Monday, August 1, 2016

For beauty and honesty against bloody selling out

I want to watch #Pellichoopulu. I don't want to watch #Pellichoopulu. I want to watch it because of the rave reviews, because of the word-of-mouth publicity, because of the love and personal pride with which people are endorsing it, because of Tharun's astounding Sainma, because of Sravani's review, because of Dheeraj's succinct homage in this message he sent me: "hit anna hituuu. . 100 days iga . . House full". But I don't want to watch it because I'm afraid it'll be better than all the hype, better than everything people have exaggerated about it, better than Sainma even. Because if it is, a part of me will die.

The day I saw Sainma, I knew if I was able to reach half of what Tharun'd been able to do, I could dream of a career as a filmmaker. It is a film I admire, adore, love and keep getting back to. When I first wrote about it all those months ago, I called it a "not perfect" film. If you'd asked me then what was missing, I wouldn't know what to say. I guess that review was was a refraction of my jealousy. I knew what I'd seen was a masterpiece. I also knew this guy was no Kubrick or Herzog. I actually once stumbled upon a blogpost which raved about Tharun the man. One man couldn't be all that. He couldn't be fun and humble and successful and a visionary and dedicated and passionate. That would be, in some strange way, pretty Ashok-esque. And I couldn't let that thought sit in my head. I knew this man, sort of. I reviewed his film (which, funnily, is how I unashamedly bask in his reflected glory now). I would allow him to be good, not great. Yet when I sat down to watch the film again recently with two first-time viewers, I couldn't help but love his work. They laughed and hooted, paused and repeated, remembered lines and loved characters. What else could any artist ask for? If my one short film experience could be counted for anything, I would like to believe I understand the genius in conception and passion in execution of that two-and-a-half minute eloping scene right before the 'Sainma' title.

I meet a lot of people who want to make films. My flatmate regularly makes short films. These folks don't lack passion or conviction. Or sometimes, even discipline. Craft can be learnt as well. Right from Journey, through Anukokunda till Sainma, even if he's lacked sometimes in something, Tharun's film's have been driven by an inner voice. I'm sure he must've put in hours of learning behind being able to choose a certain shot, or a particular casting choice to even picking locations. But I'd like to believe they're the work of a natural filmmaker. Quentin Tarantino is a natural filmmaker, Woody Allen not so much. Anyway, that's a discussion for another day.

Now to the point I have to confront. Why do I feel an inexplicable jealousy for him and not, say, Binny Bansal who I see quite regularly at work. I know he makes a lot of money and that he was incredibly successful at 28. Yet I feel nothing because of him. What could be the reasons for my grudging admiration for Tharun's work- the fact that cinema was an early love, or that his life right now was my dream a few years ago, or just because filmmaking is a more romantic idea of a life than entrepreneurship, or simply because somewhere deep inside I believe I can be him if I choose to. All of them, definitely, contributes to my feelings. But as an undercurrent to all that is the feeling that I seem to be selling out while he's still holding to his ideals/ dreams tightly. Mind you, this isn't about Tharun in the real objective world, more about the mythos I've created around his career in my head. Not so long ago, like Amma reminded me so recently, I was standing-still and asking a lot of Whys. These days, I'm running as fast as I can without asking any questions at all. I can't believe how, last week, I was worried, if for only a few seconds, about losing my job. When did a job I do for the money become so all encompassing?

Agreed, all boys should grow to be mature, sorted men but at what cost? I don't read anymore, I hardly write anything unconvoluted, gave up dreams of filmmaking, find time to learn fuckin Python and spend all weekdays doing jobs I care nothing about. Again, I'm not saying it isn't right to grow out of fanciful, unrealistic daydreams but I'm afraid to know what's at the other end of the spectrum. Vasishta sent me this amazing, marathon interview and in it, Bharani says that artist's shouldn't be all that calculative. I don't know if you can consciously choose to do something about it, stop the corruption of the soul if I may, but that's a brilliant explanation for why most people, in most dreary jobs become so mean and petty. Where's the innocence to marvel if you're obsessed with keeping scores. Where's the imagination to appreciate poetry if you've drawn such rigid boundaries. Where's the ability to bask in glory if you're so hellbent on getting the upperhand.

I hope I haven't turned petty, yet. I hope I have enough purity and goodness to truly appreciate things I love. I hope that soon I do work I believe in and enjoy, and leave the rewards to the 'Creator of the Cosmos'. I'm so bloody confused right now that I can't even state if the confusion's a good thing. Tharun's had a dream debut and I hope to watch the film soon. But, more than that, I hope I will have the courage and strength to appreciate with all my heart when I see something truly luminous.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although of different field,I could relate to you in so many ways.
Awesome bro,your post had to be the most valuable 5 min of this week for me.