Friday, January 23, 2009

Decalogue and Mahabharata-1

In last 18 months of my blogging, I have not talked anything about cinema but the fact is that over the last five years, my life has got mixed with so many cinematic classics, that I don't feel that when I talk in terms of philosophy, I can avoid talking in terms of cinematic metaphors. It’s around a decade now when I got initiated into cinema. It was in Chandigarh when I started watching serious films beginning with Francois Truffaut’s major films and then a whole feast of French films at Sector-36 Allliance Francaise Centre. It never occurred to me that there will come a day when cinema will be a very deep-rooted process of my thinking. It was only after I ended reading Mahabharata, I realised that I need to find my contemporary Mahabharata. I mean to say that it is not just a text to me rather it's an experience both narrative and philosophical. When I ventured into Mahabharata, the main desire was to understand the ground, the Earth of experience. Even after reading a lot of so-called metaphysical literature, that Earth was missing. It is only Mahabharata that supplemented this particular need of my own. After spending couple of years in dialogue with contemporary philosophers and writers, it just happened to me that the vastness of Mahabharata is not the real challenge rather the real problem is how to transform this mythological narrative into a contemporary experience where characters can be easily identified, events can be broadly historicized and immediacy of the text can be mixed with the immediacy of contemporary life. Of course, the way I am putting things, it seems to be a bit of theorising but the process was quite implicit and latent but I was not completely unaware of it. This was a time when I discovered Kieslowski and his major cinematic work, the Decalogue series. I watched all the 10 films in the series and had a completely new kind of realisation. Here was a person who was not an Indian, who was not following any story of Mahabharata and who was not directly related with any Indian person or event but still, his work had a remarkable vastness, depth and a serious interweaving of stories which is quite similar to that of Mahabharata. Watching the Decalogue was a journey quite similar to reading Mahabharata in terms of Earthliness. This was such a thing that almost looked unbelievable because when I was looking into a contemporary narrative form, the cinema definitely seemed to me quite close in its range of canvas but much more than that, Kieslowski and his Decalogue were such remarkable forces of creation that I could only thank the hidden forces of co-incidence which brought me close to this phenomenon. In my coming blog-posts, I'll be taking every film of the Decalogue one by one and writing upon it bit by bit. It's like a long desired journey of prose that I wanted to complete. I hope that it shall begin and complete its due course.

1 comment:

Ashish said...

Dear Sunil,
Just read your firs posting on the Decalogue. Enjoyed it, especially the part where you admit that cinema is going to be a deep-rooted process of your thinking. In fact, cinema is going to be, or perhaps is, the medium to communicate in today's digitalized world. Now I will read them one by one and hopefully comment too!