srijeda, 27. studenoga 2013.

Qaushiq Mukherjee/Q - Tasher Desh (2012)

Oslobođenje je naša ultimativna fantazija.

The story of a prince who escapes his destiny, the prison of his mind. He lands on a fascist island and incites women to revolt. A psychedelic fantasy about destiny and humanity, social control and Utopian revolution. -                                    

The film is based on a dance drama composed by Rabindranath Tagore.
Shot in 25 days with an international cast and crew on the beaches of Sri Lanka and the ruins of Bengal ‘Tasher Desh’ is all about new ideas, revolution and self liberation. The storyline goes like, in a lonely railway station, somewhere in Kolkata, a storyteller spoke to trains. He wanted to tell a story. It was not a new story. But for him, it was the only story to tell. Inside the darkness of his mind, his story unfolds a kaleidoscope of fantasy.

Once upon a time, there was a prince. A victim of his destiny, he was banished with his mother to a dark and distant prison palace. Here he grows up, without hope, without a future, with his mother drowning herself in alcohol. His depression countered only by his friend, the merchant’s son, who argues that it was indeed the prince’s choice to remain locked in. Realizing the extent of his despair, the friend invokes the Oracle. A mysterious figure, the Oracle passes on a message of liberation. The prince realizes that he is indeed a prisoner of his mind. He takes a decision, to leave. He has a final moment with his mother, who lets him go. The prince takes hold of his destiny, and sets off on a voyage with his friend, searching for an adventure.
The last feature film by Kaushik Mukherjee, ‘Gandu’ had triggered a lot of controversy in Berlin Film Festival 2011. -

I am deconstructing Rabindranath Tagore in 'Tasher Desh': Qaushiq Mukherjee

New Delhi: Director Qaushiq Mukherjee, who loves to be known only as Q, is hoping to spark a debate through his interpretation of Rabindranath Tagore`s popular dance drama `Tasher Desh`.

It took almost a decade for the filmmaker to bring `Tasher Desh` on-screen, which he says is a mash-up of Tagore`s vision and his own fantasy about the idea of liberation.
"This is one Tagore story that has fascinated me since I was a child. `Tasher Desh` is completely different from his oeuvre. He experimented a lot with this play. In fact, critics find it flawed, so it became a children`s play but it is not a children`s play. It is very political. I think, we did not get it right contextually," Q told reporters in an interview.
Q is famous for his alternative take on filmmaking with controversial but festival favourite projects like `Love In India` and `Gandu`.
His documentary `Love In India` did win a national award but the director, whose films are high on erotic content, continues to fight with censorship in the country.
He is entering the realm of mainstream cinema through `Tasher Desh` for the first time and Q admits that it is an experiment for him.
The filmmaker is also aware that his interpretation of Tagore, who is a revered figure in India and especially in Bengal, will have many raised eyebrows but Q says he loves stirring up a debate.
"I am a Bengali and I know that we are very possessive about Tagore. We don`t celebrate him, we worship him. But I feel every great artist`s work should be deconstructed. Our culture does not allow this for various reasons, so I am prepared for the reaction and debate. The idea is to unsettle people and that`s why we are putting it out in the mainstream," Q said.
`Tasher Desh` has been produced by National Film Development Corporation Ltd, Overdose Joint, Anurag Kashyap Films Pvt Ltd, Dream Digital Inc and Belgium`s Entre Chien et Loup. The NFDC presentation got a select release today in Mumbai and Kolkata.
Tagore`s story revolves around a banished prince who
embarks on an adventure and arrives in a country of cards, where they are to be punished for not following rules. The prince ends up creating a revolution in women cards through love and music.
In his interpretation Q has introduced a storyteller lost in his story besides the prince and other characters.
"Liberation is our ultimate fantasy but it is not possible for so many reasons. The idea is very alluring as a filmmaker so I wanted to go there. It is a story of breaking rules, about change."
Heavily influenced by Japanese dance drama Kabuki, Q says he has reprocessed Tagore`s vision in a quirky way.
"The film is influenced by Kabuki. I am a huge fan of Japanese sub-culture, films, writers and Manga comics. I wish I was a Japanese."
Q has retained the songs that Tagore wrote but has experimented with the music by bringing together musicians from around the globe including names like Susheela Raman, Sam Mills, Eric Truffaz, Moog Conspiracy, Tanmoy Bose, Sahana Bajpai, Arijit Chakraborty and Seth Blumberg.
As someone who came to cinema from advertising, Q says he is well-versed with market forces but does not want his craft to be dependent on profit.
"There is no distribution network for independent cinema in our country. There is no medium where you can show your work without censorship and in a cost effective manner.
"In our case, we raise funds through the European model. In Europe, films are seen as part of the culture and the filmmakers have the benefit of government funds. They are not valued by box office. If everything is driven by market then why make a film, I would rather make a scooter," Q argues.
He credits documentary filmmakers for fighting to bring a change in the distribution set-up besides indie directors.
The director is currently working on cinema-documentary `Saree`, an untitled project and a horror film called `Ludo`.
He is also working with Bengali superstar Prosenjit. -

