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!"

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);...”

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."

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."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nilu Binder is Dead

I lived in Mumbai continuously only from mid-1983 to mid-1987 but I got lucky.

I watched नीळू फुले (Nilu Phule) and लालन सारंग (Lalan Sarang) perform सखाराम बाइंडर/ बाईंडर (Sakharam Binder) at साहित्य संघ ,गिरगाव (Sahitya Sangh,Girgaum) from the first or the second row.

I have yet to see a better performance than that on either Indian stage or Indian cinema's silver screen.

I understand he felt emotionally exhausted after every performance of Binder. Why not? I felt devastated watching him just once.

I always thought Nilu Phule would have been a much better नाना फडणवीस (Nana Fadnavis)- a historical character tormented by his often losing struggle with sexuality- than मोहन आगाशे (Mohan Agashe) in विजय तेंडुलकर Vijay Tendulkar's घाशीराम कोतवाल (Ghashiram Kotwal).
It might have given an opportunity to 'Kotwal' to become a dark comedy instead of just great entertainment.

Cinema, unlike theatre, is predominantly director's medium. Unfortunately, for Mr. Phule and us, Marathi cinema did not have great, and not just good, directors while he was active. (How many great directors Marathi has produced anyway?)

He still gave memorable performances in movies like पिंजरा (Pinjara), सोंगाड्या (Songadya), थापाड्या (Thapadya), सामना (Samana), सिंहासन (Simhasan), लक्ष्मी (Laxmi).

My favourite is चोरीचा मामला (Choricha Mamala), brilliantly acted by Phule in the company of another brilliant but under appreciated actor: ललिता पवार (Lalita Pawar).

He always had something interesting to say. I wish he wrote.

He was an atheist like तुकाराम Tukaram: "आहे ऐसा देव वदवावी वाणी । नाही ऐसा मनीं अनुभवावा ।"

कमलाकर सारंग Kamlakar Sarang, talented director of Sakharam Binder, has written passionately about Phule in his autobiographical book बाइंडरचे दिवस (baaindarache diwas),1984.