Oni Magazine

Quote Of The Week: I

Oni Magazine
Quote Of The Week: I

"But I find that this way of traveling, very slowly, builds up the film in my mind, much better. When I don't write scripts. That's another great problem. It is now, more and more, that television and other agencies in India would not accept a project unless you've written some sort of a script. And I just give them two or three pages and then I go on a location hunt and then I start working. And I really improvise. My shots are never planned. Even if I have visited a location, I just try to absorb that location in my mind. But I never think of setting up the camera at a certain angle and planning a certain shot, imagining how the particular potters, or whatever, behave. Whether it'd be evening or morning. I like to respond to the tone of shooting and organize my material bit by bit. 

In the absence of a script, my first way of cohering the film is to understand, after I have done my location work, as to how I am going to map out my journey, you know. I mean, often, of course, the sequences change later on and I'll tell you why, but it is very important for me to understand this particular thing, this particular idea, or this particular emotional response that I have towards pottery is going to take place in this location. I mean, if it doesn't become concrete in my mind, that in fact, it is going to take place in this village or this house[sic]. I must have this concretely in my mind. I get very anxious if I am very uncertain as to where I am going to show the pottery being made, where I am going to show, say it's cleaned and to be baked. I must know exactly where. But then, of course, the nature of shots are such that when you put the whole thing together[sic]. Initially, when you have an assembly, the shots have a lot of mobility because they discover their own context or position. But as they go on-- As I go on editing, I, of course, the shots then become a little immobile. They don't move. And I begin to feel that I am feeling the structure. Which means I am also against the idea of developing a structure of a film before it has been made. I really like to arrive at one. And, as you saw in Mati Manas, it follows a very old tradition in India.

The tradition is that you have a story, and within that story, the characters will think of another story, and within that story, the characters will further think of another story. So, it is in a sense, a way of layering in which you would go into a deeper layer, to go into a deeper layer. So, in many of the stories used for, for example, explaining certain philosophical principles (because you have philosophical texts that have stories that sort of illustrate the philosophical point of view). They will pose a problem, somebody lost, and somebody, for instance, with the knowledge is the part or an action. And before the person can answer, he says "I'll tell you a story". And you're taken into another scene where there are character similar situations because he is telling him there was somebody else who had faced a similar problem. And then they will go into the problem a little deeper, and one of those characters will talk of another story.

This is a very popular structure in India, and I think it's also a resource for improvisation. If you don't have a structure or script, moving from A to B to C. If you have something that goes deeper and comes back to the level B, again goes to level C, just makes a reference to A, goes into D. It is a, trying to be present at every circle, at every time. Instead of moving in a line. And I like this very much" -- Mani Kaul