Tuesday, February 10, 2009

some bubbles burst, some are still floating around

Corporate job, alcohol, table tennis, blogging, cricket, poetry, teaching, video rental store, general store, accu-pressure, yoga, drugs, sex, affairs, violence, drudgery, tantra, mantra, rings, numerology, boredom.

Mummy said when she saw 'Luck by Chance' - "It's about all of you, the struggle."

The word 'struggle' implies a fight for some noble cause. And while, 'the strugglers' are noble enough in their faith, their optimism, their belief that some day things will work out for them, what is the fight for?

To be rich enough to order food from Mainland China and buy a diamond ring for your wife?
To be successful enough to ride in an air conditioned car with tinted glasses?
To be able to reject one film and accept another?

Romy Rolly, the producer, after years of success, still struggles to make his next film.
Zafar Khan, the superstar, faced with a rival, suddenly begins to see the end of his reign.
Friends who are working, are unhappy with their work and those they work for.
Friends who are not working, are unhappy with those who are working.
Sona accepts that she is happy acting in television, she is happy once she accepts that she will never be a heroine.

But what will happen the next day, and the day after that? When she finds that even in television, the better roles go to the prettier girl, even if she is a bad actress? That the prettier girl gets paid at least 5 times more than her, that the prettier girl gets the better makeup room, the better hotel room, while she has to share a room with the hairdresser, that the prettier girl gets mineral water and food of her choice on set, and she is served tap water from who knows where. And yet, does Sona have a choice to be anything but happy?

A filmmaker friend recently said to Teja, "I'm going to make only commercial films now." Yes, you can make a choice to make commercial films, if you know the stars and the CEOs of the production houses. But if you don't, can you do anything but make a low-budget film without stars and probably, without release? Or worse, sit at home, wondering what you should do with yourself.

Corporate job, alcohol, table tennis, blogging, cricket, poetry, teaching, video rental store, general store, accu-pressure, yoga, drugs, sex, affairs, violence, drudgery, tantra, mantra, rings, numerology, boredom.

Meanwhile, Dhiraj, a bright little boy we shot with last year for the Canadian Broadcasting documentary program 'India on the Move', continues to do well at school. His mother who was a garment worker in Bangalore lost her job due to ill health caused by ulcers and now works as a housemaid.

And I wonder if the bubble boy I shot in 2002, is still around on Juhu beach, and how he is doing.


Anonymous said...

Have you seen it yet? I am dying to.

Lovely post. Struggle is so subjective!

Congrats to your batch mate for his BAFTA :)

Anonymous said...

Well, it's all about what you want to do when you wake up in the morning, isn't it? Most people do whatever puts food on the table. Some people do whatever makes them happy while putting food on the table. And a tiny fraction do whatever makes them happy. Period.

The dream is always the third, but option #2 is way better than the alternative.

Which is why any form of art is always a privilege.

Banno said...

Memsaab, Yes, I did. It's got lovely characters, Rishi Kapoor walks away with the film. Definitely worth a watch.

Amrita, yes, absolutely right. Films is just that much more difficult, because in the reality of its making, it's very rarely art, or even fun, or even a pleasant form of doing whatever you need to do. The stakes are high, but the trouble is once you burn yourself, you very rarely want to give up that masochistic pleasure of being burnt.

Anonymous said...

I adore you for documenting that!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...thank you for that. For the recommendation (I have added a mental note: see Luck by Chance), for the film (excellent), and for the thought (which I can identify with totally, since I realised a year back that the struggle was eating me up and leaving me half-dead. Since then I've decided being poor and happy but doing what I want to is more fulfilling than trying to be fastest rodent in the rat race).

dipali said...

I suppose somewhere one has to choose to be happy anyway.
Yes, I loved Romy Rolly too:)

Banno said...

Labiamajora, thank you!

Dustedoff, yes, I'd rather be poor and happy too. The fact is I wouldn't know how to run the race even if I tried. I'd probably start daydreaming halfway through.

Dipali, Oh yes!

Scribblers Inc said...

now how do I see the movie? could have put a spoiler alert no! :[

Scribblers Inc.

P.S.-Its a glum day due to rains last night. Its a great writeup yada yada.

Banno said...

Scribblers Inc., Hey, sorry!

Anonymous said...

This is quite simply the best written reaction to Luck By Chance I have come across, and I seriously doubt I'll see one better. And it is all the more beautiful for being so tangential and so personal.

I guess what it takes to find some measure of happiness is that little interval of time when you feel like you're running the race only with yourself. Often, this happens when you don't have the luxury of not having to worry about the competition :-)

Sona is probably in that stage at the end of the movie. But maybe, just maybe, she'll figure out that running the race only with yourself is really a matter of learning to look ahead of and not around you.


Mukul said...

lovely post, banno.

anja said...

saw luck by, don't get me started on all the stuff it raked up in my mind..its tough to be away from it all, somewhere what Sona said in the end made the most sense, you have to choose to be happy. We all have unfulfilled desires that can eat away at us or we can choose to be more practical..anyway loved the performances of many of the supporting cast myself, tell me you didn't love Juhi with her God bless God bless, she is adorable. Mainly wanted to comment and say I loved bubble boy a lot, made me cry when you asked him ghar ki yaad aati hain and he took a long pause. This is the stuff I miss filming in Mumbai, just the simple stories of people struggling and finding ways to survive in the city.

Anonymous said...

Loved your film (Luck By Chance, too) - all those little kids who do back-breaking work at an age when we were still playing and arguing with our parents about how much TV we could watch! Well, one at least might win the Kaun Banega Crorepati, if Danny Boyle is to be believed...

As to the struggle, its never ending whether you achieve success or taste failure. The eternal ninyaanve ka pher - there is always this magic and elusive 100 that you want to reach. Its just that some people learn to let go of their dreams and ambitions more easily than others and perhaps Sona is one of those. For my part, I've always thought that being rich means that one can be miserable in comfort but I will just have to miserable in less comfort!

Anonymous said...

Your docu is really great..! very good...! As for OUR luck by chance... waiting....!
"Best of Luck"

karrvakarela said...

i like how meticulously he stacks the little bottles. it's humbling to see how hard some of these kids work for a living.

Banno said...

Celluloidrant, yes, and also the luxury of not worrying about the rent, gas, electricity and BILLS in general. :-)

Mukul, thanks.

Anja, thanks for your comment. There's so much that you don't say, and I long to know. But maybe you'll write about it.

Bollyviewer, Thanks. Yes, it's miserable in less comfort for me too. ;-)

Pu, waiting, waiting, waiting. At least, we are in it together. What?

Karrvakarela, yes, I loved that too, the way his stall came up.

Toonfactory said...

Loved your analogy Banno. One scene that shook me was when Zafar's SUV is surrounded by the poor kids, camera revolves and we see him seeing his own image in the tinted glasses...Well we all struggle...and we all have our dream Bubbles....loved the short film & the spirit :)


Nice post. Even though it has nothing new to offer, it's a highly watchable film Zoya is on home turf here and it shows.
Keep writing :)

Pitu said...

I second Ramsu. Such an utterly beautiful post. And so true.

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