Posts Tagged ‘Ship of Theseus’

UPDATE – Since there was some confusion about what we really wanted to say in the post, well, i just changed the header and made it clear. That’s how we talk in Versova. (Earlier it had the header “Bereft Of Colours is weirdly similar to 1/3 Ship Of Theseus”)

We came across this short film called “Bereft Of Colours” and it looks suspiciously similar to one of the three stories of Ship Of Theseus. At least on the concept level. Have a look and let us know what you think. Do post your views in the comments section.

We are not exactly sure when the film was made. If anyone knows more about it, please do inform us in the comments section.

What’s the fun if a film doesn’t get its share of contrarian views? And with all honesty, not for the sake of it. So over to Aditya Sudarshan who ponders over the latest indie film which is the toast of the town.

SoT

(Contains plot information)

By now, Ship of Theseus is a phenomenon. From UK critics to Bollywood directors, from Dibakar Bannerjee to Karan Johar, it has been hailed as an absolute, once-in-a-blue-moon work of genius. That these opinions are honest, that the film genuinely spoke to people, is not being questioned here. The question I am asking is: Why? How? And what does this say about us- sociologically?

I say ‘sociologically’, because as art goes, I am going to argue that Ship of Theseus features a level of thought that can at best be termed ‘half-baked’, and a level of storytelling which is strictly average. And perhaps if either of these elements had been different- for better or worse- the flaws of the movie would have become indisputably clear. It’s easy to recognize that a film which has nothing to say and says it badly, is bad- take any example from mainstream Bollywood. It’s also easy to recognize ‘grand failures’- for example, Terrence Malik’s Tree of Life, grounded as it is in actually deep philosophy, shows up its failed story-telling. But deception arises when a movie has nothing particular to say and says it not too badly. In the case of SoT, this multiplication of mediocrity has passed as good- and then, wedded to the truly beautiful cinematography, has passed as genius.

Why is the thought in SoT mediocre? Because name-dropping is not the same as knowledge. Because being enamoured of philosophy is not the same as doing philosophy. In the history of human thought, the Grecian paradoxes, like Theseus’, and Zeno’s (who asked how a man could cross a room, when he must first cross half the room and before that half of the half and so on infinitely), have actually been tackled. Understanding what infinity really implies is a part of the answer. Getting to grips with ‘God’ is a part of the answer.

But I am getting ahead of myself. I am starting to engage seriously  with questions that SoT does not even seriously raise. And the key word here is seriously. If SoT had seriously put forth a vision of a Godless universe where karmic causality is the only truth (as in the lines from the monk’s chant, Naham Janami), of a world without boundaries where we are really not individuals but colonies, where there is no intrinsic right or wrong but only consequences to actions- had the movie had this power, then it would have made sense to plunge into such discussions.

The very fact that these discussions seem unwarranted and ‘too much’ here, is testimony to SoT’s half-heartedness. After all, enjoying a mantra is not the same as understanding its meaning. The mystery of free-will is not disposed off because a long-haired lawyer has read an anecdote about the behaviour of ants. Our moral sense of right and wrong is not shown to be illusory because an old woman with a broken leg has probably read ‘The Secret’.

What such scenes and dialogues do, is flatter viewers into believing they have engaged with deep and significant truths, when really they have merely gawked at them- from a very, very safe distance.

I have less to write about the story-telling, because as I said earlier, had it not been for their supposed philosophical weight, I doubt these stories would in any case have been so praised. Without doubt, the three stories in SoT all feature interesting, meaningful premises and strong performances. But the film fails to confront a single great crisis in any of them. All together, they are a bundle of beginnings. The story of the blind photographer reaches her crisis- and rests there. Why and how the monk’s faith alters, and what the alteration really means to him- is untold. And humour and stock cliches (the ‘fat sidekick’, the ‘hapless slum-dweller’) become means to escape engagement with the real moral realities of ‘do-gooding.’ When the grandmother says the line that closes the third story (prior to the epilogue)- ‘itna hi hota hai‘- she could well be talking about the whole movie. So you thought Ship of Theseus would really say something? Arre bhai- ‘itna hi hota hai‘.

I hope it will be noted here that I’m not heaping any insults whatsoever on this film. I don’t say it’s pretentious. I don’t say it’s dishonest. It is, in my opinion, almost touchingly honest- the way an adolescent enamoured of big ideas- and unequal to them- is touchingly honest. Unconsummated ideas, unconsummated stories, there are all the honest expressions of an over-awed and wonder-struck mind.

What is not ok, is for such an un-rigorous and adolescent piece of work (and ‘adolescent’ here, I emphasize, is not a pejorative, but a term of description), to pass as a mature masterpiece. This brings me to the question I started with and am also closing with, because I am going to think about it further myself. (And this is the only real food for thought SoT left me with). Why is this movie a phenomenon? Are we such suckers for beautiful cinematography? Surely not. Or are we so starved for any spiritual ideas in our lives whatsoever, that we can’t recognize cooked material from uncooked? I think perhaps this is close to the answer. Perhaps we have kept ourselves so desperately stranded from the big questions- the meaning of life, religion, morality, God- that even a child-made raft, passing by our desolation, can be hailed by us as our flag-ship.

(Aditya Sudarshan is the author of two novels, A Nice Quiet Holiday (Westland Books, 2009) and Show Me A Hero (Rupa and Co., 2011) and several plays, including The Green Room, winner of the Hindu Metroplus Playwright Award for 2011.)

Booked your tickets yet? Do it first. Then come back to this post. This isn’t the usual hyperbole. It’s really good and rare chicken soup for your soul. And so the film straight goes into our list of “Must Watch” films.

Our regular contributors Varun Grover, Svetlana Naudiyal, Mihir Desai and Sumit Purohit tells you what the film meant to them, why it spoke the way no other Indian film has done in a long time, and why you should not miss this one at any cost.

And as the norm goes with most of our posts, these are not formal reviews. Just ramblings. Why four? Well, we are going with the theme of of the film – three for three stories and one to connect it all. or something like that. Aha, call it cheap thrill and read on.

Ship MFC

Cinema of duality

by Varun Grover

I have been struggling with this scenario for some time now, this concept of duality. Not in a spiritual sense (that is still many years away I think) but in a very daily-life sense. Have been swinging between left and right ideologies, between Arundhati Roy and her detractors,  between hedonism of sab chaat lo/bator lo and nihilism of sab chootiyapa hai, between the urge to document every travel trip through photographs/ticket stubs  and the need to live in the moment making the concept of posterity sound like a well-manufactured fraud, and many other, similar conundrums.

