Posts tagged ‘movies’

TZP unbound :P

Great.

The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan headquarters in New Delhi issued a circular to all KVs earlier this month recommending the movie. So, teachers have been leading students, batch-by-batch, to the nearby theatre to watch the world of Ishaan, where reality and fantasy are indistinguishable. 

The movie in question is TZP. Am I to undertand that there are people who haven’t seen the film as yet?

“Students have to be shown about their differently-abled counterparts. Even in a normal school, we may come across children with a slightly backward ability. Children should be familiarised with the not-so-lucky. It’s our duty to bring children with learning disability to the mainstream,” Ramakrishnan says.

Uh, yeah. Sure, it’s your duty. But I don’t see how this film is going to help you do that.

I liked TZP but I don’t think it’s a film about disability per se. Ishaan’s dyslexia is at most a plot device. It is used to expose his fathers attitude and to establish a bond with his teacher. It also simplifies things; academic success becomes a simple matter of overcoming dyslexia(shown in a quick montage with an upbeat song in the background). Nikumbhs meeting with Ishaan’s parents isn’t exactly a lesson on dyslexia. Yes, it is informative, but raising awareness isn’t the intention. It’s a revelation, especially for people who are not familiar with the term, intended to take the plot forward. Besides dyslexia isn’t the only learning ability or disability out there.

I do not quite see how watching this film could help sensitize children towards disability. For most of the film’s length, Ishaan is isolated from his peers. He makes only one friend and no attempt is made to explore this friendship. Nikumbh steps in a few minutes later anyway. The film ends with Ishaan being accepted by his family, not his peers. There are no lessons for children here, the lessons are for adults.

Does that mean that teachers can ‘learn’ something from the film? Nope.

Nikumbh cannot and should not be used as a benchmark. He is after all, a character, with the convinience of being in a work of fiction. Teachers in real life do not have the benefit of situtations dictated by writers and solutions scripted to make everyone happy.

I am not saying that the film is irrevelant. TZP is a good film, but it has it’s bounds. Many people are unhappy with this. Some critics have unfairly compared it to other films and demanded that the film transgress these boundaries. I see no reason why it should. The filmmaker chose a certain arc, and kept out unnecessary sub plots and rolled out a decent film. His treatment of the story is a personal choice, one that I admire. Why should he be expected to tread the line of other directors? Isn’t his message unique?

So, what is the message of the film? Yes, every child is special, but how? Many, if not most, people can relate to Ishaan’s predicament, the anguish of not being understood. It is this angle, that the film explores. In doing so, it holds a mirror to the Indian middle class. This honest treatment taht touched the audience most. Without being preachy, the film forces you to look differently at children, not because they may have dyslexia, but because they might be misunderstood.

There is another group of people who refuse to acknowledge the boundaries the film has confined itself to. These people have misinterpreted the message of the movie. Some of them are wrongly self-diagnosing themselves with dyslexia. Others think they ‘understand’ dyslexia or the needs of special children better. The good men and women at KVS think TZP is the ideal film to sensitize their teachers and students. Teachers in Vadodara are being made to watch the film(against their will?).

This is clearly an overreaction. At the end of the day TZP is a film and let us leave it at that. In my opinion, no film or story should be cannonised in such a manner. Isn’t it ironic that a film that encourages us to recognize a childs individuality is being shoved down children’s throats?

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February 26, 2008 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

Nihalani and Kashyap

Reacting to adverse reactions to No Smoking, director Anurag Kashyap  had this to say:

since i do not have the liberty, and i get banned everytime i am directly stating my opinions(we started shooting much before Black friday got the clearence), one has to wage a guerilla war.. no smoking is my guerrilla war..

Here’s an old interview with Govind Nihalani and Rakesh Sharma from 2005. The two filmmakers talk about the then new multiplex phenomenon and the state of filmmaking. Also some innovative ideas to reach a wider audience. The interview concludes with Nihalani saying:

Extra legal censorship is getting stronger. It’s a recognition of the power of art. So fight on. Go for guerrilla creativity.

February 7, 2008 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

Two songs and a torrent index

Vampy songs, :-E

Annie Lennox’s Love Song For a Vampire. I like the imagery in the lyrics. And Lennox looks like a class A vampire.

Cry Little Sister, from the Lost Boys OST. Haunting chorus. Love the way it opens the film.

***

Let me begin, by warning you that illegaly downloading copyrighted content can get
you in trouble. It is not a nice thing to do. ; ). That said, a few days back I came across this fantastic torrent index called Freakyflicks. From their website:

“FreakyFlicks is a free and open community dedicated to preserving and sharing cinematic art in the digital era. Our goal is to disseminate such works of art to the widest audience possible through the channels provided by P2P technology.The FreakyFlicks collection is limited to those films that have played an exceptional role in the history of cinema and its progression in becoming a great art. Films that are usually described as classic, cult, arthouse and avant-garde.”

