The many rhythms of the road and different journeys, endless and interrupted, lead to different reveries, different meditations and different communions between the self and the world. Inside, a vehicle is a silent enclosure, a bubble of your own keeping you in the world, yet shielding you from it. It is both home and away, showing you a different self, at odds with the relationships and identities you essay in other places and times. The road becomes a life and Life.
Seen from outside, these many criss-crossing bubbles become a scurry of lives seemingly running amok, except for occasional moments of coincidental harmony. Cars gone crazy, just like people. On their own trip, just like the people driving them. Not the ordered traffic of a uniform society.
The films of this program - Pramod Pati’s Trip, Sherna Dastur’s Manjuben Truckdriver and Ruchir Joshi’s And A Mercedes for Ashish - are about all these different songs of the road; about people and cars and the rhythms of these journeys altering our experience of time, space and through this, our sense of our selves. The films themselves abstract from these rhythms of traffic and journeys three very individual stylistic pieces, exemplifying how the best of the Indian independent documentary, has always searched for ways to speak of contemporary Indian life, to capture its textures and layers, quite outside the conventional formats of documentary.
This programme is curated and will be hosted by documentary film maker Paromita Vohra.
ABOUT THE FILMS
Pramod Pati, B/W, 35mm, 4 min, 1970
Day lapses into night, emptiness into frenzy and then rest again. The city wakes up, never really having slept. A time-lapse experimental film that chronicles Bombay’s breathless pace, its endless race of trains, cars and shadows.
Director – Pramod Pati
Camera – B. V. Dhawale
Editing – U. H. Rao
Music – Vijay Raghav Rao
Sound – S. D. Patil
Producer – Films Division
A MERCEDES FOR ASHISH /AUR ASHISH KE LIYE EK MERCEDES
Ruchir Joshi, Digital Video, 31 min, 2006
The cruel city and its ruthless traffic run down love and other such delusions.
In `A Mercedes for Ashish’, an unseen man waits for his equally invisible lover to arrive from the other end of the vast city. The sound of her auto-riksha stopping in the lane below sets off a reverie about their relationship and the context in which their loves barely manages to survive – that of the huge and heartless urban machine. As the graph of the love affair opens out in the maze of the metropolis burning under a relentless summer, cars, traffic, city roads, advertisements and shopping malls, all become metaphors for impossible desire and the rarely-fulfilled hunger for human connection.
A Video by – Ruchir Joshi
Camera – Ranjan Palit
Sound – Ashish Mahajan
Editing – Sanjiv Shah
Voice – Swaroopa Ghosh
Music – Rahul Ram
Producer – PSBT
Sherna Dastur, 52 min, Digital Video
Manjuben inhabits a male world. She owns and drives a truck. Manjuben has broken the gender stereo-types which are part of the social landscape she inhabits. She has created an identity for herself against social, cultural and economic norms, and yet commands respect from her peers. This identity is deliberately ‘male’, that of a macho trucker, drawn from several popular notions of maleness. She dresses like a man, goes to the barber, gets herself photographed posing in the manner of popular media idols, and blends totally into the very masculine world of truckers.
Yet, Manju defies simple categorization. Though she lives an emancipated life compared to the other women in her society, she seems to share most its patriarchal values. Thus, in her own house, while she herself eats before the men folk, the other women always eat last. Manjuben is no crusader.
She is a small, though successful entrepreneur, efficient and well acquainted with the tricks of her trade. Underlying all the bravado lies the simple knowledge that if she hadn’t had monetary success in her business, she would never have been allowed to live the life she does as a respected member of society.
A film about freedom, about identity, about desires.
Director – Sherna Dastur
Camera – K.U. Mohanan
Sound Recording and Sound Design – Madhu Apsara
Editing – Lalitha Krishna
Producer – Sehjo Singh
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
PRAMOD PATI (1932-1975) was an experimental filmmaker, who worked extensively with animation technicques to create a large poetic oeuvre while working as Film Officer for the Odihsa government and the head of Films Division’s animation unit, through the 1950s and 2960s. He studied animation at FAMU, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, under Jifi Brdecka, Edward Hoffman and Jiri Trnka. Among his most famous films are Explorer, Klaxplosion, Abid, Perspectives and Trip.
RUCHIR JOSHI is a film-maker and writer who lives in Kolkata. Joshi has made films which blur the boundaries between documentary, personal essay and quasi-fiction. Among his films are, Eleven Miles, a feature-length, `anti-ethnographic’ exploration of the Baul folk-traditions of Bengal, Memories of Milk City, a short poetic film on Ahmedabad, and Tales from Planet Kolkata, a satirical essay-film on the way the media percieves the city of Calcutta. Joshi’s first novel, The Last Jet-engine Laugh, was published in India and in the UK in 2001, and he is now working on his second book.
SHERNA DASTUR is a graduate of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, now living and working in New Delhi. She has made documentaries, including Safdar Hashmi (2000), Rah Bahari (Those Outside the Path) (1997) and Jungle Bolta Hai (Voices of the Jungle) (1994). She is also famous as a designer of books including, Amar Kanwar’s The Torn First Pages and Majlis’s Project Cinema City as well as several books for children and political art books.
Date and time:
31st May 2014, 4 pm
RR 2 Theatre
Stage 2 Building