Anand Gandhi picks up three such stories of duality, set in three different worlds, and binds them together through the philosophical paradox of Ship of Theseus. If that sounds heavy then yes, ambition-wise the film is this heavy. But the beauty is that the team has pulled-it off with great cinematic value in each frame and line of writing. It’s refreshing, beautiful, insightful, and as gripping as a well-made thriller.

The philosophical moorings never get in the way of entertainment or storytelling, the two core elements people safely assume missing from any film termed an ‘Indie’.  And that, I think, is the greatest success of Ship of Theseus. Here’s an Indie that appeals to the mind as well as the heart. We don’t need to love it out of some guilt for the poor filmmaker who sold his house and ate only vada-paav for 1008-days non-stop to fund the film. We don’t need to love it because it’s arbitrary and arty and we don’t get it but ‘Mint Lounge or Caravan are loving it so we must too’ pressure.  We can love it with all our understanding, ego, and guiltlessness intact, like we love any mainstream film.  It’s like health food that doesn’t taste like health food.

The 3 stories – a visually-impaired photographer about to get new eyes, an atheist monk and stand-up comic cum lawyer sparring on about the relative value of an animal’s (and human’s) life, and a man with a new kidney having doubts about the legality and ethics of the transplant – explore one genuine doubt each (माकूल शक़  as KK Raina said in Ek Ruka Hua Faisla) about existence and mortality.

The characters are talking a language rarely heard before on Indian cinema’s screens.  The language of loaded words and of a life lived in knowledge. Though I’ve met some people who found the language to be faux-intellectual and the 2nd story a bit too verbose.  I think it’ll come down to how invested in the basic conflict of the story you are. Do you want to know more about the layers of conflict at hand or are just happy seeing the surface and are now mumbling ‘Haan samajh gaye…ab aagey story bataao na!’ Like after watching a great film, I spend hours reading about it on the internet. Director’s interviews, googling ‘<film name> explained’, trivia, theories, hate it generated – everything.  Sometimes I know how much I liked the film only after realizing I have spent 2 days reading up on it. I think same theory works here – if you find the core debate interesting, you will enjoy the शास्त्रार्थ going on between the monk and stand-up comic. (And what is a stand-up comic if not a modern-day version of debate-loving, analyzing, theorizing monks we read about in stories from mythology, people who debate just for the heck of it. So in a way, 2nd story is a debate on morality between two monks/comics from two different time periods.)

If a film’s merit is in showing a new world with great authenticity and insight, then Ship of Theseus shows us three. And to top that, terrific performances, excellent background score, one brilliant song in Prakrit, and consistently sharp photography throughout made this most-awaited Indian film of the year for me absolutely worth the hype.

Ship Of Theseus

“You chose your journey long before you came upon this highway”

by Svetlana Naudiyal

I really don’t know what to say amidst the deluge of opinions and interviews and reviews. Social media is flooding with them and here I am, adding my own two bit to that. Will saying that I’ve seen it thrice already at different occasions and will happily (and surely) see it again, suffice?

Quite lazily and shamelessly, I am kind of reiterating something I wrote earlier this year for this very same blog. Primarily because, I think kisne padha hoga. And secondly, what I think about the film, it hasn’t changed a bit.  (Also, maybe now I can add some of those so-called spoilers.)

Ship of Theseus invents a language. Not just in terms of cinema, but in terms of thought. It compels you to go home and read. If not read, then at least think.  (At times when we spend our lives not thinking, you may discover that ‘thinking’ is a wonderful exercise). It takes you closer to your own self and yet far away from it, where almost unintentionally you find yourself objectively pondering over your own self and its relationship with the world around.

It is so evolved in thought and yet so accessible. Sophisticated, mature and nowhere in the remote vicinity of pretentiousness. And yet it is light like a feather, a pleasant watch replete with humour. (And in case I haven’t yet reiterated enough in indirect phrases, the film stems from life itself.)

The blind photographer’s search for meaning in being able to see, the monk’s dilemma and the stockbroker’s quest for purpose in his own life. You may like a story little less and another a little more, but it is the whole they construct that runs like a background score for you after you’ve seen the film.  In our Cinema, where do we see references to something like Unilateralis Cordyceps,  Charvak and Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster anyway? Or to introduce a blind photographer, to have a song in ‘Prakrit’, to choose Sweden (Sweden is rated to be one of the most fair and just social systems in the world – this little piece of info comes from the filmmaker, not my discovery. I just crosschecked a bit.)

I also love how the film resorts to traveling. (More of a personal connect, may be, for a firm believer of the idea that any meaning that can ever be found is during a journey). From wandering to a far off valley in Himachal to cave diving in Manipur, a journey into the infinite and open world within.

[May be next week, we could compile a post listing the brilliant moments of the film. There are many. The only one I would probably want to mention for now is Maitreya’s encounter with what seems like death. In each viewing, at that particular moment and in every reflection about that moment, I’ve found myself come to a standstill. Needless to mention, if a film can capture that particular feeling, that moment in all its freezing cold reality, one can imagine how close to life the film is.]

Having said that, I must also admit that I’ve wondered if I’m breathing too much meaning into the film for its (and my) own good. I’ve refuted my own thoughts, with reasons ranging from beauty in lack of perfection to the subjectivity of what we call perfect. I’ve oscillated between “if this is a very well done pop philosophy” to “if this could have been deeper, darker” or something else, something more. Whether it is too much on words or too little on silence? But then again, those questions are personal, subjective and could be irrelevant to someone else who might not or might appreciate the film in a very different way for very different reasons.

Here’s where I found a bit of my answer –

Quoting Anand

An early treatment scribble

I’ve made a conscious choice of dialogue over action in several scenes in the script. I felt a strong urge to revert the “show, don’t tell” thumb rule, to the extent that many scenes cut abruptly at their most dramatic high point, and then in the following scenes, the characters narrate, through casual conversation, their experience of the dramatic moment. I analysed this urge to distance myself from the heart of the action. I discovered that I find some human experiences too deep, intimate and emotionally stirring to try and capture on camera. Also the immediacy and the drama of the experience end up fogging the essence, which seems to come out more honestly in the objective after-experience reflection. When a character talks about a moment experienced in the previous scene, it is not intended as a guide for the audience, but rather as an experiential lens, through which the audience lives the moment twice – once through the speculation of the dramatic high point of the moment led towards by the author, which being never shown, is experienced in the imagination, and then, the moment redefined through a tinted world-view of the character.”

