Ambition handicapped by laziness and inertia (So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years – part 5)

4. Ambition handicapped by laziness and inertia

” I don’t do anything with my life except romanticize and decay with indecision.” 

(Allen Ginsberg)

francis-bacon-self-portrait-1969

Self Portrait by Francis Bacon (1969)

You’d think that after making obsessive efforts (which I excel in), to trawl the internet in order to track down two favourite Indian filmmakers in their secluded office hideaways in suburban Mumbai, asking one of them if I could assist them on set – and then actually getting a positive response –  that I’d be really serious about learning filmmaking.

Nope. 2007 was yet another year that passed away. Only this time I could brag about my feeble attempt at how close I got to the magic of real-world filmmaking, and then lament about how my (already booked) flight next day meant that I could not have stayed and made something of it. Continue reading

Advertisements

The burden of dreams (So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years – part 4)

3. The burden of dreams

Sisyphus

Sisyphus by Titian (1549)

Having come from a completely non-creative, working class background, understandably, my folks were not equipped to recognise, encourage or direct my creativity – I even wonder in their defence – if it even manifested itself during my adolescent years. They, were simply the products of all their influences and experiences, and just like the masses they understood schooling as a means to secure ‘respectable’ and ‘successful’ (financially rewarding) employment, that would perhaps also be a source of pride for them.

Continue reading

Races are for rats, not artists (So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years – part 3)

2. Races are for rats, not artists

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”

(Lily Tomlin)

Just until a few years ago, I found it very difficult to escape the burden of the rat race  taking place around me, and as much as I knew that it was an exploitative and selfish way of living, I just could not escape the feeling that with each passing year, I was falling behind everyone else.

In fact, when I had decided to extend my years in higher education, it had not only been a desperate attempt to appease the questions that were evolving in my mind, but it introduced me to a reservoir of extraordinary ideas such as the malice of capitalism, which I previously knew nothing about. These next few years of real education then also became an opportunity to delay my entrace into what I confirmed as being the oppressive 9-5 grind. Continue reading

A Steppenwolf cannot live amongst sheep (So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years – part 2)

1.  A Steppenwolf cannot live amongst sheep

“I am in truth the Steppenwolf that I often call myself; that beast astray that finds neither home nor joy nor nourishment in a world that is strange and incomprehensible to him.”

(Herman Hesse – Steppenwolf)

Wolf with Sheep

In this world that seems so indifferent and alien, the rebellious, creative, artistic Steppenwolf many a time craves to be around other kindred souls, so that there can be an exchange of alternative thoughts and ideas, which then nourishes the already afflicted soul, and provides some kind of mutual motivation to stay alive.

In the absence of this, and in reality, we end up preferring to live as loners. Continue reading

So…I shot my first film and why it took 15 years (part 1)

On Friday the 23rd and Sunday the 25th of March 2018, after about 6 months of writing and planning, and a lifetime of varied life experiences, conscious and subconscious inspirations, so many years of writing down and accumulating ideas in secret notepads, and then tiring people who had to listen to my crazy dreams – I finally directed my first short film.

Scene

Location 1

The days were long and arduous but exhilarating. I felt like a fish that had finally dived into the sea after spending a lifetime in a fish tank, imagining the sensations the sea would arouse.

This is such a life-defining moment that I am compelled to write about my journey… Continue reading

Why do we fear silence and solitude?

Eric Lacombe – The Weight of Silence

“We come from a generation of people who need their TV or stereo playing all the time. These people so scared of silence. These soundaholics, these quietophobics.”

(Chuck Paluhniak)

“My solitude does not depend on the presence or the absence of people, on the contrary, I hate who steals my solititude without in exchange offering me true company.”

(Friedrich Nietzsche)

I’ve often wondered why so many of us are afraid of silence and solitude?

Is it because we have been surrounded by artificial types of noise from such a young age, that we now crave its presence at every moment in our adult lives?

Or is it that people simply fear sitting on their own, with themselves. And, that any type of noise – even it is of little substance and value – gives them a temporary, superficial feeling of company.

Maybe the noise provides a distraction and a protective barrier, without which many would begin to listen to their inner voices, be confronted with uncomfortable truths about themselves, and actually begin to grow as contemplative beings?

How do people get to the stage where their own company is not adequate enough for themselves? So much so that they would rather sit and consume the sound of anyone or anything but themselves. What a scary thought that is – to be so bored, stifled, petrified of one’s own Self, that you would so cheaply dispense your presence to anything.

Silence and solitude is beautiful, and I am captivated by the company of my Self. The silence grants me precious moments where the pointless noise is blocked out. I have been able to ponder, listen patiently to the questions of my own soul, to talk to it, to ask questions of it. I have discovered dark truths about myself and about the world around me, which for so long had remained hidden beneath all the noise.

It is then in this silence and solitude that I have been able to blend my questions, my truths, my memories, my dreams and began to create something.

I understand that noise and empty company is the enemy of any creative process. And this is perhaps why the human being child, intrinsically imaginative and creative is slowly reduced to an unimaginative, uncreative, unoriginal entity. The world is filled mostly with these quietophobics. They hate silence. Addicted and enslaved to the noise, they crave its presence at every moment of their life, even if it of no real worth to their existence.

So I ask you quietophobics, soundaholics, slaves to the pings of your phones and gadgets, bewitched by the chatter on your TV, those who dread to sit for a moment alone, strangers to the voices of your own soul, to leave us in peace with our silence, so that we may listen to the precious sounds contained within it that end up being swallowed by your noise.

As I finish writing these last sentences, let me listen:

To the slow movement of the hands of the clock, so that I am reminded of the impermanence of my life, and the urgency with which I should pursue my dreams, as time continues to slip through my fingers the harder I try to hold onto it…

 

 

Abbas Kiarostami: The Cineaste, The Philosopher

“If you look at the four seasons, each season brings fruit. In summer, there’s fruit, in autumn, too. Winter brings different fruit and spring, too. No mother can fill her fridge with such a variety of fruit for her children. No mother can do as much for her children as God does for His creatures.

You want to refuse all that?
You want to give it all up?

You want to give up the taste of cherries?”

(Mr Bagheri in Taste of Cherry)

Anything I can possibly write praising the late, great poet of cinema Abbas Kiarostami will be an epic disappointment. One, because I lack the finesse to write well, and secondly because the art that this grand filmmaker and artistic polymath has left us behind is beyond the limitations of words, it’s beauty is simply inexpressible.

Although, I had only seen ‘Taste of Cherry’ (quite a few years ago) and ‘Close-up’ (last February), prior to his untimely passing, I was so moved by just these two films that I felt compelled to say something – but I just didn’t know how or what. Continue reading