Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 20-21 (March 1991) p. 21.

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Notes Before Filmmaking

nAnup Singh

Anup Singh studied cinema at the film and Television Institute of India, Pune. His student diploma film, Laasya (Danceof Grace), was awardedthe Best Director award at Oberhausen in 1987 and has been shown among other film festivals at Pesaro. He has assisted Kumar Shahani in the making of the films Khayal

Gatha and Qasba and Mani Kaul in SiddheswarL He has also scripted Ahmaq and is an associate director of the film with Mani Kaul. He has written on cinema in Indian magazines and for The Independent, London.

In the literature of this hemisphere . . . ideal objects abound, invoked and dissolved momentarily, according to poetic necessity.

Jorge Luis Borges, Tfon, Uejbar, Orbis Tertius


These 'Notes Before Filmmaking' are concerned with the flux of the more familiarly considered static condition of 'Before'. The point is to remain self-aware in the living of that flux of the creative-destructive forces of certain traditions, which, like the rationalities of craft, either condemn young filmmakers to exhaustion or allow them to begin again and again and again. The play in the flux then:

If only I am, he thought, mad. The thought comes to the boy who will be filmmaker deep in the dark of a theatre as he suddenly finds himself vulnerable to the fact of Bombay and his life outside. The film's self-enclosed flow fills him with a longing so palpable that it throbs in his hands like separation.

'Thus split, the film's obsessed impulse dismembers him. Fallen, denied, divinized, choiceless, he can only be cheated again now, Faustlike, into believing that by giving up the play of his identity the possibility of being, becoming, dissolving continuously he can be free of the sense of separation, of banishment, this sudden exile.

He is cheated. There is no exit, of course. Exiled in adolescence, he wonders if he can accept his banishment as grace. Otherwise, how is he to live? But he can already feel that his banishment does not bum in him as, for instance, the mother-humid, fervid yellow Bombay

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