It is in being the narrow, delicate bridge between simplicity and complexity, the singularity and duality of the quest for meaning, that Ship of Theseus is poetry reinstating itself as cinema, or vice versa.

Will it change your life? Maybe not. Life changing events and experiencing deep meaningful literature or cinema, are known to be mutually exclusive. But the film is sure to rekindle a little hope and a little faith or maybe a little more.

(p.s. In the 100 years of Indian Cinema brouhaha all around, Ship of Theseus arrives as a perfect anti-tribute and thankfully so! Here’s to The New!)

Ship Of Theseus

Let It Sail

by Mihir Desai

I didn’t want Ship of Theseus to end. The philosophical depth and visual beauty put me in a mind space that movies don’t tend to these days. I didn’t want to come out of it, back to mediocrity where filmmakers take their audience for granted. SoT treats the audience as equal, it gives an opportunity to reflect and interact with the thoughts presented in the film. Anand Gandhi very carefully crafts a film that raises questions about identity, ethics and evolution. The three stories within the film come together in what could be the best closing shot of the year! The film doesn’t take the easy route of leaving things up to ‘audience interpretation,’ instead it gives its audience some food for thought, without being preachy.

Ship of Theseus is truly made with an independent spirit. This is an example of what DSLRs are capable of doing. The visuals will prove once again that for DIY and low budget filmmakers, DSLRs are still a worthy investment. Pankaj Kumar’s (Director of Photography) brave cinematic choices takes the core idea of Theseus’ paradox to a whole new level. Three different looks and specific choice of camera movements for each story adds a new dimension to the characters. Technically this is a perfect film.

I look forward to a second viewing of the film as it opens to public. We’ve always been cynical about audiences rejecting new kind of films. The evolution of Indian cinema is in its prime, it’s not the audience that needs to carry this forward, it’s us, the filmmaking community that shouldn’t shy away from taking such risks.

Ship Of Theseus2

Kyunki Gandhi Bhi Kabhi Soaps Likhta Tha

– by Sumit Purohit

It was a rainy morning of July 2011. The Enlighten Film Society’s Naya Cinema Festival was going to screen Aaranya Kaandam as the closing film. I had heard lot about it, so I went despite the rain and the morning. I had no idea then that I will get introduced to another very special film there. It was announced that post the film screening the excerpts from three upcoming films will be played. I decided to stay back. One of these three films was SHIP OF THESEUS. That was the first time I heard about it. Anand Gandhi was present there with his team. He spoke briefly about the film.  But the few minutes of visuals that were played on screen were enough to tell everyone in the theatre that they were witnessing something exceptional. It probably was a film that will change Indian Independent cinema forever.

Almost a year later, Ship of Theseus was screened at Mumbai International Film Festival and it went beyond all expectations. It was not only the best Independent film to come out of India; it was a film which could compete with the finest from around the world. It was a master class in filmmaking. It was technically superior to most Indian films and it explored the stories significant to our times.

To realise that Anand Gandhi is a genius you need not watch his films. You just need to listen him talk for five minutes. He can talk about most things under the sky with great expertise. It seems he is less of a filmmaker and more of a cross between a mad scientist and a philosopher. No wonder he calls his production house a lab and writes research papers too. May be he is the monk from his film, or may be he is the young man who keeps arguing with the monk. Actually, he could be both of them at the same time.

Ship Of Theseus in a way is reflection of what Anand has experienced and learnt over the years. Though what’s wonderful about the film is that it communicates all those ideas and beliefs simplistically yet beautifully when it could have easily become pretentious, preachy or gone all abstract. Ship of Theseus is not what we usually associate with Indie films that have been to film festivals. It’s entertaining, at times humorous and very accessible. It respects its audience, and is intelligent.

The three stories in the film are all set in present Bombay and yet they look like they could be worlds separated by time and space. It’s interesting to notice how Anand uses certain elements in his film. The 1st story is about a blind photographer. Some of the gadgets she uses are straight from science fiction as if the story was taking place in the near future. At the same time the background song with Prakrit lyrics in the 2nd story makes the soundscape feel ancient. It’s a story about a monk who is fighting a court case to ban animal testing in India. He seems to connect with the most unlikely person, a young lawyer who sports long curly hairs and shares Internet jokes with him. In the 3rd story a young stockbroker’s obsession forces him to travel to Stockholm, a place away from his comfort zone. This coming together of contrasting elements makes Ship Of Theseus such an intriguing cinema.

Recently I read that the three films Anand suggested that everyone should watch are – Du Levande (You, the Living), The Turin Horse and Underground. If you look closely, you might find that these films could have influenced Ship Of Theseus conceptually and technically (Gábor ifj. Erdélyi, the sound designer of SOT has also worked on The Turin Horse). SoT has lot of non-actors in the cast, similar to what Roy Andersson prefers. Then there is a scene in the film where a fat man gets stuck in a narrow alley. One can easily imagine it to be a scene from an Emir Kusturica film.

SoT is a great example of how a filmmaker uses his experiences – things he has seen, stories he has heard, films he has watched, books he has read, and gels them together into something new. And at times referring back to them amusingly in the film.  This is a good reason why Ship Of Theseus can be seen again – to search for such references, to find those connections and see how they have changed in this process. Isn’t it similar to the Ship of Theseus paradox?

You will not hear or read any negative criticism of Ship of Theseus, so let me try it (for the sake of an argument and for fun). Strictly speaking it’s not a feature film. I will consider it an anthology of three short films that are thematically connected. The three films are visually and stylistically distinctive.  It’s deliberate but then you can’t overlook the clear dissimilarity between the writing, the way actors approach their roles, the language used and the impact it creates.  But then, for a debut filmmaker this really is not a negative thing. It only shows how talented Anand and his team are and how capable they are at creating these different worlds. It would be really interesting to see what Anand does when he decides to make a feature length film that follows one storyline. What narrative techniques he will use? What cinematic style he will adapt? He is an exciting filmmaker to follow. The best way to start stalking him is by watching Ship Of Theseus.

(PS – If you still need more reason to watch the film and you are a TV soap fan, then you should know that at once upon a time Anand used to write Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahaani Ghar Ghar ki. Now, that should excite some of you.)

– And if these four writers have not been able to convince you so far, click here to read what Dibakar Banerjee has to say about it. Not everyone has the guts to say such good things about someone else’s film.

Ship Of Theseus

With UTV and Kiran Rao in the picture, Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Theseus is getting some much deserved attention. The film is scheduled to release on 19th July in Mumbai, NCR, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Pune. To get the film released in other parts of the country, one  can now VOTE for it. This kind of “Demand the film in your city” initiative is quite common in US and they have been able to release many films through it. Good to see the idea being tried here.

