While many of the students sat listening to Chandrakant ji’s recital, anecdotes and tips about listening and learning classical music, there was one who sat wondering whether she would have the courage when time came. She started off with a simple question and soon it was in the open that Vidhi Chag is herself a sitar player. It came as surprise to many and answer to a schoolmate’s query that why don’t young people play sitar? The generous artistes handed over their instruments with Ulhas Rajhans inviting Ajinkya Gandhe to accompany Vidhi.
View the youngsters perform as the maestros applaud.
The conference room was jam-packed with interested students. It was an activity specially designed for them. In their routine classes, they learn about process of film-making and its technical aspects in fragmented details. This afternoon AATMA and Films4debate had brought them out of their classrooms for something which promises to be their chosen vocation. Dr. Akhilesh Singh introduced the coordinators of AATMA who explained why training for appreciation of arts is vital for a fuller existence. Some guests had also come including film-critics, journalists and professors from other discipline and institutions.
The film, a short documentary on issues related with bamboo, despite its relaxed pace kept everyone engrossed. The twenty five minute film seemed to end much sooner. The students were handed a questionnaire on the film and everyone started writing down their response. It is to their credit that none of the students seemed casual or disinterested. The questions dealt with communication of message and technical aspects that enhanced its appeal.
Dr. Akhilesh Singh set the ball rolling with his observation that the film did not establish a clear line of action for the people, despite presenting the problems related with bamboo pretty well. Karnika felt that the film hailed bamboo as ‘poor man’s timber’ while Pankhuri opined that it presented bamboo as an industrial alternative to timber. Bharat and several others agreed that the environmental message came out well as secondary concern. The issues were succinctly summed up by Prateek as promotion of (i) extensive use of bamboo, (ii) shattering related myths and (iii) raising awareness of bamboo as raw material for industry. Ritu Motwani bemoaned that though it was pointed out in the film that bamboo map and poverty map of India match pretty well, this was not discussed any further. Tarun agreed with the film that policies of government preclude bamboo industry from developing, but someone immediately pointed out that success story of a lady entrepreneur indicates governmental encouragement to the issue.
The students also marked certain areas as ‘grey’ and ‘fuzzy’. Tarun found that film fell short of depicting the effects of governmental policies and problems like flowering, on people related to bamboo industry. Purva found the ending abrupt because after such effective build-up, the audience expected a clear solution. Rohit felt that excessive close-up disconnected persons giving interview from background and mood of the film. Aayush seconded this opinion. This brought grunts of disagreement from many. Prateek remarked that neither was there any link to Jarwa-s, mentioned once in narration, in script nor in visuals. Runzhun felt that flowering of bamboo was again a superfluous issue mentioned without explanations.
Dr. Chandan Gupta, delighted with this opportunity of correcting his students refrained from making any immediate remarks. He introduced the technical aspects pointing out brilliant camera work by Nandan Saxena who is also the director of the film. This effectively removes any possible lack of communication between director and the cameraman. Students were at ease with technical aspects. They appreciated the angle and pace of the camera, though some did not feel comfortable with interviewees popping in and out of the frame. They all agreed that soulful use of flute enhanced the appeal of the film. Some were also charmed by the original chants of the natives trying to push rats out of the bushes. Kunal was moved by the chirping of birds; Rupak was impressed by the narration (by Jitendra Ramprakash). Someone found the shot of rat-tales quite forceful, but most students agreed that well-planned shot of bamboo being split by the lathe was most impressive. The discussion could have gone on and on, but Shri Dileep Gupte drew attention to the documentary being a film with limited goals. Almost everybody agreed that within this definition the film was complete. Dr. Chandan Gupta now pointed out that film like any other medium posses the ability to make specific communication, but like the others also has an existence beyond this limited role. One should not judge a film on delivery of information or outlining a plan or policy for action alone; how the filmmaker chooses to say is at times more important than what.
Kavita Bahl, co-director, wrote a measured script that accords this short production the fleeting quality which leaves viewers asking for more.
I often wondered about the process involved in aesthetic experience. There are things that appeal to us naturally. If people we value appreciate the same thing we feel that our taste is commendable. Often such a taste goes against the preference of the masses. It was as student of literature that I developed an insight into the aesthetic process. Still, when it came to fine arts and that too music it became all too complex. A poem does not get fragmented when we talk about a particular image, but as we speak of a musical phrase we seem to undermine rest of the composition. More often than not, people find it difficult to pinpoint what musical part endears the whole composition to them. Further, to explain the combination of notes that would make a composition likeable is again a difficult thing. So, if we wish to tap aesthetic sensibility of children and nurture it along a desired direction what should we do?
In January 2009, Madhukali had organized appreciation events in Bhopal and Indore. Students of Trinity Engineering College, Bhopal were addressed by Mr. G. Raj Narayan, an engineer-cum-musician of Bangalore and Veena player Smt. Radhika Raj Narayan. The engineering students were captivated by the lucid presentation of the speakers who narrated the story of how music and electronics merged empowering performers and learners of Indian music. Dr. Chandrakant Sardeshmukh gave lecture-demonstration at Music College, Indore and Science College Indore. Story-telling and recitation by poets were planned along with film sessions in the two cities. At a media institution, after a show of his documentary…… (Click here to read more)