Cool. Do browse through their collection because they have some rare films in there. For example, two pre-Eraserhead films by David Lynch,  some Satyajit Ray including the Apu trilogy, Tarkovsky and basically a hell lot of directors I had never heard about. I am not providing any links here. Go google it yourself.

January 15, 2008 at 8:01 pm 3 comments

Thinking about Bergman

Just saw “The Silence” by Ingmar Bergman, 1960.

Bergman’s films have this strange element that I have not found in any other filmmakers works. It is something that I don’t understand myself, and I can only try to put it in words. Bergman takes some time to set the plot relying on little dialog. Then some secret is stumbled upon or some character flaw is revealed, a layer is peeled. The plot progresses, the characters act, something happens. Then comes what I call the ‘situation’. At this point, characters converse. The conversation could be a light debate between a knight and his squire, or a monologue of a sick woman. The words, the words. They open up the characters in a strange sort of way. By revealing the minutest details, Bergman establishes an intimacy between the character and the viewer. They now lie bare, exposed. What had previously appeared to be a set of random acts now gains meaning. Where the film had been previously silent, we can now hear the soft drone of a hidden narrative. Like I said I don’t really understand it, it feels almost like a new sensation. The magic is in the writing, to use a cliche.

January 10, 2008 at 9:47 pm Leave a comment

2007, Best of

A little late but here goes.

Ahem.

Best films of 2007 and why I liked them:

Black Friday by Anurag Kashyap
Because never before have I seen a more honest film. Tiger was scary. Aadesh Srivastava as Baadshah shone again after Satya.

Ami, Iyasin ar amar Madhubala by Budhdhadeb Bhattacharya
This film is about chauvinism, feminism, voyeurism, fascism and nerds. I liked the scene where the computer guy talks to his computer.

Ratri Mazha by Lenin , Kaal Chakra by Vishal Bhandari
Refreshingly new attitude, to some very relevant social issues.

Manorama: Six Feet Under by Navdeep Singh
Small town life the way it is. Crisp dialogues. Great acting.

Johnny Gaddar by Sriram Raghavan
Anti hero protagonist was a killer idea. Gripping and unpredictable.

Ekti Nadir Galpo by Samir Chanda
Mithun’s performance. And the way the film wraps itself around a simple story.

Naalu Pennungal by Adoor Gopalkrishnans
Four portraits of women. Each part shot in a unique style.

No Smoking by Anurag Kashyap
I know a lot of people hated it. Not perfect but I’m a sucker for Alternative Reality films. And John Abraham rocked.
(more…)

January 1, 2008 at 10:10 pm 1 comment

Jaman

Last week I used up my remaining two free tickets on Jaman. So from now on, I’ll be watching only short films, till I start earning some big bucks get myself a Mastercard. I have to say, Jaman is good. It’s repository is very rich and diverse. For people like me, it offers a new avenue to explore World Cinema and that too legally. The pricing also appears to be reasonable, at 1-2$ (approx INR 40-80). My knowledge of credit cards is zero, so perhaps there are some hidden expenses that I do not know about and you may end up paying more. Another thing I liked was the Social Networking features it offers. I have come across several enlightening discussions and well written reviews. I am not so excited, however, by the comments feature. In the three films I rented, comments were often mundane or congratulatory but rarely informing. Which is not to say I did not find any useful comments at all. In “The Stranger” for instance, a comment actually the significance of a dialog, a significance that I had missed. And in “The Home and the World” I was forced to relook at a scene after a commenter questioned a characters action. So its not exactly a redundant feature but a lot depends on the users. But after seeing the kind of user generated content on site I am sure it will become more significant.

The three films that I saw were, “The Seventh Horse of the Sun” by Shyam Benegal and “The Home and the World” and “The Stranger” by Satyajit Ray. I had a hard time picking out three films from a thousand others. My original intention had been to see some of World Cinema, that is, non American and non Indian films. But that changed when I stumbled upon NFDC’s profile. Here, was a stash of treasures from the Parallel Cinema movement of the 80s. Treasures that are impossible to find. This is what NFDC has to say about itself (on Jaman):

“National Film Development Corporation of India and its predecessor, the Film Finance Corporation, have funded or produced over 300 films in various Indian languages that have won acclaim and awards in India and worldwide.

The NFDC movies include work from the country’s top directors, including films from Satyajit Ray, the master director who brought Indian cinema to world recognition and won an Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 1992. Many are only on Jaman and are not available on DVD or VHS.

(bolds mine)

December 29, 2007 at 9:27 pm 2 comments


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