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Cam talk

Kathy Maloney's cam images underline a promising talent


HAVE GOT the hum? Should make a film then. This twenty-some girl has it. So she knows where to find the beat and make it her own. Pluck it out, format and present it to you. And spread the hum. She goes with a cam!

Here in Hyderabad from distant Berkeley (University of California) on a short Study India Programme, and having learnt to speak konchem, konchem Telugu, she discovered something more interesting than the haloed rocks of the deccan -- an exquisitely beautiful queer poet, and a mother in him!

The flick was kind of inevitable, for there he was taking a class on gay literature in India, provoking and pinching you with his beautiful voice, his swirling hands and his bespectacled taunts, his learning, his poems, his politics of body and outsideness, and a hum as free flowing and curly as his pearly beard. She approached him, gingerly she thought : "Could I make a film on you?" He closed his eyes almost in distress; how long had he waited for the right one to arrive - but gave in saying, "Yes, I guess so!"

And then it flowed, as he took her around on a wiggly journey, through the streets of Hyderabad, to his top floor apartment, to his favourite spanky restaurants, his friends, his boys and memories and poems about them, through the boulevards of the campus, and the lonely paths of his infernal nasty fights and redemptive encounters with the world and himself, and in poetry;.. "Oh boy, you have grown to be a mother from being a man... " If you have a cam, you cannot ask for more layered stuff than this.

So the flick flowed, effortlessly (that's a big word!), as she matched it with his unstoppable, unforgiving performativity. She has reason to be pleased. It is a delightful 23-minutes long film marked by a delectable flair for apposition: visuals, text and music paired beautifully in terms of mood, tempo and tone, and of course their thematic meanings and implications. And an ability for evolving motifs along with a smoothly varied narrative line. And she has done it almost all alone.

For Kathy Maloney (half American, half Korean), this is only her second film. Her first one was on the very macho motorcycle racing community in Oakland. Ethnic film is her specialisation and the way she has weaved a gay aesthetic with her own self-reflexive womanly gaze towards it in this film bespeaks of a highly promising talent.

Kathy hopes to churn out at least two films out of the footage she shot on her tiny Canon Elura handycam during her six months stay in India, one on the hill town of Mussoorie and another on her impressions of the country. And in future do lots of ethno stuff all

around the world, for after all human beings are the same everywhere!

Catch up with Kathy Maloney's Geza Poeto (that is `Gay Poet' in Esperanto, the putative universal language) at the Preview Theatre, Sarathi Studios today evening and don't forget to ask her why she subtitled it as `Mother Hoshang'.

SUMANASPATI

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