Sunday, April 17, 2016

Holy shit, not so soon!!!

It is almost like an odd-even scheme if you are seeing some of your work along with a group of selected and informed film buffs. Even - because you begin to see the graph of your journey and the connection between your seemingly different films. Odd - because the 'retrospective', so to say, gives you the feeling of being a 'senior citizen' and you end up saying, 'Holy shit, not so soon!!!'

Ashish Arora
Deepa Pathak
Gurpal Singh
Deepa Pathak and Ashish Aurora run a quintessential resort in the hilly Uttarakand village called Sonapani, in India. Well, it is not just a resort - they organise music festivals, food festivals and film festivals for select groups here. Gurpal Singh helps them curate some of these festivals.

Raam Reddy, Niharika Popli, Ramchandra PN
The film festival from 4th to 6th of March, 2016 was their tenth one in five years. Each time three film makers are invited and their select films screened. This time, it was young Niharika Popli who has made a wonderful documentary on the musical legend Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan called 'Rasan Priya'; the younger Raam Reddy, whose debut film 'Thithi' is making waves the world over; apart from myself.

The festival has its own quite pace - films are interspersed with music secessions, nature walks and serious and non serious reading secessions. The first day, it was Niharika's film that was shown. The second day was a bit hectic . The lineup included Raam Reddy's film, my documentary 'Miyar House' and my debut feature film 'Suddha' (The Cleansing Rites). 
Haal e Kangaal

'Haal-e-Kangaal' (The Bankrupts) was on the third day. So, was my documentary on the theater legend, BV Karanth. Judging by the responses that I got for 'Haal-e-Kangaal', it was by far the most satisfactory screenings of the film. I have had about twenty odd screenings of this film at seven to eight cities and towns. It is only in Kolkata and Manipal that I got such instant receptivity. 

Way back during the 1984-85, when I was still in college, I had asked my father if I could apply for the Film and TV Institute of India. I wanted to do the direction course. He was shocked, but he calmly asked me to complete my degree course first. 'Let us see, then.', he had said. 
BV Karanh: Baba

I was disappointed. I remember declaring to my classmate and neighbor Anil Nayak that I will at least complete one fiction feature film before I turn fifty years old - even if I am not allow to join the film school. It turns out that I got into the film school, I have made three fiction feature films, a host of documentaries and I have now just crossed fifty.

It is always useful to pause and look back on what you have been through - the good, the bad, the ugly, the dirty, the stupid and the indifferent. The Sonapani film festival has just been that for me. The magic of the 'Hills' is that it sometimes puts you in a reflective mode.

And I refuse to accept that I am inching towards becoming a senior citizen; not as of yet.


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The first four photos are by Kanishka Prasad.