Nautanki and Hindi films

Yes, the ART of Nautanki. This much abused word is actually a folk art form that has been prevalent in our culture for over a thousand years. And in most other cultures in Asia. A folk art form of the theatre. Usually performed by traveling troupes of actors, it comprised the telling of stories using all the nine Rasaa’s of emotions as described in various ancients texts , including in Yoga. Therefore the word – ‘Nau (nine) tanki’…..


Babel and Paradise Now

Babel is a work of absolute genius, but still stands, in my view, the second best film of last year. The best film is a unquestioningly a Palestinian film called ‘Paradise Now’, which was not even recognized by any of the awards announced. That is why awards such as the Oscars will always be suspect..


Paradise Now

Just when you had given up hope that the you will be able to see a film about the people that are written about as statistics by the Western Press, comes the brilliant film, Paradise Now ..


And the Oscar for the best film goes to ..

Turtles can Fly. Ever heard of it ? Probably not. Is it better than all the nominated films ? Definitely. Far better. So what do the Oscars mean ?