Thursday, August 30, 2007

kino kandivali

thursday is rather late in the day to do a post about last sunday- but its been that kind of a week...

so sunday began with the three of us trooping to a school in kandivali west. and there was amrit in his white shirt , waiting at the gate. amrit ran screen unit for almost two decades. and screen unit was where george and i got introduced to film societies and world cinema, when we were in college. and at every screening, amrit would be there in his crisp full sleeved white shirt. we would get the screen unit letters in the mail- they began, swajan..... and held forth on films, filmmakers, film movements- my first text book introduction to the world of cinema. i was hooked- and how...

and there he was, with his new experiment, kino kandivali. i asked him if he always wore the full sleeved shirt at screenings - he smiled and said you have great observation. what do i tell him about the time i would go to the screen unit screenings- george and i would drink in every every detail- in the films and outside... the madcaps of the city who lingered outside the screenings discussing the films threadbare- we drunk it all, and at some point joined in...

and here we were... all excited to see the beautiful space, a large auditorium, wonderfully set up.... and at ten on a sunday morning people began trooping in... before the first film began there were almost a hundred people. sanah was welcomed as the youngest member at kino kandivali... and the films began.

the excitement i feel when i see a new screening space open must sound crazy to most...but the sheer thrill of being able to view films that dont fall within the commercial distribution network, films that are not tailor made to appeal, films that a group view collectively (i really find it hard to view films on my laptop/personal DVD player...it makes no sense to me)...

this post is not about the films we saw...thats another post...but about the fact that the police dropped in by evening, disrupted the mood and the spirit of the day... and that was that...and we remained strangely non confrontationist, accepting that we are in a defensive position of showing films without censor certificates... so what do these films without censor certificates do to an invited audience? incite them to violence, disrupt the law and order? apparently thats the fear...

so film societies are now criminalised spaces. it can take just one email. and because togadia and gang are real and not some blasted film show, no email, no complaint hold water against them...so what do we do , become street fighters and be ready for guerilla tactics...screen and run or court arrest...or submit our films to the censor board? and after the censor certificate the police can still clamp down because they think people could get agitated... and what about parzania, fanaa? it did not even need the police- just a threat from a political party was good enough...

i have the right to let my life get turned upside down by a film- hamara shahar did that for me in college, and a host of films after that...thats the most a film can do- turn your life upside down...if you let it...thats what a film/ a book/ a lecture/a performance can do...the state has no bloody right to intervene in that... if togadia and gang can spill their vitriol then let my madcaps spin my ( and others') head around!


note: sanah was pretty happy through the day -we took her out for a breather in the afternoon, she sat through khayal darpan because of the music - the rest of the time she had her cheeselings and juice, scribbled with her crayons( these makeshift auditoriums can never get that darkened hall effect right!), lolled around on the gaddis where we sat... but when we sat behind the cops she went beserk- scraping her plastic chair right under their ears -and going insane with the most screechy plastic bag ever... chalo atleast she knows when to become a pest!

12 comments:

anja said...

hey sur, good you're back..I LOVE the new look of the blog..beautiful...Now there are pics of all the main things your blog is about..Cinema, the city and Sanah. Your post was lovely as usual, I feel like I have direct connection to indie film in bombay thru you..thanks for all your posts. Believe me I do understand your passion for cinema. For me it started in SCM with those thursday screenings of reels from FTII...aah I miss those days...So what's to become of Kino Kandivali?

Space Bar said...

Sur, why did the cops come? And what did y'all do?

This is really gettin gto be concerted, large-scale intimidation everywhere.

dipali said...

Where does one's right to freedom of expression really stand? I do remember my son going to Orissa (I think it was Puri) for the Bring Your Own Film Festival a few years ago. It was apparently an amazing experience, no harassment whatsoever. I guess the entire scenario is far more politicized in and around Mumbai and Gujarat. On what note did the screening end, vis-a-vis the cops?

SUR NOTES said...

anja, space bar- just so that kino kandivali survives and shows films one sunday of the month - the organisers and the audience played along in a totally non confrontationist way- it was the first screening in this space...so a screening was disrupted- i cannot describe what a violent act it is- stopping a screening- and then walking off!

dipali- BYOFF is lovely- havent been there but all my films have been screened there- that spirit of an independent festival, with independent films has to be cherished- or then all that will remain are yash raj films in multiplex cinemas!ps are you in cal? will let you know about my screening there.

dipali said...

Yes, I'm in Cal- would love to see you, Sanah and your film. You can mail me the details at
dipali.taneja@gmail.com

Poppins said...

Not a comment on your post itself but on your blog. I like the new look !

Gauri said...

I like the new look too. :-)

And what was with the police at the screening ? God - what exactly is their problem ?

choxbox said...

hi surabhi.

*delurking*

wow. you lead a very interesting life!

Anarchytect said...

hey sur
sounds annoying as hell.
hope kino kandivili survives this.
i will make sure to come the next time.

Banno said...

Hey, where are the kino kandivali screenings happening? And what sunday of the month? and how does one subscribe?

karmickids said...

Good to see you back, and lovely pics of Delhi and brat and sana... I agree completely, what anyone does with an invited audience is no one's business. It is tough being an indie film maker in India, but I guess your passion for film triumphs... would like to be part of kino kandivili...is it possible???

SUR NOTES said...

will definitely email you guys about the next screening -if and when it happens. the end of the day left such a bad taste that am not sure if the trustees of the school will support kino k! pity...