THE BRILLIANT IMAGERY OF KHAYAL GATHA (1989)

Just like my previous post, I decided to devote this Sunday at sharing screenshots/ imagery from Kumar Shahani’s simultaneously impressionistic and expressionistic take on the history of Khayal form of singing and its further influence on dancing techniques down the centuries. This constitutes the brilliance of KHAYAL GATHA.

Of course, I have written an essay on it previously published here so I won’t be repeating myself. For now, I will let you behold its catalogue of unforgettable images. Like Siddheshwari, this one too is an aesthetic delight, helping one grasp the myth, ethos and history behind the classical ouevre.

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THE BRILLIANT IMAGERY OF SIDDHESHWARI (1989)

Over the course of my few writings on the treasure trove of classical music and dance in Indian cinematic canon, I have particularly been appreciative of two films. They are namely KHAYAL GATHA and SIDDHESHWARI, both released in 1989.

In this written presentation, I have included screenshots from SIDDHESHWARI to let its imagery inform viewers of how this documentary uses cinematic recreations to illuminate the life of Siddheshwari Devi, a legendary exponent of the Benaras gharana (house) of classical Indian singing. Directed by Mani Kaul, it is visually unforgettable and from the point of view of its form and content is transcendental, implying the grand and at the same time intimate nature of the thumri style at large.

Of course, readers can always go back to my original writing on it in my essay previously published here. All I can say is that the aesthetics of the city of Benaras, music and cinematography come together in SIDDHESHWARI in a confluence of artistic merit unlike any other.

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Behold the exquisite sense of capturing the locational value of Benaras from these angles. Each frame and the profusion of colours make it aesthetically pleasing.

The human figures and silhouettes too are like paintings in motion and I took particular care at selecting each image. Breathtakingly epic and yet intimate. I also love the haunting, mesmerising effect of the imagery in general and the manner in which river Ganga is presented here. The river becomes an omnipresent symbol of the purity of musical pursuits in this unusual screenplay.

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Lead actress Mita Vashisht who portrays the soulfulness of Siddheshwari Devi’s journey is beautifully directed here.

Attention must be paid to the use of light and shadows, the intermingling of the impressionistic and expressionistic style.

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A RARE SMITA PATIL INTERVIEW BECKONS US

I had been searching for a Smita Patil interview for years and while the rich treasure trove of material regarding her exemplary filmography vis a vis articles, fully uploaded movies, opinion pieces and books are aplenty, there was a paucity of recorded conversations.

Which is why I was very happy to discover this rare clip of the equally legendary newsreader and host Nalini Singh interviewing the iconic artist, uploaded by the Prasar Bharti Archives courtesy national broadcaster Doordarshan, on its prolific YouTube channel.


So behold these two individuals talk about the importance of issues pertaining to portrayal of women in cinema and the way commercialized advertising imagery can have an adverse impact on the sensitivity of the subject matter addressed.





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TREASURE TROVE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC AND DANCE IN INDIAN CINEMA-FINAL PART

I am sharing the link to the final part of my essay, on the treasure trove of classical music and dance within the Indian cinematic canon. It has been published as part of my essay collection A LETTERED SOUL on Wattpad.

https://www.wattpad.com/story/276862607-a-lettered-soul-musings-on-art-and-culture

It’s bound to be worth a read for all discerning readers and cinephiles as also for those who appreciate the finer nuances of the artistic medium.

I am also including links to two pivotal movies from 1989, namely Kumar Shahani’s KHAYAL GATHA and Mani Kaul’s SIDDHESHWARI. They are masterpieces that perfectly capture the aesthetics of Indian classical music with unparalleled grace.

IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK


This is the image conjured by light and shadow on my wall, on an afternoon, that I captured with my camera and hence designed this particular poem.




Walls have their own accomplished
artistry.
You see the forms come and go regularly,
birthing from the sun’s perpetual warmth,
rankling and fluctuating,
to find their inherent composition
and their own script.
They almost needlessly
acquire a form
of their own,
some of them seemingly inspired
from our own lives,
here on these walls.

It’s a subtle and unexpected game of shadows
But the artists never reveal their identities.
Nobody knows which form they may acquire,
to startle us.
That is the real charm
of unsolicited creation.

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Walls, by their very nature,
are ripe as a blank canvas.
Contingent with how
we make them whole.
But how beautifully
they relieve us,
to make a home
out of empty spaces.

So it’s not left to doubt
that walls
have their own accomplished artistry,
a proficient language
and an oeuvre of their own.

We are the artisans
waiting to adorn them
with our own life-forms.

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A RARE LOOK BACK AT THE GREATS.

These videos of the great Smita Patil capture her in a posthumous documentary form, as host of a special musical programme featuring Lata Mangeshkarji on Doordarshan, honouring her beginnings on the national channel, and while dubbing for Satyajit Ray’s Sadgati with her co-star Om Puri and the master in attendance respectively.

This is such a treasure trove. Rare imagery as this must be cherished and wonderfully blessed are we to behold them.

Also the FILMS DIVISION documentary on NATIONAL SCHOOL OF DRAMA is a treat, a beautiful illustration of the legendary institution. Watch out for such legends as DEEPA SAHI, NEENA GUPTA, HIMANSHI SHIVPURI and RATNA PATHAK as students there while SUREKHA SIKRI and PANKAJ KAPOOR call the shots in footage of their stage performances.

In the case of the first two Smita Patil clips not being available to view here due to the original channel’s guidelines, go straight to YouTube and type Smita documentary from FILMS DIVISION and Smita Patil-Lata Mangeshkar DD show.

Bless yourself with a productive weekend with these valuable visual documents.

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ALL THIS GLAMOUR HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY EKPHRASTIC REVIEW

I am honoured to have my poem selected and finally published by the ceaselessly creative publication that is EKPHRASTIC REVIEW.

ALL THIS GLAMOUR was, of course, based on the artwork of the same name by Derrick Hickman as per the latest prompt by the publication. Hence, I designed my poem in terms of my own interpretation. Which is what makes EKPHRASTIC REVIEW such a boon; a pictorial sense of art strengthens our understanding and creativity from an early age and this publication honours our storehouse of wonder and imagination like no other.

So read my written poem and share your thoughts.

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This is the original artwork on which we had to base our own poetic interpretation

Once again, a huge shout out to the team at EKPHRASTIC REVIEW for helping me hone my versatile evolution as a writer.

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