मेघदूत: "नीचैर्गच्छत्युपरि च दशा चक्रनेमिक्रमेण"

समर्थ शिष्या अक्का : "स्वामीच्या कृपाप्रसादे हे सर्व नश्वर आहे असे समजले. पण या नश्वरात तमाशा बहुत आहे."

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.”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.”

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

सदानंद रेगे:
"... पण तुकारामाची गाथा ज्या धुंदीनं आजपर्यंत वाचली जात होती ती धुंदी माझ्याकडे नाहीय. ती मला येऊच शकत नाही याचं कारण स्वभावतःच मी नास्तिक आहे."
".. त्यामुळं आपण त्या दारिद्र्याच्या अनुभवापलीकडे जाऊच शकत नाही. तुम्ही जर अलीकडची सगळी पुस्तके पाहिलीत...तर त्यांच्यामध्ये त्याच्याखेरीज दुसरं काही नाहीच आहे. म्हणजे माणसांच्या नात्यानात्यांतील जी सूक्ष्मता आहे ती क्वचित चितारलेली तुम्हाला दिसेल. कारण हा जो अनुभव आहे... आपले जे अनुभव आहेत ते ढोबळ प्रकारचे आहेत....."

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."

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: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Friday, February 29, 2008

To India Goes the Award for the Most Celebrity Obsessed Culture

I couldn’t watch academy awards function this year after an hour. It got so boring.

I never watch any Indian film award function. At last count there at least are a dozen of them. This year even my wife doesn’t wish to watch any of them. They all look the same...muck like gowns at academy awards function...parade of celebrities. Rate at which Indian media are busy fabricating celebrities is scary.

A. O. SCOTT has written an excellent essay “Are Oscars Worth All This Fuss?”. (NYT February 24, 2008).

“…I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I found myself hoping that the strike (the Writers Guild strike) would shut the Academy Awards down; that for once, in a year of such cinematic bounty and variety, appreciation for the best movies could be liberated from the pomp and tedium of Hollywood spectacle. ..

… So I am not against the Oscars, any more than I’m dismissive of the Salesman of the Year or the Employee of the Month, or opposed to lavish annual trade association conventions for actuaries or ophthalmologists. But I am nonetheless bothered by the disproportionate importance that the Academy Awards have taken on, and by the distorting influence they exercise over the way we make, market and see movies in this country. The Oscars themselves may be harmless fun, but the idea that they matter is as dangerous as it is ridiculous. ..

… In the past it was frequently safe to assume that any relationship between the Oscars and artistic quality was coincidental. The academy was never supposed to be hip, daring or responsive to what was newest and most risky in the world of cinema. It was just what its name implied: the mainstream, the establishment, the old guard. Sometimes, yes, the best picture prize would actually go to the best picture, but more often the academy’s neglect of a film was a reliable index of its merit. The good judgment not only of critics but, more important, of independent-minded, adventurous moviegoers has traditionally been measured by its distance from the consensus of the movie industry.

And that, it should not be forgotten, is what the Academy Awards represent: the self-assessment of a self-interested, self-involved professional clique…

… In the old days it was more often the opposite: the academy would belatedly gild the lily of commercial success with a shiny finish of ersatz class. This vulgarity was the saving grace of the Oscars. It was not necessary for film lovers to take them seriously or for media outlets to cover them like presidential campaigns, with horse-race reporting, sober analysis and war room spin doctoring. A bit of perspective is needed. The wonderful thing about the Academy Awards is that they are fundamentally trivial. To pretend otherwise is to trivialize movies.”


Chetan said...

I don't share your scepticism regarding the Oscars. The way I see it is that it acts as a filter. Assuming that my time is precious, they do make me aware of the good movies that are available out there. The awards spare me the investment of time and money to watch a lot of films released each year. Even considering the fact that the 'best' movies rarely win an Oscar, the nominations receive equally wide publicity for me to want to watch them.

Criticism of the academy is very much like criticising the Booker/Nobel prize. Yes, they are biased/politically motivated and so on and so forth but still in a market filled with so many good authors I do rely on them for pointers. That the winner's advance for their next novel becomes news item reported in glowing terms in Indian media is merely a side effect or a nuisance that I am happy dealing with rather than reading 40 new novels per year or watching equivalent number of movies and realising that only 20% of them were worthwhile.

And yes, I do share your concern about celebrity obsession of the India media. However, having been in journalism for a while I look at it as a necessary evil. Sort of like advertisements, where you can ignore the items you want for the price of reading one very good insightful article. For instance I would buy Times of India Pune for solely its Sunday Times op-eds by Aiyar, Karkaria, Suraiya and Dasgupta and for local news articles by Abhijit Atre and Abhay Viadya despite columns by the likes of Shobhaa De and Tarun Vijay and the local feature columns of Pune Times supplement.

So yes, let the kitsch thrive so long as it lets me afford a glimpse of a genius.

Aniruddha G. Kulkarni said...

You are very optimistic Chetan. Good luck.

For last few years, I am deeply disappointed with quality of most American and Indian films.

Mainstream media- I have already given up!

I am an anarchist anyway.