How Kaushik ‘Q’ Mukherjee Tricked Out Tagore’s ‘Tasher Desh’

August 22, 2013 by
Bengali filmmaker Kaushik Mukherjee aka Q (Love in India, Gandu) has in several interviews described Tasher Desh (Land of Cards), which will be released on Friday, August 23, as “Tagore on acid”. It remains to be seen what Rabindranath Tagore-worshipping Bengalis, especially those born and raised in the motherland, will have to say about that. After all, Q has taken on one of Tagore’s most popular dance dramas, which, the director says, is performed in almost “every neighbourhood, every puja, every picnic, every school festival or any other festival and we have lots of them”. The play, which can be read as an allegory on any system of tyranny from casteism to fascism, follows an adventurous prince and his friend. The two wash up on an island inhabited by imperious soldiers dressed as cards. The pair is banished but before leaving the prince manages to spark a sexual revolution among the women. Q, 40, who after Gandu has acquired a reputation for being a radical filmmaker, told us why his kabuki-inspired, sexually fraught interpretation of Tasher Desh might end up ruining the story for future generations of Bengali kids.
You’ve said that for Tasher Desh the production of the film is more important than the narrative.
The text is incidental. It’s another form altogether, which I think classic critics did not quite understand. But it was clearly not meant for children. It’s a very political play. Tagore himself had come back from Germany (in 1930) where he was feted and much lauded for being a super cool guy. Then there was the rise of Hitler. Amongst other authors he also got banned in Germany. He (Tagore) went to Italy during the rise of Mussolini as well. So he saw the Third Reich going up. These are all incidental (to the play) but for me these are crucial to the logic of where it’s coming from.
How did Tasher Desh become a children’s play?
Because no one got it. There have been serious productions of Tasher Desh as well. But not (addressing it) in its entirety. It embodies politics, the human spirit, the circumstances and destiny playing a part in the decisions that you take, looking at humanity in general and conjuring up the fantasy of a bloodless, unique revolution, which is through love and music.
It is a women’s liberation movement that happens and the women use their sexuality to achieve that liberation. Tagore was a highly moralistic, romantic poet. So in his circumstances he could just go that far. I could then take off on that initial ground and build. And I’m amazed that what he predicts in 1933 became reality in the 1960s – women roaming around naked on the streets with flowers in their hair singing songs. The 60s revolution, the flower power generation and hippie logic, the idea of peace being central to revolution were actually predicted in Tasher Desh.
When were you introduced to Tasher Desh?
When I was a kid. I don’t remember exactly when. (I was impressed) most of all by this two disc LP of Tasher Desh, which my dad had bought. That was something I lived with. I knew (the songs) by heart.
All your films have in various ways dealt with the idea of sexuality.
I think social identity is linked to one’s sexuality. It is an intrinsic part of understanding who you are. So without accessing the sexual politics you cannot place yourself in your immediate society. The most important form of social control is through sexuality, which is why we are such a repressed country. And till we really confront this I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere.
Tell us about the look of the film.
There’s a lot of kabuki influence, a lot of graphic art influence from Japan. Another huge thing was that design played such a crucial role in the structuring. For instance, when you see the tash soldiers for the first time, there are these strange camera movements. We shot on low fi 7D and 5D cameras. We were like slum kids who don’t know grammar. But we know also, like every slum kid knows, that what we have is flawed and we had to make the best of it. These series of cameras have a rolling shutter issue. So when you move the camera quickly the image gets destabilised. It’s a problem with the camera. We cranked up shutter speed so it would happen and really moved fast and whatever happened because of that created chaos. And we used that as an effect. So we’re doing a magical, fairy fantasy thing without any CGI.
How relevant is Tasher Desh in the current political climate?
It’s exactly the same story everywhere in the world. The kind of unrest, the feeling of revolt, the feeling of dissent is getting more and more every day. The entire Snowden episode…there is something going on. But it’s allegory. You won’t get any real stuff from this. It’s a poem. It’s less of a film, more of a poem, more of a song, more of an installation.
Costumes play a major role in Tasher Desh. How did you want them to look?
It must look like it’s happening now but it also has to be timeless. So (for example) the guards of the palace are dressed like (how) guards of palaces dressed 300 years ago but they’re wearing sneakers. That is Tabasheer Zutshi’s work. The prince and the friend are dressed in the way you would be dressed currently in the hippest part of London. But they’re hanging out in a castle full of women in white saris and palace guards wearing sneakers and playing table tennis.
Tell us about the process of putting together the soundtrack.
There were very specific things that I wanted. For instance, we couldn’t change a note of the original songs (written and set to music by Tagore). And every great artist that I wanted to work with on this album (is featured) – Susheela Raman, Asian Dub Foundation, Erric Truffaz…
You realise you could ruin Tasher Desh for generations of kids to come.
That would be amazing. If after this, Tasher Desh productions go down 90 per cent you know who to call. I hate the Rabindra dance they do. -


