SARAH AHMAD | 2 JULY, 2016
Almost impossible to keep my mind still, it wanders to places of the West, it escapes to windless dreams, at one moment the screen stares back at me, the next I stare elsewhere. To the right corners of the burnished floor, to the creamy whites and lavender bottle caps, green pens and wired, tired, electric claims. I open a window, close another, I draw the curtains, I stare, I stutter; imperfect, crumpled, pasted clothes, I catch a glance of words I see, this and that, and all of it is only me. I am disconnected, half there, wandering, lost, not to be found, the social web has devoured me, the wilful screams have immersed its head in it, I am, you are, locked inside, a doubt erased, a problem arisen. I type an ‘I’ again, and ‘am’, these words again, a rant; revolting, molten, letters of metamorphosis. This art is also to be practiced, to be seen, oddly so, heedless, unguided, this art of whims, wills and fancies.
We look to drama, and look to chaos, the city streets are all we see, opaque are the surroundings when the traffic snarls, the people scream, the hawkers line a trail, yet art flickers on screens and brings forth theatrical lives. While one part of the city dresses up in a bizarre market place, another rallies to days of drama, action and light. The 7th Jagran Film Festival opens its doors to the Cine fan in us, through the months of July, August and September, with cinema appreciation workshops and screenings of films from around the world. The festival travels to sixteen towns around India, beginning in Delhi in the first week of July and culminating in Mumbai in September, with stops in cities like Lucknow, Varanasi, Hisar, Ranchi and Indore, to name a few. The festival aims to generate a discussion on World Cinema and its impact on society and popular culture.
Stories from Cuba like Habanastation, a daring dramatization of the class differences in Cuba and a touching tale of a young boy’s awakening to those differences, Adventures of Juan Quinquin, a film set in pre-revolutionary Cuba, the film bringing together various movie genres like Western, war, slapstick, musical, gangster, to an eclectic range of Indian films from around the country like, Do Aankhen Baarah Haath, Cholai, Chathuram, Waiting, Nishant, Cinemawala, Zinda Bhaag, and many more, to stories from around the world like The Patriarch - a drama about Maoris from New Zealand, Sum of Histories- from Netherlands, about love, time travelling, and a life changing choice, to documentaries, thrillers and action films from Greece, Canada, Romania, Italy, Chile and Algeria.
This purple mug I hold, cream, coffee and sugar, in me, drowning, darkness falls, it fills me up, this here, and that there, those stories that unfold in another part, whimsical, eccentric, passionate tales of art and heart. Four Artists, from four different parts of India, come together, to present Khusrau Ke Rang, showcasing their love for music, poetry and storytelling. This musical narrative explores the relationship between Amir Khusrau, the 13th century Sufi poet from India, and his spiritual master Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
Broken into pieces, like the day light, together, like lava, drifting, like time, this moment into minutes of laughter, music and comedy. Atelier Theatre Company brings to the theatre aficionado an eccentric tale, which develops into a tragicomedy where the comedian asks the audience the meaning of ‘Seekh Kebab’, unable to answer, he takes the audience into a journey through hilariously insane and pathetically sane characters, sharing their tales with the audience, like never before. Seekh Kabab, a play to be staged at the India Habitat Centre, is about that moment, when you will laugh or maybe not.
From diverse films and quirky theatrical lives, poetry and verses about life, the city becomes a canvas to be painted on; strokes of humour, fiction, fact, melody, mayhem, history, becoming stories echoing within quiet spaces.
Random, tandem, clouded, my mind made up of machines, this right to find out, to make, to fix to be old and free. Walking this distance, upon colourful Palanquins, forests of people and arenas of life, this drama, this question, may be answered now, forever, to be sealed. My mind wanders still, from this thought to that thing to do, to this keyboard to that film, from green courts to orange moons; we are aimless wanderers.
7th Jagran Film Festival- From the 1st of July at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi, culminating in Mumbai, end of September
Khusrau Ke Rang, Stories of Murshid, Songs of Mureed- at India Habitat Centre, 3rd of July, 7:00 pm
Seekh Kebab, a play- at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, 7th of July, at 7:30 pm