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Breaking Boundaries…

August 26, 2009

Music and Cinema have always had a special place in Arts. The latter depends on music to convey the emotion of every image that flashes on screen. No wonder we find it extremely eerie if there’s no proper background score in a film. What if the movie itself is about music especially the kind which isn’t what you see on M TV or Channel V? It must be unique. That was the primary reason why I decided to attend the film appreciation program here in Hyderabad last week.

Geothe Zentrum-Hyderabad organised a film appreciation program named “Breaking Boundaries” from 18-21 August 2009. Sridala Swami, a film expert conducted these sessions while screening some remarkable movies which deal with several issues like identity, culture, music. The four day event had an interesting list of movies to be screened.

1. “Buena Vista Social Club” by Wim Wenders
2. “Crossing the Bridge” by Fatih Akin
3. “Jahaji Music” by Surabhi Sharma
4.” Had Anhadh” by Shabnam Virmani

Buena Vista Social Club: Wim Wenders goes on a trail to find the forgotten legends of Cuban music in Havana. After days of research and talking to people around, he forms the “Buena Vista Social Club” with these legends. They perform in couple of concerts, one in Amsterdam and another in New York.

The film, as we were told, was one of the first documentary/feature film which used digital film making technique and in that sense it’s very unique. The essence of Havana, Cuba is wonderfully captured on screen and the whole film has these musicians reminiscing about their past, their influences and their style of music. The best part about the documentary are the people it captures and their banter!

Crossing the Bridge: Directed by Fatih Akin, Crossing Bridges is set in Istanbul, Turkey and tries to capture the essence of Turkish music from various perspectives. There’s Hip Hop, Break Dance, Rap, Turkish Classical music, Street Music. Stunningly narrated and picturised, Fatih Akin also fiddles with some serious issues like the dilemma Turkey faces about its identity. The musicians talk about their influences majorly from the USA but point out the differences like the content of their songs and music. There’s pain and joy concocted in almost everything they sing. It also makes a political statement as seen through the eyes of the Kurds, street musicians. A must watch…you will have an unstoppable urge to fly to Istanbul the moment you finish watching this feature film.

Jahaji Music: Directed by Surabhi Sharma, the film is set in Carribean Islands mainly in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. Surabhi and Remo Fernandes travel to the Carribean to understand how the Indians ,sent as labourers over 150 years ago, have managed to keep the music alive. Music takes a slightly backseat in this documentary, but it’s a wonderful story about how easily the Indians had become a part of the Carribean and yet maintain a sense of belonging to India at some level. The streets becomes the stage for many Carribeans as they get together almost every night and indulge in singing and dancing. On the other hand, people of Indian origin have had a huge Carribean influence in almost everything, their music, lifestyle. No wonder, it’s slightly shocking to see them dancing and singing songs which would have been utterly despised had it been India. And if you come across songs like “I want an Indian man…”, “Careless Driver…” do listen to them because they are so damn funny!

Had Anhadh: One of the four short films shot by Shabnam Virmani as a part of her “Kabir Project”, this documentary explores how the music of Kabir has been kept alive by musicians across India and Pakistan. An inspiring and deeply moving story, this documentary is one of the best I have ever seen. Highly recommended for everyone!

Crossing the Bridge and Had Anhadh were my favourites and I am sure you would love them too if you get a chance to watch these wonderful films. Ahh…I wonder why I never got addicted to music…

P.S: I met some very interesting people here…and for that I will always remember this event…:)

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