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."

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shravan! Three Swings

Today July 31 2011 is the first day of Shravan of Shaka year 1933 (श्रावण , शके १९३३). Shravan, the month of swings (झोका ) and mother's home (माहेर)!

"Suno Sajana Papihe Ne" from director Raghunath Jalani's "Aaye Din Bahaar Ke" (1966), composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and sung by Lata Mangeshkar, is one of the best songs I have heard.

I never tire of listening to it. Although I am already fifty Shravans old, it creates excitement for the fifty-first!

Towards the end of the song there is a sequence on a swing.

"baaghon men pad gaye hain, saawan ke mast jhule"

Now watch another sequence on a swing from Satyajit Ray's "Charulata", 1964

Notice how, towards the end, camera rides with Madhabi Mukherjee (Charulata) looking at Soumitra Chatterjee (Amal).

I was stunned when I first noticed it.

Normally, for me, a good cinema almost always loses to a good book except The Godfather. But this sequence brings out the power of the cinema.

If a writer were to describe Charulata's confusion, her dilemma about her feelings towards cousin-in-law Amal, it would take more effort and time- even for Tagore or Tolstoy- than what Mr. Ray accomlishes so elegantly by that rocking camera.

And don't we all know how different the world looks from a swing?

Once I saw 'Charulata', I always thought what a disappointment 'Aaye Din Bahaar Ke' scene was. The song is divine but the director's treatment is so pedestrian.

Mr. Jalani could have learnt a lot just watching 'Charulata' which was released almost 2 years earlier than his own film.

And finally a swing on which I wish I sat one day...

"The Swing" Artist: Francisco Goya, Completion year: 1779