wiki:Mani R. Kaul

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Kaul, Mani R. (b. 1942)

Director born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Graduate from University of Jaipur (1963) and from the FTII (1966) where he was taught by Ghatak. Nephew of Mahesh Kaul. Often acted in Film Institute student films in the mid-60s, and appeared as actor in Basu Chatterjee’s Sara Akash (1969). Received Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship (1974-6). Part of the YUKT Collective that made Ghashiram Kotwal. Prominent cultural activist and organiser, often making common cause with Shahani in efforts to extend the range of Indian film cultures, and significant teacher of a new generation of FTII graduates, some of whom became key members of his film unit. First film, Uski Roti, is a cinematic exploration of narrative space and volume, defining much of New Indian Cinema’s formal vocabulary. Since Satah Se Uthata Admi, based on Hindi poet G.M. Muktibodh, made features on e.g. Dhrupad music and on terracotta artisans, emphasising improvised reconstruction of available material. Edits his colour films first in b&w, having printed every single take. Later work strongly influenced by his study of Dhrupad music with Ustad Zia Mohiyuddin Dagar and of Anandvardhan’s Dhwanyaloka, a 9th C. Sanskrit text on aesthetics exploring states of conscious perception while positing language as possessing a specific, suggestive dimension beyond its denotative or metaphoric faculties. Developing aspects of classical music theories, particularly the Sangeet Samay Saar (14th C.), Kaul emphasises the value of what is absent - the varjit, the forbidden - as perennially in ‘argument’ (vivadi) with what is narratively present. The evanescent moment of creation is posed at the point where human action simultaneously registers what exists and in the process, produces something unprecedented. His elaborate theory of contemporary aesthetic practice, ‘Seen From Nowhere’, was presented in the cultural historian Kapila Vatsyayan’s seminar Inner Space, Outer Space (Indira Gandhi National Centre For Art) and published in the book Concepts of Space: Ancient and Modern. Among various non-Indian sources, has drawn from haiku poetry, the nouveau roman, mannerist painting, Bresson and Ozu. Recent return to fiction cinema draws mainly from Dostoevsky (Nazar, Idiot). Refused to sign the documentary Historical Sketch of Indian Women during the Emergency when its producers, Films Division, required him to change the last shot and the commentary.

FILMOGRAPHY: 1967: Yatrik (Sh); 6.40 p.m. (Sh); Homage to the Teacher (Sh); 1968: Forms and Design (Doc); 1969: Uski Roti; 1970: During and after Air Raid (Doc); 1971: Ashad Ka Ek Din; 1973: Duvidha; 1974: The Nomad Puppeteers (Doc); 1975: Historical Sketch of Indian Women (Doc; uncredited); 1976: Chitrakathi (Doc); Ghashiram Kotwal; 1979: Arrival (Doc); 1980: Satah Se Uthata Admi; 1981: Desert of a Thousand Lines (Sh); 1982: Dhrupad; 1984: Mati Manas; 1988: Before My Eyes (Doc); 1989: Siddheshwari; Nazar; 1991: Idiot; 1994:The Cloud Door (Sh).