Friday, August 26, 2005

It's not a cartoon yaar!

Ashok Kaul is treading on tricky turf with his new feature film Bhaggmati, which is a combination of live action and animation, a la Who framed Roger Rabit and Space Jam.
"The essence of the film is contained in a line from the film itself: 'Jo beete huey kal ko khojta hai ussey aanewale kal ka abhas ho jata hai. My film looks at life as an unbroken stream of consciousness. The live action is contemporary while the animated portions are period. Bhaggmati is not about reincarnation. In the film, I play with the past and present dimensions. I have argued both are equally alive. Even the Bhagavat Gita and Einstein's Theory of Relativity say the same thing. Our universe is a library of thoughts and actions. Nothing is destroyed. Whatever is and was will remain on this earth. There are two love stories in my film." (read interview here)
Interesting concept, will be curious to see how it pans out. Kaul goes on to explain the reason behind adopting an unusual creative format:
"Why should animation be used only for gags? I wanted to give the genre a new dimension. I was invited to New York University to lecture. One of the students asked why India made 1,000 films and hardly any animation. I decided then I would do the needful. I announced right there that I would make an intense love story rich in culture and nostalgia."
From personal experience, I think the general public in India has some unflexible *preferences* when deciding on which movie to watch. They mostly know what want in a movie, and especially what they don't want, even before stepping into the theater. Any diversion from that is usually unacceptable. Examples of some unfair notions:
  • Documentaries are boring
  • If you are watching a Black and White movie, somehow you are not getting your money's worth
  • Animation = cartoons, so it's for kids
Of course, I will be happiest if Bhaggmati works. When Space Jam came out many years ago, I dragged a few of my buddies along "it's a great concept...c'mon it's not a cartoon for kids, be open minded won't regret it". It turned out to be a damp squib. To top that, the theater was empty and even the projection booth operator was surprised anyone showed up. I hope Bhaggmati provides some redemption.

Update: Review by Rediff