On the occasion of the first death anniversary of film-maker Mani Kaul, the Films Division of India is organizing a screening of his films in Delhi and Mumbai. The programme, on Friday in Delhi and over Friday-Saturday in Mumbai, comprises both documentaries and feature films, including the films he made for Films Division.
And in what should come as a pleasant surprise to cineastes, the films will be screened in the 35mm format. A set of three DVDs containing the nine films Kaul directed for Films Division, priced at a modest Rs 250, may be purchased at the venues.
The programme for Delhi, scheduled for 6 July, comprises the documentariesSiddheshwari (1989), Dhrupad (1982) and Arrival (1979). Siddheshwari, which won a National Film Award in 1989, melds the director’s lifelong love for music with the poetic, a hallmark of any Kaul film. Celebrated thumri singer Siddheshwari Devi’s artistic vision and yearning find expression within Kaul’s carefully constructed cinematic frames, the film eventually transforming into an abstract biographical exercise that tries to be representative of the visions of the two artists involved.
Tribute: The late film-maker Mani Kaul. Photo by Hindustan Times
Dhrupad, as the name suggests, explores the intricacies of this Hindustani classical vocal tradition, whereas the ceaseless journeying of man in his struggle to work and survive in a world growing more remote by the day is the subject of Arrival.
A personal vision characterized by an aesthetic formalism that tries to fathom the depths of man’s being underscores Kaul’s cinema. This might explain why he often turned to the works of writers Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mohan Rakesh and Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh for adaptations. The difficulty a viewer encounters when he watches a Mani Kaul film for the first time can perhaps be attributed to this rigorous formalism.
The Delhi programme also includes a session with Gattoo and Rita, Kaul’s sisters, whose talks will give a more intimate portrait of the man behind the films. Other close associates of Kaul, including TV personality Gurpal Singh, will also be present. The two-day Mumbai programme will feature 13 films. It will begin with a keynote by poet and writer Udayan Vajpeyi and havefilm-maker Sharmistha Mohanty and musician Ustad Bahauddin Dagar sharing their experiences of working with Kaul.
6 July, 3.30-8pm. Films Division Auditorium, Mahadev Road, New Delhi.
6-7 July, 11am-6.30pm. RR-III Theatre, Films Division, 24, Peddar Road, Mumbai.
For the complete schedule, visit http://www.filmsdivision.org/FDFootage.php Entry is free.