So if you are not from Mumbai, NCR, Kolkata, Bengaluru or Pune, this what you need to do watch SoT in your city – To submit a vote one needs to visit the ‘Ship Of Theseus’ Facebook page with or without logging in. And then go to ‘Vote For Your City’ tab and cast your vote. Cities that hit the 100% mark will see a guaranteed release.

The options include, but are not restricted to, Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Aurangabad, Baroda, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kochi, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Raipur, Rajkot and Surat. To choose any other Indian city, click on the ‘Others’ option and type out the name of your preferred location. Click ‘Submit’ to finalise your vote.

Click here to VOTE and DEMAND Ship Of Theseus in your city.

There’s only one reason why you should vote and demand the film – It’s easily one of the best films of the year. And you need to see it on big screen. Don’t get scared by it’s title if it seems pretentious to you. The film is accessible to anyone.

– To watch its trailer, and to read the synopsis, click here.

– Our recco post on the film is here, here and here.

Ship Of Theseus We have been hearing about the news since last few months. Finally, the official announcement is out. Kiran Rao loved the film and she is now releasing Anand Gandhi’s film Ship Of Theseus with the help of UTV.

This is a great initiative. Hopefully she will continue to release more such films. And we need more people like her because they can make it happen. Because making films have become easier but releasing them in theatres seems like an impossible task. Especially when there’s no alternative platform or venues for non-mainstream films. And when the focus is only money and opening weekend collection, nobody wants to think beyond that. A film like Ship Of Theseus deserves to be seen.

Here’s the official synopsis….

If the parts of a ship are replaced, bit-by-bit, is it still the same ship?

An unusual photographer, celebrated for her intuitive work, successfully captures the essence of her experience in her photography. However, she also struggles with insecurities over authorship in the context of larger questions about subjectivity and intent in art.

An erudite monk, who is an ideologue and practitioner of non-violence, and involved in animal rights activism, is forced to make a choice between death and medicine – medicine that is either derived from, or tested on animals. As death closes in, he re-questions all the ideas that he has always taken for granted.

A young stockbroker has a frictional relationship with his grandmother, whom he nurses in a hospital. When it is discovered that a neighbouring patient has had his kidney stolen, he starts out on a trail that leads him to a kidney tourism racket. Altruism and concern leads him to confront the recipient of the kidney, eventually making him discover how intricate morality could be.

Following the separate strands of their philosophical journeys, and their eventual convergence, Ship of Theseus explores questions of identity, justice, beauty, meaning and death.

And a new teaser trailer of the film

The cast and the credit list…

Director: Anand Gandhi

Language: English, Hindi, Arabic

Runtime: 139 minutes

Exec. Producer: Mitesh Shah, Ruchi Bhimani

Producer: Mukesh Shah

Production Co.: Recyclewala Films

Principal Cast: Neeraj Kabi, Sohum Shah, Aida Elkashef, Faraz Khan, Vinay Shukla, Amba Sanyal

Screenplay: Anand Gandhi

Cinematographer: Pankaj Kumar

Editor: Adesh Prasad, Sanyukta Kaza, Satchit Puranik, Reka Lemhenyi

Sound: Gábor Erdélyi, Tamás Székely

Music: Rohit Sharma, Naren Chandavarkar, Benedict Taylor

Prod. Designer: Rakesh Yadav, Pooja Shetty

Int. Sales Agent: Fortissimo Films

The film is a MUST WATCH. Here are the links to some of our previous posts where we have written about it

–  “2012 Rewind : Coming of age for desi indies – Miss Lovely and Ship Of Theseus” post is here

– A small recco post on the film in “2012 Rewind : What kind of bird are YOU?” post. Click here.

– A small review in MFF wrap post is here

Abhishek Kapoor’s new film Kai Po Che has released today. The reviews so far have been unanimously positive. But does it mean anything beyond that – The Big picture? Over to filmmaker Hansal Mehta who connects the dots.

Kai Po che

4 reasons for not watching the increasing number of films released every week –

  1. I am perennially broke
  2. I am lazy
  3. I need to work
  4. My wife is not in the mood
  5. I am hoping I get invited for a preview/premier.

The past few weeks have been different though. The spate of films released and due for release stared at me in the face because

  1. They featured friends in lead roles
  2. They were directed by friends
  3. They were produced by friends
  4. I was looking forward to the films
  5. I felt compelled to watch them

I am going to limit my post to the Hindi films I saw because in the case of foreign films:

  1. I feel inadequate commenting about commenting on them
  2. I did not feel like watching many of them
  3. I am waiting for uncensored DVDs of some of them
  4. I don’t get invited for previews of these films

In the past few years, most significantly 2012, I am seeing a pattern in films that are successful (relatively) and appreciated. A majority of them stand out for their choice of actors, their choice of subject, their non-formulaic narratives and a host of other similarly intellectually stimulating reasons.  One factor that has begun to increasingly stand out in these films is sheer audacity. The more I think about what drew me to watch the films, to like some of them, to dislike some of them and to find some of them memorable was the lack of apologetic film-making that has mostly led our films towards pathetic levels of mediocrity.

I’ve noticed that many film-makers no longer feel pressured to make the same formulaic nonsense with the same boring people over and over again. Many of the older directors also seem to realize the futility of formula and are trying hard to reinvent. Those who aren’t will soon be history.

Ever since I made Shahid, I’ve been asked over and over again about how the trend of biopics is on the increase. The media unfortunately reads trends very poorly and looks for convenient analysis. Trade pundits who have in the past thrived upon silly generalization are very shallow in their understanding of artistic/creative decisions taken by film-makers or in analyzing the success of films that don’t fall into their formulaic comfort zones. The truth is that book adaptations, biopics and stories inspired by true events are an indicator and not trends in themselves. We now have film-makers looking for newer stories to tell. We have film-makers looking for new ways to tell stories. We have film-makers who are fearless. We have film-makers who are not afraid of audacity.

