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Karnad, Bendre and Kuleshov...

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Girish Karnad made his documentary film 'D R Bendre' (Da. Ra. Bendre) in the year 1972, fifty years after Robert Flaherty made one of the first long documentary narratives in USA called 'Nanook of the North'. Flaherty's silent film had, over an entire season, captured the life of Nanook and his family in the hostile terrain of the arctic. The film claimed to be anthropological in nature, shows us the 'reality' of the Eskimo community. But it is obvious that events shown in the film were staged, not by using professional actors but by deploying 'real' life characters and 'real' locations.
Forty three years before Karnad made 'D R Bendre', Dziga Vertov filmed 'The Man with the Movie Camera' in the erstwhile Soviet Union, portraying a day in the life of a city. This silent film is a representative of what is called the 'Kino-Pravada' group of films made by Dziga Vertov and his associates. In Russia 'Kino' means …

In the realm of 'WILL' and 'SHOULD'.

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The Draft National Policy of 2019 on Education was released by the Government of India on the 31st of March 2019, a day after the election results were announced. Here is a montage of a few paragraphs nested under a  subsection of titled 'Education in the local language/mother tongue; multilingualism and the power of language' - and some reflections on them.
Page 81 of the Draft Education policy echo these words, "Children learn languages extremely quickly when immersed early, and multilingual children in studies around the world have also been found to learn faster and be placed better later in life than those who are unilingual....... A multilingual India is better educated and also better nationally integrated.... ''.
These words embody the noble intentions of the policy which clearly asserts that the exposure to multi languages early in life would be beneficial to the individual as well as the nation. Catch them young - the phrase sounds good. Wait, hold your …

I would be glad to be proved wrong...

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The success of anything would probably be reflected on how consistent it has been. Judging by this standard, The National Short Film Festival (NSFF), an event organized by the Department of Media and Communication Studies (DMCS) of the Savitribai Phule University in Pune is a highly flourishing film festival, as they have been holding it for nearly eight consecutive years now. The film festival showcases films that are below thirty minutes in length - fiction and nonfiction & student or otherwise - and awards nominal cash prizes in about ten categories. Although the department head Dr Madhavi Reddy is the inspiring force behind the festival, all the planning and execution work is done by her students to whom she has delegated responsibilities.
Going by the films that were screened in the film festival, it seems that the film festival over the years has given a much needed fillip to the ever thriving short film making scene in nontraditional centers in Maharashtra, especially in r…

The Touch of Orson Welles.

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The first thing that strikes you with the mention of the 1958 movie 'Touch of Evil' authored by Orson Welles are the magnificent long takes that the film is adorned with. In simple words, long takes are those shots where the camera is not switched off for a long time. Legendary among the long takes in the 'Touch of Evil' is the one that comes in the very beginning of the film - in fact in the very first shot of the film that runs for about three and a quarter minutes. This write up is in appreciation of the cinematic genius of that particular shot. Let us first watch the shot.


This shot, as you have seen, chronicles the immediate moments before a bomb gets blasted. The location is supposed to be the border towns of two countries - America and Mexico. The set used in the film for this particular shot is about three to four blocks of the town on the Mexican side and a few yards in the American side. Most roads in the Mexican town lead to the border check point that has …

The Short Fictional Journey - Part 3

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(My foray into the short fiction format)

Coming to think of it, even a shot thirty second advertisement film is a short fiction film. A not so handsome guy wears a cream and the girl falls for him - this could be the one liner of the story of an advertisement film on a fairness cream. Not that yours truly did not dip his hands into such versions of the short fiction film. An advertisement film on a bindi, a hair shampoo and a greeting card were some attempts that I had done in the initial days of my career in this format. The only 'non-neoliberal' solace that I have right now is that the companies that manufactured these products were not large multinational corporations - they were run by small entrepreneurs.
In 2008, Sameer Mahajan the cameraman of my first fiction feature movie 'Suddha' (The Cleansing Rites) gave me a call saying that he was facilitating the making of a short promotional film that will act as an eye opener for the World Military Games that was to be …