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."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gene Hackman, Hollywood's Balraj Sahni, turns 80 today

In last several weeks, I finished reading three memorable books:

1. "Stalingrad" by Antony Beevor
2. "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy
3. "Palkhi" (पालखी) by D B Mokashi (दि. बा. मोकाशी)

If I have to choose the most interesting character from each of them, they would be Friedrich Paulus, the Father and Mokashi respectively.

And if I were to make feature films based on these books, to play all those- seemingly disparate- roles, I would choose Gene Hackman or Balraj Sahni.

These two gentleman make me watch their film- on second viewing because I am simply awestruck first time- the way I would read good poetry: I want to dissect every word, I want to pause, I want to go back, I want to focus on what they do with their whole body....

In their hands, cinema as an art scales the heights reached by written word and music.

Cinema is primarily a director's medium but there are always exceptions.

Hackman has dabbled in writing. According to Wikipedia "Sahni was a gifted writer, his early writings were in English, though later in life he switched to Punjabi, and became a writer of repute in Punjabi literature."

I did not need Wiki info because Sahni's worth was proven when he wrote dialogues, screenplay and story of my favourite Hindi film Baazi(1951).

Hackman is a child of a broken home while Sahni had to suffer early death of his beloved daughter after her marriage.

Mr. Sahni never turned even 60.

p.s.

Soumitra Chatterjee, when asked "You have been a model to more than two generations of aspiring actors. Who has been your model?":

"One person who really inspired me was Balraj Sahani. I think he is the best cinema actor that India has ever seen. He could carry on a big role, a hero's role with the nuances of a character actor."

(Frontline, May 4 2012)