World premiere of Vikramaditya Motwane's Trapped bores on Day 6 of MAMI
Up at 8AM for the final time of this MAMI experience to make bookings for day 7, there was more than a hint of wistfulness. Soon I'd be back in smoggy Delhi, working the 9-5 grind and watching the news instead of movies. My melancholy was exacerbated when I didn't manage my first choice movie for day 7 - Manchester by the Sea (the closing film). Realising I'd be going standby, I resolved instead to focus on what day 6 had to offer.
After 5 days of navigating MAMI, you'd think I'd have got the hang of things, but, as it turns out, Mumbai traffic means you're always racing against time. Well, at least if you're like me and prefer to Uber it than take the local. Turns out it wouldn't have mattered because at the penultimate turn there was chaos. No one was obeying traffic lights and there were no cops in sight. Seeing no other way out, I decided to dash to the theatre, a fifteen-minute walk with Google Maps as my navigator.
Luckily, I found an auto on the way and made it just as the introduction to the film, Uday Shankar's restored classic Kalpana, was going on. After sitting down for the national anthem, it was time for the 1948 work of art to light up on the big screen.
Unlike yesterday's Donkey In a Brahmin Village, this one was fantastically restored. It's a dance drama and has been written and directed by Uday Shankar - a dancer himself. It's also his only film and, some would say, a cult classic.
One of India's earliest indie films, it stars both Shankar as well as his wife Amala, and marked the acting debut of a then 14-year-old Padmini. The tale is narrated through dance and is quite relevant even to this day. The film is about a young dancer and his dreams of opening up his own dance academy, a plot that mirrors Shankar's own life.
One of the best scenes in the film is when, at the end of the dance troupe's performance, the financier asks the director for money. The director doesn't bow down to his financier and, as the movie goes on, we learn that all he wants is for his art to be alive and thriving. The dancing has a charm to it, the choreography even more.
The newly restored version is about an hour longer than what was earlier available on VHS tapes and though the dancing might seem to be in excess, the whole film comes together and even though it isn't a film for the masses, a lot of film enthusiasts will be intrigued.
After a dance-heavy movie, my next movie for the day was Lis Rhodes' immersive experience Light Music.
The theatre was packed to the brim. Thankfully it was split into two batches. Screening two 16mm projections across each other is one thing. Screening them in a theatre is another. This installation is more suited for a museum. In fact, it was part of the Tate Modern in London for a couple of months in 2012.