Posted On Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 09:08:17 AM
My friend Shabnam was on the phone earlier this week, enthusing about a film appreciation course she is coordinating. ‘The larger the group the more stimulating the experience.
I hope you will be there.’ ‘Don’t think so,’ I replied, ‘snowed under with things to do.’ ‘Give it a thought, you’ll really be missing something. It’s for three days… a good intro to the medium of film. You’ll get to learn ways of looking at and thinking about cinema.’
‘I’m sure it will be super but my life is full at the moment and anything added will not get space enough to be appreciated.’
‘Have it your way…but you’ll be missing a stimulating three day encounter and sharing with Prof Suresh Chabria. ’
‘Oh, you mean Suresh Chabria?’
Now that’s a name that occupies quite a special place in the hearts of sensitive movie watchers…yes, he really knows more than a lot of folk about cinema and ways of seeing and experiencing a film. A long time back he taught Political Science at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, then went on to join the Film and Television Institute of India here in our city, as Professor of Film Appreciation.
Of course he was Director of the National Film Archives of India here for seven years in the 1990s and did a heck of lot during that time like initiating several restorations and getting a number of events going that showcased Indian film heritage.
Apart from that he’s written reams on cinema in India and abroad and written a book, Light of Asia: Indian Silent Cinema 1912-1934 which is perhaps the most authoritative publication on the subject. ‘And here he is offering a stimulating and engaging workshop on film appreciation,’ I thought to myself, ‘and I have already piled up half a dozen reasons why I can’t go…even though I am so smitten by the medium.’
What’s it with us Pune folk? Are we so busy going around in circles that we don’t have time to do enriching stuff? What’s it with us that we don’t really value the amazing people who live and work in our city? This is the film basket of the country…here’s where many a cinematic master has been made and groomed.
‘Hey, are you still there?’ Shabnam Sukhdev’s voice came at me like an air raid siren, making me scramble for cover in a trench-load of excuses. ‘Yes, I am,’ I replied.
‘Okay then think about it and spread the word.'
‘That’s a long time.’
‘Time passes in Suresh’s company, believe me. The subject areas are interesting. You’ll be introduced to some historical subjects such as Indian film styles, different types of filmmaking with examples of documentary and experimental films and a lot else. And what’s more, each day’s programme will conclude with a screening of an important feature length film. So are you coming? Okay won’t push you into a corner. Just spread the word…’