Rap i pornografija iz indijskog slama.
Proces modernizacije Indije nije očit samo u ekonomskim indeksima, već i u kulturi potkontinenta – jedan od takvih primjera jest i Q, redatelj koji je već od prvog filma optuživan, koliko i hvaljen za unošenje zapadnjačke dekadencije u načelno konzervativnu, tradicionalističku scenu Kalkute. Drugim riječima, ako je klasični bollywood bio namijenjen lokalnim kinodvoranama rasutima i po najmanjim selima, filmovi kao što je ‘Gandu’ namijenjeni su.. pa, u najmanju ruku Berlinu, gdje je ovaj premijerno prikazan.
Tipična je to, furiozna post-’Trainspotting’ saga o prljavom urbanom životu, no umjesto droge (koja dolazi tek u zadnjoj trećini, u velikom stilu), glavni poroci naših antijunaka su hip hop i pornografija. Gandu se, onda kada ne džepari za preživljavanje ili gubi vrijeme rokajući se s frendom, vozačem rikše opsjednutim Bruceom Leejem, hvata mikrofona i u konačnici seksa pred kamerom (nekoliko hard core porno scena, nevjerojatno eksplicitnih, posebno za indijske prilike). Upravo su spotovski, rap segmenti ono što ga veže uz klasičnu bolivudsku formu, samo ovdje ispunjenu crossover hip hopom prepunim sočnih tekstova.
Na trenutke šizofreno naporan, na trenutke jednostavno briljantan, ‘Gandu’ je primjer novog indijskog vala koji ćete voljeti i mrziti u isto vrijeme. I neka ga.
(Vjerovali ili ne, cijeli je na YouTubeu! Pa gledajte dok je još tu!) - Velimir Grgić

Love In India (2009)


Nema komentara:

Objavi komentar