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

Do we forget our memories, if we have no one to tell them to?

‘Life is strange… I think we forget things if we have no one to tell them to…’

(The Lunchbox)

A Failed Memory by David Szauder

A Failed Memory by David Szauder

After months of waiting and reading about The Lunchbox (Ritesh Batra), I was lucky enough to watch it last year in a local art house cinema.  It turned out to be a beautiful meditation about love, longing and loneliness that ended up leaving me close to tears.  I felt that Irrfan Khan (Saajan Fernandes in the film) had once again stolen the show with his naturalistic performance, breathtaking screen presence, and the sheer intensity of his eyes. Yes, I do have a major man crush on him.

But truth be told, most of the praise for this masterpiece should go to Ritesh Batra – the writer and director.  In June this year, when I decided to read the screenplay, I ended up teary eyed once again. I realised then, that it was the dialogues of the film that were actually so powerful. They appeared to be simple and minimalist, but contained so much within them.  Continue reading

May I propose a Herzog dictum? Those who read own the world, and those who watch television lose it.

When legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog was asked about any advice that he could share with aspiring young filmmakers, his response – in his trademark thick Bavarian accent was along the lines of:

“Read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read…”

There was no mention about the viewing of films. Naturally, this was not surprising for a man who did not encounter the television till his late teens, and devoted most of his years of youth traversing borders by foot, gaining more than a lifetime of memorable experiences. He then went onto independently write, direct and produce the most original films ever made, in the most inhospitable environments known to man.

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20 years on – Remembering Massimo Troisi…the sweetest postman that ever lived

Embrace the poetic nature of existence, and allow it to guide us on the unpredictable journey of life and love.

2014… 2014…why is this year of ANY relevance? Then it struck me. It was the 4 that stood out. 2014 marked 20 years after the release of one of the most romantic and melancholic films ever made – Il Postino, and even more importantly, 20 years after the untimely death of its star – Massimo Troisi.

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The Paparazzi Circus

paparazzi

There’s no shortage of actors, celebrities and socialites who love to bask in the flashing lights of the paparazzi camera. Many strategically turn up to events just so that their faces and designer dresses can make it to the pages of glossy celebrity magazines and entertainment gossip channels. Its all part and parcel of the fame game, and meeting the growing demands of the celebrity obsessed culture.

Yet, many artists hate it. There are filmmakers out there, who despite appreciating and embracing the selection and promotion of their film to a wider global audience, still despise the pretentious aspects of many film festivals and award ceremonies. Continue reading

The Youthful Dame of Indian Cinema – Zohra Sehgal (27 April 1912 – 10 July 2014)

 

“I don’t understand the hullabaloo about inner beauty. What actually brings out your beauty is the radiance of being content and you can only be content when you are employed in something you love”

(Zohra Sehgal)

Aishwariya Rai? Madhuri Dixit? You must be joking – I’m talking about the REAL dame of Indian cinema. Someone, who had more melodrama in her life than a 50’s tragedy queen. And if that’s not enough, she also was the owner of the cheekiest, yet sweetest smile to have graced the silver screen.

The one and only, Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan, better known by her screen name, Zohra Sehgal. Continue reading