G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Chris Ware: "Being a cartoonist means you don’t consider yourself too fancy."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ugh! Marathi Films

India Today December 17, 2007 talked about: "How India watches movies".

"...3.7 bn number of movie tickets sold in India in 2006. 1.4 bn number of movie tickets sold in the US in 2006. 29% is the share of movies in the $11 billion Indian media and entertainment industry. The share of television is 64 per cent...".

Sadly, Marathi cinema, unlike say Tamil or Telugu cinema, is not sharing this bounty adequately. Is it dying?

Smita Talwalkar स्मिता तळवलकर, actor and producer, while presiding over the third all-India Marathi film convention 2007 on November 24 and 25 at Ganesh Kala Krida Rangamanch, Pune said:

“Marathi people have lost pride in their mother tongue . They do not watch Marathi films or plays...Lack of an audience is a major hindrance for Marathi filmmakers and distributors… ”

Actor, producer Ramesh Deo रमेश देव readily agreed threatening that if this trend continued Marathi films would not be produced any more.

Ramesh Deo should know better. He acted when Marathi films fared much better. They had warmth, interesting storyline and soulful music.

He and his son are now going to release a film on the life of Vasudev Balwant Phadke वासुदेव बळवंत फडके, one of the most liberal and inspiring characters of 19th century India. I hope it will be a good film based on the criteria of a good cinema and not just because it’s based on the life venerable Vasudev Balwant. (There already is a huge benchmark as Phadke's life may have inspired Bankim Chandra Chatterjee to write the novel Anand Math in 1882. The novel has already been turned into a movie in 1952 starring inimitable Geeta Bali)

And Ms. Talwalkar, how about you producing half a good Marathi TV serial after heralding the age of decadent serials with “Avantika अवंतिका”?

It’s not lack of pride but their bad quality that puts me off Marathi films. I don't know why urban middle-class Marathi speaking people start waving flags as soon as anything goes against their wishes.

In Kolhapur, south Indian films do huge business because they are better than Marathi films.

I hope Marathi speaking Rajnikanth's megahit Sivaji gets dubbed in Marathi. It will set Marathi box office on fire, the way it did during the times of V Shantaram व्ही शांताराम or Dada Kondke दादा कोंडके.

The last Marathi films I enjoyed were “The Turn of Ghost एक डाव भुताचा” and “The Threshold उंबरठा”(both 1982).
[btw- It's not nostalgia. I enjoyed Hindi film Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006) and English film, The Pink Panther (2006)]

I have tried to watch many Marathi films after 1982 but they are lousy and unwatchable. During this time, Marathi had some very good talent-like the late Laxmikant Berde लक्ष्मीकांत बेर्डे- but they wasted it.

I don’t recall a single song of any Marathi film since "The Threshold उंबरठा".

Much talked about “Breath श्वास” (2003), I found tear-jerker and boring. Nothing wrong with sentimentality though. Shyam's Mother श्यामची आई (1953) , a 'sentimental' film, on the other hand is one of the greatest film made in India.

Noble subject doesn’t mean good film.

Jabbar Patel जब्बार पटेल made bad film on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life (1998). I thought here we go again. Richard Attenborough turned Gandhi into a classic, in both Hindi and English, while Ambedkar gets unfair treatment even here.


Artist: Robert Weber The New Yorker 20 July 1963