Sunday, December 4, 2011

DUVIDHA (1973)

Years ago I’ve read one of Girish Karnad’s play titled ‘Naga-Mandala’ based on a mythical Indian folk-tale that absolutely resembles with the plot of Mani Kaul’s this Indian New Wave  alternative cinema classic. And besides that Amol Palekar’s retake of the same film ‘Paheli’ made with two budding stars of Hindi cinema made the plot and story of the film almost revealing factor. So the mysterious and intriguing plot of this wonderful folk-tale is not something that is new for me. What is more unique is not the story, plot but the cinematic form.

This is my first Mani Kaul film and I must say the man created unusually unique and experimental form to the Indian cinema that leaves all the baggage of traditional grammar of filmmaking. From minimalist approach to unusual narration, detached characters use of camera (flat, still and freeze frames) the ethnic textures of Rajasthani colors (especially red and white) on screen, everything here is more of a personal statement than a normal cinema. The film is too original and avant garde in form for Indian cinema but for normal cinema viewers it’s too early and too difficult to appreciate and comprehend his art in a single viewing. However I found many stylistic resemblance of his film form with two French Masters Jean Luc Godard in exploiting many experimental stylistic devices and Robert Bresson for cent percent minimalist tone and using his actors just as detached non actors in the film. The film won him a National award for best direction. Eager to watch his other gems. 


Luv said...

Well, I would say Godard and Truffaut - but that is besides the point.

What Mani Kaul does, even if one does not know the story, is to tell is orally. That, in a way, frees the film from the burden of telling the story and lets him work with the cinematic form - as you have called it.

HIREN DAVE said...

nice to read your comment after a long. By the way Satyajit Ray wrote very interesting thing about Kaul in his 'Our Films Their Films'. On one hand he praised him for as phenomenon in Indian cinema for using such a new grammar of film making and than bashed him for reduction of human element. the book is highly recommended one for you if you haven't read it yet. It's one of the most treasure read for cinebuffs like you. :)

Luv said...

I will sure find a copy of the book. :)