Mani Kaul

Mani Kaul – Idiot AKA Ahmaq (Feature Film Version) (1991)

Feature film version of Mani Kaul’s film on Dostoevski’s masterpiece that was shown at NYFF.

Synopsis:
Mani Kaul’s adaptation of Dostoevski’s Idiot is his most profoundly affecting film and a “tour de force” (Rajadhyaksha) that co-ordinates actors, settings and situations to a multiplicity. It his most realized attempt at making formalist film by moving the camera,without looking through the viewfinder to make Gilles Deleuze’s reading of cinema as an any-instant-whatever or equidistant instant to an any-space-whatever or any equispatial instant. This equispatial instant is created by destroying the dialectic between required and not-required, sacral and profane. Mani Kaul, analyzing his own films would state that, whereas his earlier works engaged a rarefaction of information, Idiot was the first to encounter a saturation of events. Read More »

Mani Kaul – Yatrik AKA Passenger (1966)

Mani Kaul’s early short film Read More »

Mani Kaul – Satah Se Uthata Aadmi aka Arising From The Surface (1980)

Quote:
Kaul’s film addresses the writings of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh (1917-79), one of the main representatives of the Nai Kavita (New Poetry) movement in Hindi. Muktibodh also wrote several short stories, one of which provides the film with its title, and critical essays. The film integrates episodes from Muktibodh’s writings with material from other source, including a reinvented neo-realism derived from Muktibodh’s literary settings. The narrative is constructed around 3 characters. Ramesh (Gopi) iis one who speaks and enacts Muktibodh’s writings, functioning as the first-person voice of the text; his two friends, , Madhav (Jha) and Keshav (Raina), are Ramesh’s antagonists and interlocuters esp. in the debates about modernity. Kaul gradually minimizes the fictional settings until, in the remarkably shot sequences of the factory, the audience is directly confronted with the written text itself. Read More »

Mani Kaul – Mati Manas AKA The Mind of Clay (1985)

Quote:
In a poetic hour and a half, director Mani Kaul looks at the ancient art of making pottery from a wide variety of perspectives. Pots are shown in many settings, including a museum where a young child is mesmerized by the ceramics that ancient ancestors created from clay. The tradition continues and so does its magic, as potters are shown deftly working a lump of wet clay and fashioning it moment by moment into a slowly emerging shape. Kaul blends in myth and fables as well as the beauty of the art itself to create an inspiring look at a humble, everyday object. Read More »

Mani Kaul – Siddeshwari (1990)

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Summary from The Hindu:
On paper, Siddheshwari, like so many films commissioned by the Films Division, is a cine-profile, of the Hindustani singer Siddheshwari Devi. However, Kaul turns the genre inside out, and amalgamates literary, theatrical, musical and cinematic forms together to construct an experience of music, instead of simply presenting biographical details or passively documenting the singer’s artistry. The sprawling film blends multiple timelines, realities and geographies to sketch a unique portrait of the artist. Read More »

Mani Kaul – Nazar AKA The Gaze (1990)

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SYNOPSIS
From the back of the case:
After his wife’s death, the husband recalls their first meeting and marriage. She was much younger than him. She used to pawn some things to an antique shop to make a little money. The husband is increasingly intrigued by her mindset. As things develop, he finds out that she was an orphan living with two aunts. The film explores their complex life in a manner unusual for Indian cinema. Read More »

Mani Kaul – Uski Roti AKA Our Daily Bread (1970)

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SYNOPSIS
From the back of the case:
A desolate bus-stop on a highway… figure of a village woman – Balo, waiting to deliver a meal to Sucha Singh, the husband, a bus driver. He expects the traditional duties of an average Indian rural wife. Balo in turn accepts her husband’s independent lifestyle. Balo hurries to the bus-stop. She is late delivering the meal, trying to save her younger sister, Jinda, from being seduced by the village rake. Read More »