It’s almost like the airplanes. Every time I watch them flying, for reasons unknown, I just can’t take my eyes off them, till they disappear. I am sure I would be pretty much right if I were to say that the sight of planes landing and taking off is something we all have liking to, either by accident or choice. But then I am not here to eulogize the pilots or the airbuses but another breed of fascinating people called the filmmakers. Its a different story that every time I watch a particular …
…scene of a movie, the feeling somehow creeps in whereby I would have my own thoughts as to how I would have visualized the scene and reworked the dialogs. But still the whole process of making a cinema is something that never ceases to fascinate me.
That was more like the thoughts of the times where I did not know much about life and the only biggest thing in mind was ‘you have to work to survive?’ Now normally you do not get time to think much about those things. It’s more likely that you don’t get time to think at all. There is a routine, in the guise of monotony, which just gets you going back and forth, if not anywhere, to work and back. Well coming back to the whole idea of films, the first reaction when I heard my friend say ‘I need money for my documentary’ was nothing more than a mere another joke of his. Why would someone on vacation in the middle of his PhD make a movie, (I still refuse to believe that movies and documentaries are two different things and hence the term filmmaker and not documentary maker) and that too taking backdrop of Kalikot as the main protagonist? Time passed by and finally about six months later, he asked me ‘You know of any sponsors here? The documentary is over and we need money for the studio works.’ That is when it finally sunk in that he has indeed turned a movie maker. Couple of little clips on the ‘You tube’ and there was no room for me to doubt his new role.
A month later, we were all sitting in a bar somewhere in Thamel and the film maker popped in. It’s been decided, premiere’s going to be this Tuesday. We all stood up and some even managed to give him a big hug, more as a result of intoxication combined with pride than a friendly gesture. Thanks to all sorts of budding entrepreneurs the arranging of the show was not much a problem since one of the companies had taken the onus of doing so, with a nominal fee.
Everybody gathered in a hall and soon the movie began. It was Kalikot and I knew what I was to expect, the hills and the ugly rugged terrains, the poverty and bare naked nature. However, as the movie began to roll things began to get little uneasy or should I say interesting. ‘Ka’ communist, ‘kha’ Khabardari, ‘ga’ ganatantra was how a teacher was teaching his students in a class. There were just a few of them. ‘All the children from the village come to this school’, so was he proudly saying to the filmmaker when asked how many children are there in the school. He did say something about how the children have grasped the ideology of Mao and all that did not seem to make any sense at all. So many people and so few children was the obvious thing that would come to anyone’s mind and so it did in my case. There were children who could not go to school lying either in beds or in the courtyards of their houses, all victims of nothing but their own childish act. While the adults would walk maybe meters away from the sight of it, there they were passing and throwing it around as if it were a cricket ball. Deepak had his stomach torn apart while Hari had no fingers in his right. The count was endless. I, probably along with everyone in the hall was taken aback, just failing to realize how the peace we all enjoy is so painful and traumatic. The movie was over and as anticipated there was a round of thunderous applause.
The filmmaker was then asked to come down just in front of the screen and answer question from the audience. ‘I don’t intend to do anything, spread no messages, no moral. All I wanted was to show you is Kathmandu is just miles away from Kalikot and yet we all feel closer to NY.’ so he replied when asked who got him to make such a movie. May be his answer was a bit too much of a socialist thought in the midst of a capitalist crowd, but the thought was heavy enough. On the one hand, he awed me with his film making skills and on another the hard hitting subject and equally arduous location.
Deepak, one of the characters of the movie who was a part of the audience, had to be taken to hospital. The proceeds of the show were going to his medical treatment. I stood there standing and watching three of them: my friend, a film maker and the actor who was not acting. Remember he had his stomach torn open.
The unedited version of the article which was printed on the Sunday edition
of the Kathmandu Post,2007.