Sunday, 15 December 2013

Five star rating for What the Fi$# !

I will begin by saying that my rating of 5 stars for What the FI$#! is based on the total delight of being completely  biased and partisan.  This is because our son Mithun Rodwittiya  plays the character of Hooda,  a Haryanvi lout, who attempts to get his lover from Manipur (a boxer and a Mary Kom looker alike!) a professional deal;  and the iddar-uddar tamasha that occurs as a sequence of many events centred around the care taking of a home, a gold fish and a potted money plant, makes up the entire jig-saw  of this film.  This multiple narratives within this comedy has lovely little insights into the India of today, where urban practices and upward mobility leans into street smartness and the altu-faltu of our kismet culture and yaaro ways, and mixes together into the khichadi of metro life. What is refreshing different is that the film never comes across as a pontificating missive or trying to sell a message of any kind. 

The film cleverly allows you to believe you have the upper hand as the voyeur to it all because it lets you know the end right at the start, and then in the end gives it a slight twist,  to spice it up. This is a clever move on the part of the scripting team because it lets each tableaux that unfolds  have its moments of glory without any preamble. It also suggests the typical indian "aisa hota hai na" attitude packaged perhaps rather endearingly wherein you begin to get soft hearted recalling   incidents of irritation from your own back yard from precisely the muddled methods of our quick-fix existences!

Directed by Gurmmeet Singh and starring the affable Dimple Kapadia, this is a definite  must see film. Yes, certainly because you have to whistle loudly the moment Mithun makes his appearance on the big screen (that's mandatory!); but also because it is a film that comes from a type of cinema I want to see more of.  Quirky and with a simple story line, it allows a story-telling of the mundane to be engaged with,  and for cinema to be entertaining without vulgar budgets being involved and gimmicky techno effects to prop it all up. 

"What the Fish" provides vignettes from the everyday that could be anybody's story; and wrapped into the slap-stick humour are some wonderful flashes of what life is all about in the higgledy-piggledy of what makes India this terribly infuriating,  but equally lovable country we live in!

Congratulations to the the cast and crew….Encore! 

And to my Mithun……..

You've come a long way Bebo!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Matters of the Heart ….on at Sakshi Mumbai till the 31st of December 2013

The privilege of birth and the gift of education impacted itself upon me from a very young age. A much desired girl-child I have carried the legacies of a female history with a conscious alertness which led me, very early in my personal journey, to a space of belonging that formulated my feminist ideology and the spirit of deliverance of my energies.

Art is a process of transmutations. Where translations and transpositions trace the outer world to the inner consciousness and vice versa, thereby making an elaborate tapestry of contextualized belonging. It is a space where the recognizable alters to become the receptacle of new meanings, and where human experience then becomes the bridge of empathy that allows the viewer to find their connectivity.

I have often described the territory of my ideas as being like a small garden patch, much loved and faithfully nurtured. This is because I hold a consistent desire to examine the feminine space of survival, the spirit of endurance and the empowerment of pride and self dignity that centuries of feminist oral histories are infused by; and which cast their shadows for me to find my resting space within.

As an artist the most liberating lesson learnt is that ones own sense of belonging is held in multiple histories that form the stories of the world. And it is the curiosity of wanting to know about the unknown that beckons us through the doorways of many new discoveries. But like all sensible travelers each of us needs to carry along in this journey the memories of our own origins. For in doing so we will then never fear getting lost.

The assimilation of a personal language involves many influences gathered and many areas of teachings resisted; and between this tightrope act of balancing what to absorb and what to reject, an informed and critical aesthetical space is finally arrived at. Within this territory of the female world that informs my concerns, I observe the rituals of confronting daily life that require for us to measure our valor and vulnerability with wisdom. Each of us in our moments of reflection will know the value of this double-edged sword.

The energies that we place ourselves central to forms a grid, patterned by incidents and histories that demand our participation willingly or otherwise. As artists we often become the chroniclers of larger narratives that hold both the particularity of our lives as well as a wider world of information.

I believe that a pictorial language revolves around the engagement with re-examining tradition and modernity within the contexts of changing requirements. I delight in drawing and so lines define the shape within my work by out-lining the contours of the images blatantly or by the evoking the line from the starkness of shape itself.  Whilst painting, the magic of conjuring as the brush trails its mark on a blank surface holds both the edge of terror and excitement simultaneously.

The female figure, often in isolation, becomes the presence that bears witness to the passage of time. Embodied through the centuries with the energies that hold the continuums of being a life giving force, I place the female figure as the central focus to be encountered.  

The unflinching gaze and the frontal posture of the female figures demand that the viewer is obliged to participate in an engagement with its presence.  Stark and arresting in demeanor these female figures or large heads with their unrelenting gaze, are like protective guardians of the universe.

The photographic image reappears after I put down my camera twenty-eight years ago. A series of personal occurrences brought back the affinity I once had with the camera and I resumed taking photographs once again. The bodies of my female protagonists now become the site of retrieval of personal histories. Retraced like mapped terrains the contours of these figures are extracted from previous paintings, archived like from an archeological survey. The montage of images lace together to then become the second skin.

What I desire above all else is in fact the deliverance of my own honesty to myself.  Where my art and my life are seamed together and hold the image of representation uncompromised and unfettered. My art exits finally severed from the umbilical cord that initially defines its articulation; to be then placed in a space of interpretation and discourse, unmonitored by my protection.  It must hold the credibility that molded it, if it is not to be felled into wasteful oblivion.  I can exert no control over any external forces that act upon my work, but what I can do is remain accountable to myself at all times. 

There are hundreds of stories that each of us carry with us. These stories are often matters of the heart which are an amalgamation of truths and desires, memories and histories which in turn are fed each day by the pulse of our lives as we live it. As an artist it is from this ever evolving framework of energies that my ideas are born.