Sunday, June 29, 2014


I'd gone to watch a film called Hola Venky last night. It was an open air screening on the terrace of the Season's hotel. (Pune really is the city for anything open air.)

The film by Sandeep Mohan is about a software engineer who for some reason meditates on his groin. He lays down, puts a jasmine on his groin, forms a triangle around it with his fingers and meditates. On work, he travels to San Jose where a certain incident occurs. As a result of this, he has to confront a few things in his head, heart, and the bit that is worshipped upon.

I intend to write about this movie in a fair bit of detail at some point. I quite liked it even though there were parts that puzzled or bored me somewhat. And there are references to coding as motifs that I couldn't quite get but I think overall, the film worked.

Anyway, what I found more interesting was the story behind the movie. Sandeep's first film, Love Wrinkle-Free, had a run-in with the censors and wasn't released. This second film is made in response or as a reaction to the first film. Sandeep takes this movie to smaller places that will let him exhibit him. That way, maybe 20 to 30 people watch the movie which according to him, is better than a small film getting released in a PVR with some obscure timings. He shot the film within 10 lakhs, over the course of three weeks, and with a crew of 3 people. Apart from the couple of leads, no one else is a professional actor. There was a QnA with the director after the film - a section I am usually very fascinated with and wary of. If a piece of communication needs to be explained after it has been communicated, then I don't know how effective that piece has been. But the best part of this QnA, I think, were the questions from the audience. I think the movie has a larger appeal for men - if not appeal, then certainly a stronger connect. There was one person that commented on a particular scene - a scene that I especially had found a little trite. But his comment did made me think - maybe its not easy for men to be men either. And it's comments like this that make you connect with the other people who have watched the movie - beyond the seetis and taalis, I guess. (I remember feeling so alienated when I watched Gangs of Wasseypur - what were they all clapping and hooting about? I didn't like the film.)

Anyway. it was a good experience. It was a heartening one. It's like what Salman Rushdie had once mentioned in one of his earlier talks - that the battle in the new age (as was evidenced by Sandeep Mohan's encounter with the censors) will be about who gets to tell the story. So much power-mongering, so much clapdown because your story is offending someone somewhere, so much insistence on pushing forward one version of a story - so, who, ultimately gets to tell it?

That evening, under the stars, one storyteller got his chance. That's something.


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