Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I must confess that I was drunk when I watched Page 3.

And may be like you said , I was ready for some entertainment,
Irrespective of its quality.

And about the quality of your language and the image of the writer it projects - It is good and It sounds scholarly. But it has a touch of dryness which is unlike the Clement in person. May be that is how you want it to be.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

It’s just that when some of us cineastes enter a cinema we have sometimes just about made up our minds to enjoy the experience – our antennas a bit weakened, just to delight the sensory system with that stream or burst of audiovisual. We are satisfied after that fix, no matter what it was we were fed. An appetite has been satiated.

This kind of experience is that of the child in the cinema. It is the sensory system that is delighted, not the intellect or the emotional self. We thrill to use our senses because we are programmed by evolution to use them – thus any sensation that does not induce flight from it is delightful.

In this state of semi-somnolence, the intellect can but take its cue from the felt delight and conclude as to the desirability of the total experience. Thus it is that every visit of the child to the cinema is one that he would cherish. Alas, however, it is not so with his adult fellows. The adult, if he deserves to be termed such, would have learnt to discern subtler pleasures in sources other that sensory gratification: contemplation and conversation.

Art aids the former, but is the latter. In his eagerness for experience, the adult seeks the more stimulating conversation – seeks for an intellect of keener comprehension, a mind of deeper emotion. This seeking is what we call criticism. In that this is an endeavour of assaying keenness, it calls for the reciprocation of the same quality in the effort, and therefore is not suited to those grudging of exertion.

Accidents in the history of human civilization have resulted in the substitution of Religion in place of Art for most of us. The pervasiveness of this phenomenon is perhaps attributable to the universality of laziness. Religion, to our relief, answers questions before they are asked; Art keeps beating about the bush. We refuse to accept the inscrutability of our being, preferring instead to cling on to phantom certainties.

…We got lost, didn’t we? What was the question again? Why do we think we enjoyed a bad flick? Oh, just the heat of the afternoon getting to us, or perhaps we find the cool darkness of the cinema a relief from the dross of the daily grind. When our selves are habituated to being smothered by the will of others, the lustre of our souls is dulled. In that gloom the seeker begins to forget….

So there you have it. A simple question, and I beat around the bush. Hey, you asked for it…

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Your observations are absolutely right.
Still Dont kill em like that Clement.

But I liked it. Is there any thing wrong with me doctor?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


All the hoopla about Madhur Bhandarkar’s Page 3 reveals the bankruptcy of film criticism in our country. Else it would have been pointed out much earlier for what it actually is—an intolerably hypocritical look at the morally bankrupt world of the socialites who people the parties of glitzy Mumbai. Posing as an exposé, it teases the audience with anecdotes from the seamier side of their lives.

I was reminded of the work of filmmakers like Ed Wood whose intention in making films on ‘serious issues’ like crime, perversion, et al is to revel in the portrayal of those very things. In such films there is a kind of complicity between the filmmaker and his audience in that both the production and consumption of the ‘social tract’ is assumed a worthy enterprise. All this may sound like a puritanical rant, but it’s just that I can’t stand the pretence. Pornography pretending to be nothing else—I have no quarrel against that. Just don’t call it art.

So the substance of the film is irretrievably compromised by the filmmaker’s dubious intentions (aided by the fact that the subject is a matter of too easy ridicule and satire). What can you say about a film in which the best, or most interesting, parts are the clichés—eg, the dilemmas of an honest police officer? What about the style? This could have been one of those films that is all style and no substance. But the filmmaking is amateurish and lacks polish. Just see how badly the look of the film compares with its own publicity posters.

Nevertheless, a lot of people seem to think that any Hindi film without the usual song and dance routines is a masterpiece. Ajit Duara wrote in The Hindu that we may be proud that a film like this can be made in our country. Admittedly, he called it a flawed work and was referring to the filmmaker’s courage in tackling the issues he did. What courage? To miss a few parties? He must have thrown one to celebrate the success of his new film.