Whether it is Talaash, Gangs of Wasseypur, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Vicky Donor, Special 26 or Kai Po Che, I notice a fearless streak in the directors and the team that has made these films possible. Even potboilers like Dabangg, or before that Wanted, or the recently released ABCD have displayed a certain audacious vision. Rockstar had the audacity to be deeply philosophical and sometimes mendering while pretending to have commercial trappings. A certain Anurag Kashyap whose films either got banned or termed as jinxed is now celebrated because of his delightfully indulgent Gangs of Wasseypur or his subversive take on Devdas. Sujoy Ghosh redeemed himself with the surprising Kahaani. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Pan Singh Tomar was commercially successful. English Vinglish marked the successful return of a Bollywood diva who churned out some of the most cringe-worthy films of my growing up years. The list could be exhaustive and I’m sure it will soon dominate successful box-office lists. On the other hand there has been a steady increase in films (Ship of Theseus, Miss Lovely, Peddlers etc.) that have found appreciative audiences in international film festivals and critics. These films have shown a fierce independence in their making while giving alternate Indian cinema a new lease of life and an unpretentious, fresh form of expression. They have been audacious in their abandonment of what we perceived as ‘art-house’ or ‘parallel’ cinema in India. They were unabashed in their treatment, style, narratives and expression. These and many other films that I have viewed over the past year and this year have challenged audiences, provoked critics and subverted formulaic convention with amazing audacity. Even more encouraging is the fact that producers, actors (including some stars) and trade have begun to embrace the audacious breed, backing them to the hilt.

So what is the point I’m trying to make? It’s simple. Audacity is in. Safe is not safe anymore. Take the second installment of Dabangg. It disappointed because it succumbed to ‘ingredientization’ and failed to live up to the fearless audacity of the first part. Films like ‘Zila Ghaziabad’  or ‘Jayantabhai Ki Love Story’ are passé. They will continue to get made. They will continue to remind us of everything that is unimaginative and about how we have allowed ourselves to be taken for granted all these years.

So here is my two bit gyaan. Whether you aim for the mainstream or the alternate space, make it audacious. Just making it big will soon cease to work – neither for the makers or the audience. Yes, we will have regular installments of successful franchises. We will have ridiculous remakes. We will have mindless, story-less films – but my guess is that all of them will work for their audacity and not for their adherence to convention.

Audacious will soon be safe. Safe is already dangerous. It could soon be suicidal.

Sam: [In the women’s dressing room] What kind of bird are you?
Sparrow: [Starting to point to the other actresses] I’m a sparrow, she’s a dove…
Sam: [Cutting her off] No. I said…
[Points to Suzy]
Sam: What kind of bird are YOU?
Suzy: I’m a raven.
what-kind-of-bird-are-you

I have stood in front of the mirror, pointed my index finger at my image, just like Sam points at Suzy in that delicious Wes Anderson film, and have asked the same question quite a number of time, using all kind of possible emotions. And whenever i think about the scene, it still makes me smile. Bit of Googling tells me that am not the only one who loves this dialogue so much. Though it’s quite difficult to dissect why such a simple line from the film has turned out to be one of my favourite quotes of the year and has stayed back with me for such a long time.

So i thought about doing a collaborative post on similar lines. Quickly mailed some of the friends/films buffs for a simple exercise –

1. Close your eyes

2. Think of all the films you have seen in 2012…released/unreleased/long/short/docu/anything

3. Think what has stayed back with you…impressed/touched/affected/blew

4. Write on it and tell us why.

And i didn’t tell anyone else what the other person was writing about. Got some very interesting responses on all kinds of films and i have put it all together in this collaborative post – 15 film buffs on 17 movies (memories) of the year. The post has turned out to be bit long but hopefully you will enjoy it. And it can also serve as a movie recco list if you haven’t seen the films.

@CilemsSnob

Joshua #TheActOfKilling

—–> Kushan Nandy on The Act of Killing

I saw this two and a half hour-plus documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2012 and was blown away. Long after the film got over, after Joshua Oppenheimer spoke about it, even much after, weeks later, the film haunted me. It did to me what Incendies had done to me a couple of years back. But much more.

Never before have I seen a film or documentary, where, during the process of film making, the characters go through a life changing process. They metamorphosize into better beings, and this becomes a part of the actual film.

For example, what would happen if someone video interviewed Modi, his political associates or even the people who were the actual executioners of the 2002 Gujarat massacres? And they all accepted their crimes and celebrated this with glee? But suddenly, one of them changed, understanding the repercussions of what he had done?

Anwar, from The Act of Killing, is a person I will never forget. He had butchered thousands. But it was this documentary, and the process of filming it, that showed him who he actually was. He can’t sleep anymore, he stutters, he throws up. He will never be the same again.

And after watching this film, I wont either.

SRK JTHJ1

—–> Varun Grover on Shah Rukh Khan/Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Setting: 7 degree centigrade. Fog. Railway station. A small town in North India where Shatabdi/Rajdhani trains don’t stop.

My fingers are numb and typing out each letter is like feeling the power of it. For some strange reason, the 1st image from Cinema of 2012 that comes to my mind is SRK’s bike rising above the horizon as AR Rahman’s strings go crazy in the background. The theme music of JTHJ (the one they used in promos) it is. Call it the power of music, and it can’t be anything else ‘cos I didn’t even bother to watch the film, or call it my latent romanticism.

My friends from Lucknow – who were there alongside me, fighting for tickets outside Anand cinema hall in 1997 when Dil To Paagal Hai released – watched JTHJ on 1st day in Lucknow and sent me an excited SMS telling me – “Don’t believe the reviews. It’s as good as any Yash Chopra – SRk film you’ve seen. The crowd at Novelty loved it.”

The crowd at Novelty. I was that crowd once. My life’s biggest joys came from being that crowd. Especially on being among the select few who had the matinee show ticket on the 1st day. (1st show was for loafers, matinee was for civilized middle class.)

For Dil Toh Paagal Hai, our friends’ group of 5 was split into 2. Three of us got the evening show, while two fortunate ones got the matinee show. They were clearly the winners – getting to see Maya and Rahul and a new-look Karishma before us. Also they’d get to tease us on their way out, may be telling a couple of spoilers too. So we tried our best to avoid them as their show got over and we were allowed in.

But as it turned out – the theatre owner had cut the film by 15 mins in the 1st and 2nd shows. Apparently he didn’t think the Karishma outrage scene by the river had any merit. But when he saw the audience going crazy with whatever they saw in 1st two shows, he added the cut footage back. And we, the losers till just a few hours ago, were the 1st bunch in Lucknow to watch the entire film.

This scene, Karishma blaming God for complications in love, is almost the crux of Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Though that doesn’t explain why that image of SRK is the 1st that comes to mind. My nostalgia does.

Paan Singh Tomar4

—–> Varun Grover on Paan Singh Tomar

Now inside the train. Cozy and warm. Time to think clearly.

