The Method And The Madness

Sajal Kumar – art connoisseur, drama king and ellipsis abuser at large wonders if there is a point to frameworks and guidelines.

Thoughts wander..into lanes of nothingness, trying to make a pattern out of the nothingness….and a meaning out of the pattern…As the mind wanders through the various works of various people, known and unknown to various degrees..I feel, that there is something about these film makers…

As Economics tries to explain everything and anything, I wish for things which will have explanations only beyond the realms of this seemingly all pervasive field..and I find solace in arts…in cinema…in works, known and unknown to various degrees…and I feel, there is something about these works…

Raj Kumar Santoshi made Ghayal(90)-Damini(93)-Ghatak(96) inside a space of 6 years…Sunny Deol fans swear by these movies, the hard hitting films have stood the test of time..but one film possibly is a bigger cult than any of these. During this 6 year period, the same Rajkumar Santoshi made Andaz Apna Apna(95), a film which is as different from the hard hitting genre as it gets. Like everyone I find the film funny, but what I also find funny is this whole sequence of Ghayal-Damini-AAA-Ghatak.

N. Chandra is the angry man of Indian cinema among the cinema makers. Ankush(86) and Pratighaat(87) are as disturbing as the films get. Recently he made Yeh Mera India (2009) which is a powerful film on social evils of this country (couple of Ps of marketing went totally haywire and a brilliant product failed in the market). The director also made psychological films like Wajood(98) and Shikari(2000). Just when we are tempted to draw an inference on his core competency, we notice that his filmography also has names like Style(2001) and Excuse Me(2003). Once again I find these films funny, but I find this whole thing even funnier.

Now let us come to the greatest example of contradictions. The man who was entertainer with his works like Baazi and Aar-paar in early half of the 50s, gave the biggest tragedies of Indian cinema in late 50s. You do not qualify to be a fan on Hindi cinema if you have not seen Pyaasa(57) and Kaagaz ke Phool (59), both of them cult classics today, though one of them saw no commercial success then. Pyaasa succeeded, KKP failed, and another tragedy in Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam(as producer, in 62) followed which again was a big success. The film maker amidst all these tragedies, produced another romantic in Chaudhvin ka Chand (61), another superhit.

I so badly wanted to write something purely on cinema, with no economics or business, or marketing in it. But we are programmed in a certain way that we will apply certain concepts anywhere and everywhere. I feel that impulse to arrange that huge jigsaw puzzle which had words like market research, core competency, learning effect, forecasting, risk, probabilities etc.
Thankfully, nothing fits. This is an era of corporatization and cinema being too much market driven. But my wandering meaningless thoughts tell me that some artists have produced some of the better works of art when they defied the business principles. All the Porter’s and SWOT’s and competencies would have dictated otherwise but some people went with something that was surely more than a mere gut feeling. Market players have invested in products which would not have seemed apt if research and forecasting techniques were used. Product development and launch seem to go against popularly held logic. We are often told that we have been applying the marketing concepts subconsciously even before the theories were developed. Some players could go against these theories because something greater than the market could guide them.
There is some pleasure in learning and applying certain concepts. There is an even greater pleasure in unlearning them occasionally. Being an artist, from heart and soul, is something that generates that impulse which subconsciously contradicts the Kotlers and writes its own books, creates its own history. Results are not always favourable but the crazy genius is born when one makes these results secondary, or immaterial.

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2 Responses to The Method And The Madness

  1. puja says:

    you view things from your very own corner and easily let others have a clear insight into what your notions are…..very well written.

  2. Anuj says:

    How were u able to develop such a deep knowledge of Indian Cinema, what different or extra did u do, or did it come to you on its own. The analysis shows substantial knowledge and even greater interest in the subject. Keep up the good work.

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