Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 5 (Oct-Dec 1983) p. 2.

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From the Editor

Home readers sympathetic to our venture have suggested that there is a tendency towards the esoteric in The Journal of Arts & Ideas. This is a problem that must be squarely faced. We would like to develop an interventionist discourse on the universe of arts and ideas which impinge upon and in many cases determine our cultural and political practice. It is the business of criticism to capture the richness and complexities of its subject matter by developing a corresponding vocabulary which combines interpretative sensitivity and scientific rigour. The resulting attention to theory is an expression of the seriousness of the concern. Indeed, the reader has a right to demand the best and to reject attempts which in the name of readability provide simplification of a problem. The poverty of criticism is the starting point for the critique developed by the participants of our Journal's seminar on film, held at Kasauli in June 1983. Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Arun Khopkar (who along with Kumar Shahani convened the seminar) characterise in their lead articles the situation in film criticism as being reductionist. They suggest that the complexity of this art form tends to be exhausted by one of its elements—often the plot, story, or portrayal. The seminar emphasised the necessity of developing a dialectical perspective which situates -the film in the context of a multiplicity of art traditions (literature, theatre, painting, music). These separate traditions with their own specificities interact in the totality of the film, subtly altering each other in the process.

The participants of the seminar come from a variety of disciplines— critics, painters, scholars, film-makers—and this provides the basis for a dialogue on the function of different art traditions as also different methods of investigation. Ashish Rajadhyaksha, who has edited the

October^December 1983

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