I can’t be a cinema buff by just noting down SRK/ARR as the lasting memory of 2012. But of course there are more. Neeraj Kabi’s intellectual-saint from Ship of Theseus, Denis Lavant and Kylie Minogue singing the existential song of the year (Who Were/Are We) in a post-apocalyptic shopping mall, Sridevi’s eyes full of tears (sprinkled throughout EV), Pi’s uncle swimming in what appears to be sky, the big-screen film print grainy look on Naseer’s face as he looks in the mirror half-seduced, half-confused by Bhakti Barve’s reflection in JBDY (which re-released this year), the spaceship landing smoothly in waters next to a dense mountain in Cloud Atlas, the sad, spent face of Dimple Kapadia at Rajesh Khanna’s funeral (in contrast to a 21-year old Dimple asking Khanna which color sari she should wear for the wedding reception party in the excellent BBC docu resurrected this year due to once-superstar’s death), Gael Garcia Bernal walking away silently, amused and (maybe) depressed amidst the emotionally charged crowds of his nation in Pablo Lorrain’s excellent NO, the trailer of Nikhil Mahajan’s ‘Pune 52’ (though the film didn’t live up to the high expectations and made the trailer look like a red herring), Faisal Khan’s eyes as he lets his gun go crazy on Ramadhir Singh while singer-composer Sneha Khanwalkar screams ‘Teri kah ke loonga‘ in the background……. and I can go on and on.

But one image that will shake me for many more years, the one that is so depressing that I haven’t seen the film again even though it is, for me, one of the best films of the year – Paan Singh Tomar’s sadness at seeing his worst enemy Bhanwar Singh dead. The man who had forced Paan Singh to end his international sporting career to become a dacoit had died. And instead of being relieved, Paan Singh was left purpose-less. The cries of Paan Singh, telling Bhanwar Singh’s dead body that he will chase him in another world and get his answers still give me chills. Those lines are the best lines of the year for me, resonating so much with the cynicism and depression of our times, where one fine morning, without any notice, all good turns into hopeless, impossible bad by the apathy of the system and resident evil of vengeful human kind we are, making Paan Singh Tomar the film, a kind of socio-political version of unrequited love stories.

Talaash

—–> @Anand Kadam on Talaash

This year we saw a gamut of movies from the hilarious yet fresh Vicky Donor, violently poetic Gangs Of Wasseypur,  and a mystery with a pregnant femme fatale  – Kahaani . But the movie that has stayed with me, which still sneaks into my mind and cuddles me, is a strange one. I call it a strange choice since this movie isn’t a great one (to be honest), and i didn’t think of it much when i watched it. But the grief stricken Shekhawat and his wife refuse to leave me. Talaash is like “Rabbit hole” with more guilt. When you lose someone very close to you, really really close, his or her or its memories sticks to you like a parasite, sucking every notion of happiness from you. You become a robot going through your daily chores with only one thing playing inside your head – how things could/would have been different. And when a small ray of hope or redemption comes into your life, even if it defies common sense, you cling on to it, not for a closure which comes later (or does it really comes) but for confronting the loss and accepting life as it is.

This is Talaash for me, not the twist, not Kareena or Aamir Khan, or the underbelly of Mumbai. And as i had said it earlier – A movie is never about its twist and if it is, it’s not worth it.

Kumki

—–> @Vasan Bala on Kumki

This year, I guess, without much fuss some low budget sleeper hits happened down south. Sundarapandian, Pizza, Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom (a few pages missing in between). This year’s Paruthiveen-set-in-the-Jungles-with-an-Elephant marked the debut of Sivaji Ganeshan’s grandson, KUMKI! Breathtakingly shot. Directed by Prabhu Solomon, the guy who made Mynaa.

The film was earlier called “Komban” (Big Tusker). It’s about a mahavat and his “timid” Elephant Kumki, which is supposed to keep a wild elephant Komban from straying into the fields. The film is basically Kumki v/s Komban. It almost reads like a Pixar film, doesn’t it? BUT….Like any south RURAL “hit” this too has it’s rugged faced man with a toothy grin walking behind a shy girl “LOU STORY”, this one too has endless walks and shy glances and grins and predictably ends in a bloody tragic battle. An epic elephant battle! and it boils down to Computer Generated Blood and Dust (hmmm..ummmm). It’s a bona fide formula now, it’s a dream debut for any Star before he graduates into City “Criminal and Cop” roles, mouthing punch lines and beating up Telugu Villains. Loved the music though.

take-this-waltz04

—–> Jahan Bakshi on The Sarah Polley Double Bill : Take This Waltz & Stories We Tell

Sarah Polley delivered a double whammy this year with two diametrically different but intrinsically linked films. The first was Take This Waltz, her deeply sensual and feminine take on love, longing and those gaps in life that we try to fill in vain, and those questions about relationships that never have easy answers. Once you get over the affectedness: the overtly twee touches and some clunky dialogue at the start, Take This Waltz is in turns both superbly seductive and devastating. Michelle Williams once again, brilliantly owns her character and her mousy imperfection, and it’s clear that Margot could only spring from the mind of a filmmaker with a distinctive voice, and one who is a woman. And it contains two of the most exhilarating (musical) sequences I’ve seen at the movies this year.

In Stories We Tell, Sarah turns the camera on her own family with a brave, deeply felt documentary/personal detective story about her discovery of her real biological father, but more importantly, the meaning of family, secrets, memory and the very nature of storytelling. This must have been an impossibly hard and emotionally testing project to put together, but Polley pulls it off- life might be messy but Stories We Tell holds together very well as a rich document, revelatory in unexpected ways. Watch it when you can, and you’ll see where Take This Waltz comes from.

Shanghai-Movie-2012-Review

—–> Kartik Krishnan and Fatema Kagalwala on Shanghai

Kartik’s take

He gets to know that the system is rotten, that the investigation he was heading was flawed to start with from beginning, that beyond the scattered red herrings lay the actual ‘villain’, who incidentally is the same person who gave him the power & ‘support’ to start the investigation in the first place, that the ‘villain’ is the CM of the State.

So easy for any protagonist to become an Anna Hazare/Kejriwal in such a case, or to become a whistle blower and later face the inevitable martyrdom (ala the Satyendra Dubeys & Manjunath Shanmughams). What else can a cog in a wheel in such a scenario do? Pickup the gun like Eddie Dunford in Red Riding 1974 and blaze away? Become corrupt like Micheal Corleone or Ram Saran Pandey (Mihir Pandya has written an awesome article on Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar) ? Or run away into overexposed light like Vijay in Pyaasa? Should he accept defeat and get down to some other profession like learning Medicine (like KK Menon in HKA), or resign hopelessly like Vikas Pande in The New Delhi Times? Even Z didn’t have an answer.

