Wednesday, July 06, 2011

In Remembrance: Mani Kaul

Sad news emerged today that Mani Kaul, one of India's greatest film directors, passed away at the age of 66. His name is hardly familiar in the West and even in India, his films remain out of reach for most Indians. Kaul's features are available through various sources on the internet but DVDs of his films are next to impossible to find. As per Chidananda Das Gupta in his book Seeing is Believing hardly any film of Mani Kaul was "released in public theatres" in India. So this means a few generations of Indians have never seen anything by him. Not surprizingly, knowledge of his films is almost non-existent in the wider global cinematic sphere.

Thankfully, some articles and websites are keeping his legacy and memory alive.

  • Indian Auteur has done an excellent job in discussing Kaul's films and writing. Here are two articles on their website, with the first being an essential read because it was written by Kaul himself:
    Beneath the surface: Cinematography and Time
    Call Money or Mani Kaul

  • Srikanth at The Seventh Art has a wonderful post about Mani's films and also has a collection of writings and interviews.

  • Catherine Grant also has a nice round-up at Film Studies for Free.

  • Hopefully, a global retrospective of Mani's films is done and a clean DVD transfer of his films is finally realized.


    Sam Juliano said...

    Sachin: I join you in mourning this towering giant of Indian (and world) cinema, whose untimely passing has left a void for those who have been fortunate enough to experience his cherished work over the past years. I had read that Kaul was a student of the Bengali Ritwik Ghatek, one of my favorite filmmakers. But with his lack of accessibility a stumbling block, it is hoped his passing will allow the vaults to open. You've done a loving job in providing links and literature in negotiating this seminal figure.


    Sachin said...

    Thanks for kind comments Sam. I also hope that more of his films will now be available on DVD. If that were to happen, then that will mean his older film prints will be cleaned up.