Land your Mani, lose your friend

A student of Ritwik Ghatak who went on to become a master in his own right. Mani Kaul left cinematic secrets for us to unearth. Are you game?

IT was difficult to be a Mani Kaul fan and a loyal friend in chorus. One aspect of it always went out of tune. The man's works were so scattered and tricky to acquire (unless you knew where to look for them). So if you loaned a treasured copy of one of his films, you kissed the film and the friend good bye, never to see them again.

Habitat World brings back those days when you sat through Ashadh Ka Ek Din (1971) or Dhrupad (1982), and then carried back the film to your dining table and over your whiskey or chai and dissected or deciphered it. Retrospective of filmmaker Mani Kaul, a five-day feast for fans who love to devour the works of the filmmaker who pushed cinematic boundaries. "Trust me, when I saw one of my first Mani films, I was a mere 18-year-old. As I sat through Uski Roti (1969) I thought, yeh kya ho raha hai!" says Vidyun Singh, Director Programme, Habitat World. Mani still remains a well-kept secret. A man debated over by FTII students (some of them after their rounds of laung wali chillum) under the wisdom tree but found only in film clubs.

Arising from the surface: Mani Kaul

"But then again, Mani is an acquired taste, and I'm sure today's generation that is exposed to world cinema is far ahead of us when it comes to understanding Mani," says Vidyun. And we say an exposure vital enough. In a country that was feeding on jovial poignant hysterics, Mani was the man who was painstakingly slipping in clever, mentally stimulating and soul stirring films into the lot. It requires a lot of persistence to understand the human desires he framed.  

When Kaul passed in July, the most impressive frame that emerged was a teary-eyed Anurag Basu among other scholars and relatives, standing alone, paying his tribute to the giant. Some how, it makes one realise Mani isn't that illegible a secret after all. The man left clues all around, all one needs to do it start looking for them at the right place.

At: Habitat World, India Habitat Center

Cut-n-keep schedule
Sept 16
Nazar (7pm)

Sept 17
The Nomad Puppeteer(6.45pm)

Sept 18
Duvidha (11.30am)  Uski Roti (1 pm),  Ashadh Ka Ek Din (4pm),  Siddheswari (7pm),
Sept 19   Arrival(6.45pm,  Satah Se Uthata Aadmi (7pm)

Sept 22
To be announced

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