He goes to the party and plays a ‘Prisoner’s Dillema‘ of sorts with his Paneer tikka-munching Boss and the other Powerful man. Eventually he somehow manages to ensure that the guilty get their comeuppance. But this ‘victory’ is hollow. As his Boss asks him “Yeh hai tumhari Justice?”, he gives a reply which was there in the promos but sadly cut out from the film – “Justice Ka Sapna Maine Chhod Diya Hai”.

And this was probably my moment of the year which is not there in the film, but there in my memory, for a long time!

Fatema’s take

The cutaway from Dr. Ahmadi’s murder to the item song. It was a stroke of brilliance. Not only technically, but as a comment on our conscience in itself. Physically it’s a jolt, meant to unsettle us and shake us up. We’ve just witnessed a murder we’ve seen hundreds of times before but what we expect to come next is NOT an item song. And so we sit up and take notice. Besides, there is the juxtapositioning of the two warring factions of the film itself, one (the ‘good’) killed like a dog on the street and the other (the ‘bad’) celebrating his decadent power in all its ugliness. And then there is that tenuous mirror to our own conscience – what’s our rtn to this cutaway? Are we glad we are back into an indulgent song-n-dance setting and away from boring Dr Ahmadi? Or gratified by our own lust? Or guilty about feeling so? Or disgusted to watch such sharp contrasts unfolding in front of us? Or do we feel the cut is an over-sighted mistake? That the director doesn’t know what he is doing? The answer to this is a huge part of our response to the film and to think AND achieve something like this is no less than genius.
Beasts of the Southern Wild - 6—–> Shripriya Mahesh on Beasts Of The Southern Wild

The movie of the year for me was Beasts of the Southern Wild. I saw it in Sundance in January 2012 at it’s premier. I knew very little about the movie going in because the filmmakers were careful about not even putting out a trailer before the premier.

It was instantly captivating. I love the world Benh Zeitlin creates. It is constantly surprising, always engaging. All the actors are local and that lends significant authenticity to the world (bigwig directors would do well to take note). It tackles such powerful themes, but all from the perspective of the little girl, Hushpuppy, played to perfection by the adorable Quevenzhané Wallis.

There are no long speeches about government control, environmental disasters or about the right to live freely in a manner you choose. No sermonizing. The visuals speak and the magical realism is very nicely done. The music (also composed by Zeitlin) and the the production design really elevate this movie.

And it’s a debut feature. It won the Camera d’Or and Sundance.

Since the film’s theatrical release, there has been a fair share of haters. But for me, it just worked. Eleven months later, I still think about it.

ScreenShotAlma
—–>Mihir Desai on Fjögur Píanó

There are times when I can’t put things in words, I feel the need to express and communicate in visuals. Visuals stick with me and this year one such visual experiment has been playing in my head for the longest time. Directed by Alma Har’el, the Sigur Rós music video, Fjögur Píanó.

Har’el, director of last year’s surreal documentary Bombay Beach creates this gorgeous portrait about the painful pleasures of love. The couple, addicted to each other only really ‘feel’ the pain when separated. The edit juxtaposes the bruises on the girl with the boy softly touching the butterfly. This image stuck with me and Alma Har’el’s quote sums it up so perfectly, “For me it’s about not knowing how to get out of something without causing pain to somebody else.” Without lyrics Alma Har’el has created this beautiful story which I feel was one of the best, cinematic experiences of the year. Due credit to Sigur Rós’ music that inspired Alma Har’el to create this world. Click here to watch the video if you still haven’t seen it.

Other Picks: Celluloid Man, Last Ride, Rampart, Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, Holy Motors, Your Sister’s Sister.

Supermen Of Malegaon

—–> Neeraj Ghaywan on Supermen Of Malegaon

At the surface it may be about the lives of people dreaming about film-making with empty stomachs and hearts full of passion, it could be about an accidental hero, about a world we have never seen but still seems so close. The director is never interested in milking the tragedy of the crew’s limitations, their poverty or the tragic loss of the lead character. Instead, she turns it all into a celebration of life, we smile along with the characters who are making the film, in a way we reflect upon our own personal constraints and learn to laugh at them. It is a comment on the Bollywood system of over-produced film-making, it is paying homage to films of the 80s/90s, it’s also a drawing lessons about how to keep going at it even when there is no hope, it is philosophical at times, it is laughing at itself too.

A film that is so simple in its structure and still speak at so many levels is remarkable. And above everything, it inspires you to take the plunge without thinking twice. When I saw the film, I wanted to get out of the hall and start shooting a film immediately. The biggest achievement of this film is that it goes beyond the confines of being a documentary and touches you more than a big budget fiction based feature.

 Koormavathara

—–> Ranjib Mazumder on Koormavatara and Makkhi

Be it a random blogger or a certified critic, everyone is Noah on internet and takes no time to float the boat of top ten lists. Like the middle-class father comparing his kids among themselves or with other families, we always manage to make a list of ten best films every year, irrespective of their debatable qualities. I am no exception.

However, when I was asked to contribute for this collaborative piece after shutting the eyelids, a bald man appeared in front of my eyes, riding a fly. So, here I am, writing (only because I have been threatened with sarcasm) on two of the most remarkable Indian films of 2012.

Koormavatara

It starts late at MFF 2012. I am almost certain that I would leave it midway because Hansal Mehta’s Shahid is right after it and almost everyone from my group is going for it. The film opens, Godse shoots Gandhi and my doubts evaporated in no time. This is the world of an old man, disinclined to show emotions and engrossed only in his mundane office work and his little grandson. A Gandhi lookalike, when he is approached to play Gandhi in a TV show, he vehemently opposes but gives in due to the greedy family tentacles. Gandhi, like the fourth passenger in Mumbai locals, slowly invades his life, brings him down to the level of helpless co-passengers. Like a master of swift attack, Girish Kasaravalli breaks down the middle-class system and releases the Gandhi in him, leaving him in the midst of incessant disintegration of his surroundings. Rajkumar Hirani’s Munnabhai MBBS was a joy to behold, but Lage Raho Munnabhi, despite a splendid screenplay, offended the adult in me, with its preachy attitude. Without making him God, Koormavatara makes Gandhi accessible showing the mighty repercussions it can have in a typical family in independent India. As far as breaking down the myth of Mahatma, this is the best we have seen so far.

