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Bangalore's shorts

Collective Chaos organised a festival of short films recently



DIVERSE From recipe books to popular cinema everything figured.

Four short films made by Bangalore based filmmakers were screened at Nani Arena last week. Hugely different, they dipped for inspiration into themes as diverse as recipe books and Indian popular cinema.

Saumyananda Sahi's Stagnum revolves around the adolescent protagonist Nirav. Gauche and awkward, Nirav is still finding his feet in a world juxtaposed between contrasting and sometimes conflicting states, described in the film's introductory flyer as "adulthood and childhood, city and landscape, elite and poor, school and home". Although this film dips into events at different points in Nirav's life, the bonding point for disparate occurrences is the theme of a party. Nirav is out of place and unhappy in the party's gregarious social setting and unable to find a place within its dynamics that he can feel at home in. This seems to symbolise Nirav's larger quest to find himself a status quo and balancing point. Using water to show Nirav's submerged identity and subsequent consolidating of self and identity, the film attempts to explore the cycles that Nirav will inevitably go through in this process of discovery.

Rashtriy Kheer and Desiy Salad by visual artist Pushpamala N. is based entirely on family recipe books from the 1950s and 60s. This slick silent film has three protagonists, each playing traditional roles. There's the father who's a Lt. Colonel in the Army, forever drawing out war plans and military strategies on the drawing board — the aggressor espousing strains of nationalism and patriotism. Then there's the homebound wife, pouring through recipe books, nurturing and sustaining her family; providing soul food and the son, busy with homework and text book learning. The three use the same surface to scribble their notes, erasing and replacing with the different material that marks each of their preoccupations. Despite fast moving frames, the film allows you to actually read much of the notes being made, watching the three threads of the family weave in and out on the same surface, just as the people inhabit the same framework of their family. Eventually, recipes directing violent action such as chopping and slicing conjure up war-like images that are an integral part of the father's war plans, perhaps blurring the divergent roles between father and mother.

Dus ka Bees is Babu Eshwar Prasad's two-minute engaging and superbly edited short, capturing the moving forces behind classic, masala Bollywood by playing with shots of film posters, packing in all the drama and histrionics of mainstream Bollywood in a film that left the audience begging for more. Mungaara Mugilu (Monsoon cloud) by M.S. Prakash Babu deals with an ordinary situation that provides the ground for the real to become imaginary and what we believe to turn out false.

HEMANGINI GUPTA

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