Makkhi

With scenes dipped in liquid cheese, a boy constantly stalks a girl with trite expressions; Makkhi was loathsome in the first 20 minutes. I wanted that boy to just die. Thankfully he did thanks to the overdramatic villain, soon after I wished. Little shaky special effects took charge. And I witnessed the most inventive revenge drama this year. A fly killing a mighty man is simply an impossible idea! But the way this little soldier choreographs his action scenes in the concrete fort of the villain, you can’t help but root for an insect that you have always detested. The triumph of S S Rajamouli’s film lies in the sheer leap of faith. We are yet to have our Jaws, but this is the one that comes closest to the idea of a fantastically executed concept film.

Kahaani2

—–> Pratim D. Gupta on Kahaani

Parineeta did the same thing for me in 2005. Celebrate Calcutta! And how. It reminded me of the way Mira Nair shot Delhi in Monsoon Wedding and Taj Mahal in The Namesake, almost pausing the narrative to just soak in the sensuality of the space. You sexy! Also what Sujoy Ghosh did brilliantly was inculcate his love for cinema in the many myriad moments of the movie in a way that they never became copie conformes but rambunctious references that served those respective scenes just fine. From Satyajit Ray to Salim-Javed to Bryan Singer. And those eyes of Bidya Balan when she looks up in the twist-revealing scene before unleashing her real self. Eyes filled with hurt, vengeance and rage…Our own Beatrice Kiddo? Present please!

Ship Of Theseus

—–> Svetlana Naudiyal on Ship Of Theseus

I don’t see all films that release in the year (and I am kind of unabashedly arrogant about it; can’t spend moneys contributing to someone’s 100 crores or out of sympathies to so called indie/different films), so my opinion from the very beginning of it, is skewed. The indie film movement (or whatever there is of it) took a whole new leap with PVR Director’s Rare creating a platform for their release. And even though in my personal opinion, indie films are becoming the cinema equivalent of DSLR carrying people with so & so photography facebook pages (read opinion as – ‘people should be banned, either from making films or from expecting people to watch’), there have been moments of pure delight at the movies in 2012 than years before that, much thanks to the few Indie films that released this year.

Some of the favourites this year are Supermen of Malegaon (one of the best, a documentary so delightful, hard hitting and yet nowhere remotely close to being poverty porn), Kshay (for Chhaya), Gattu (for finally bringing to the screen an unpolished, bratty, clever, naive and most importantly, real kid), Shanghai (for creating that discomfort that exists in our world and we do not see) , Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan (for creating a cinema experience like no other, for delving into time space and making the silences speak)

The most favorite of all that I managed to see in 2012 would be Ship of Theseus for its language, for its being able to be so unique, so evolved in thought and yet not have an iota of pretentiousness and be accessible to just anyone. For the benchmark it creates not just for indie filmmakers but Indian cinema, in general. I am dying to point out and quote every single nuance I loved, but that should be saved for the film’s release. For the smallest of elements it picks and for the whole it creates. For repeating itself like a poem long after you’ve seen it. This is Cinema!!

anhey ghorey da daan

—–> Mihir Pandya on  “अन्हें घोड़े दा दान” (पंजाबी), निर्देशक – गुरविंदर सिंह

एका – कदमों का, कराहों का, नांइसाफ़ियों का, नकार का। एका – दुख: का, संघर्ष का, सपनों का, समता का। वही इंसानी पैरों का जत्था जिसकी मूक कदमताल में पलटकर मेलू सिंह के पिता शामिल हो जाते हैं। किसी अभ्रक से चमकते इंसानी इरादों का जत्था, जिसका सीधा मुकाबला समाजसत्ता अौर राज्यसत्ता के मध्य हुए भ्रष्ट समझौते से तैयार हुई दुनाली दुरुभिसंधि से होना है। किसी ख़ास दिशा में सतत बढ़ते चले जा रहे वे कदम कोरी भीड़ भर नहीं, वे जनता हैं। एक अात्मचेतस समूह। निर्देशक गुरविंदर सिंह की ‘अन्हें घोड़े दा दान’ के इस विरल संवादों से बने विस्मयकारी दृश्य में, जिसके अन्त में सरपंच की दुनाली के सामने गाँव के दलित फ़कत लाठियाँ किए खड़े हैं, अाप सोचते हैं कि अाख़िर वो कौनसी अात्महंता चेतना है जिसने उन्हें वहाँ साथ अा खड़े होने का यह गर्वीला माद्दा दिया है?

बराबरी का सपना। समता का सपना। यह खुद अपने में पूरा मूल्य है। गैरबराबरी के अंधेरी सुरंग रूपी वर्तमान के अाख़िर में न्याय अौर समानता रूपी किसी उजले सिरे के होने का यूटोपियाई स्वप्न। बराबरी स्वयं ऐसा मूल्य है जिसके लिए लड़ा जा सकता है, जिसके लिए मरा जा सकता है। अौर जिस दिन एक दलित दूसरे के लिए खड़ा होता है, एक शोषित दूसरे शोषित के हक़ की अावाज़ का साझेदार बनता है, वह सदियों से जड़वत इस सत्ता व्यवस्था के लिए अंत का बिगुल है। यह दलित चेतना सबक है जानने का कि हमारी देश के भीतर की तमाम पुरानी संरचनाएं कहीं गहरे बदल रही हैं। यह शोषित की साझेदारी है। यह दुख का एका है। वो बस एक फ्रेम भर है ़फ़िल्म में। गाँव के सरपंच की दुनाली के सामने डटकर खड़े मेरी पिता की उमर के ये निहत्थे भूमिहीन किसान। लेकिन इस एक फ्रेम में अक्स है मणिपुर की उन तमाम माअों का जिन्होंने अपनी उस एक बेटी के लिए खुद को विद्रोह में उठे जिंदा माँस के झंडों में बदल लिया था। इनमें अक्स है सशस्त्र सेना का सामना पत्थरों से करने का दम रखने वाली उस नौजवान पीढ़ी का जिनकी ज़बान पर बस यही गूँजता रहा, “हम क्या चाहते… अाज़ादी”। इनमें अक्स है खंडवा मध्य प्रदेश के उन किसानों का जिनकी सामूहिक जल समाधि ने एक बहरी सरकार को भी सुनने अौर अपना फैसला बदलने पर मजबूर कर दिया। अौर इनमें मेरी ही उमर के उन दो नौजवान साथियों का भी अक्स है जो रविवार की उस रात उस बस में इंसानी जिस्म की हदों के पार जाकर भी अंत तक लड़ते रहे, एक-दूसरे के लिए। बराबरी के उस अप्राप्य दिखते स्वप्न के लिए जो सदा ‘फेंस के उधर’ रही इन अाँखों ने अब देख लिया है।

So this was our list. Do comment and share your movie memories/thoughts/opinions of this year.