Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mega Learning Experiment – Part 6 - Film Adventures Continue

I was going to attend my 2nd day of the Mumbai Film Festival, 2014 on this day.

I reached the venue by 10 am. I had woken up early on this day and managed to catch the morning train to the NCPA, before the rush hour crowd came in.

From 10 am to 12 am, I saw a few Canadian Animation films, a film about National Highway 39 in North East India and a film titled, ‘Mokama Fast Passenger’ about a labour contractor who has a family in the countryside and an affair with another lady in the city.

The Subtext of Anger

At 12pm, I went to the Little Theatre to watch a movie titled Subtext of Anger. It is a movie that showcases how everyday life leads to emotions like fear, anxiety, frustration, depression and most importantly stress that ultimately leads to anger.

It was directed by a Delhi based film maker Mrs Vandana Kohli. An interesting visual about a mice running in a circular exercise equipment was shown. The mice kept running and was still in the same place and did not move an inch. This was related to the present scenario where we are all constantly running to a destination, but still find ourselves in the same place.

The movie described how those parts of the mind that are involved in reflection are not being used often. Those parts related to constant engagement increasingly being used.

The several emotions related to anger were described and the common experiences leading up to them were shown. Interviews of psychologists and people that had severe anger management problems were shown.

The movie ended with ideas to create an environment that does not promote anger in an individual. This included simplicity, meditation, love, reflection and more.

The Love Story of Liv and Ingmar

In the afternoon, I decided to watch the movie ‘Liv and Ingmar’ directed by Dheeraj Akolkar. This was the story of the 42 year long relationship between legendary actress Liv Ullman and the film maker Ingmar Bergman.

The director Dheeraj Akolkar had worked on the movie Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) that was nominated for best foreign film at the Academy Awards in 2002 before this.

The movie was beautifully shot with scenes at the locations where Liv and Ingmar had lived and spent time. It was filled with interviews of Liv Ullman and her description of the relationship over time. Her grace and warmth in front of the camera helped make the viewer, look at the world from her eyes. For those two hours it was like I was with Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman, observing them over the years.

Liv described their first meeting, life in the cabin they lived in, the movies they worked in together and the ups and downs of their relationship. I knew nothing about Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman before the movie started. But by the end of the movie, it was like I had made two new friends with my intimate understanding of the life and relationship of Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman.


At 4 30 pm, I walked out of the NCPA and decided to go to the KalaGoda Arts Festival for the screening of the award winning Indian documentary, ‘The Lunchbox’ directed by Ritiesh Batra.

For the next two hours, I was again transported to the world of the Indian Lunchbox Handlers. The story is about how a mistaken delivery in mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox deliver system connects a young house wife to an older man in the dusk of his life. They have conversations through notes delivered through the lunchbox everyday.

Moonlight, Music and the Grass

After the movie, I explored the KalaGoda Arts festival stall area for the fourth or fifth time up to then. It was always a new experience doing this. Because everytime I walked around the place, there were new people, new families and new stories to learn from. I just loved observing people in natural settings. Not in a scary sort of way. But there families, couples, college students, senior citizens and more. There were people from all over India and all over the world.

Lunchbox was the story of two very ordinary people and yet so many people connected twith the story. A thought struck me. I wondered..the greatest novels and movies of our time, were not filmed or written, they were lived.

As I walked around Kala Goda, it struck me that all the people around me, have a movie or book in the way they have lived their lives. I did not have to go to a movie theatre or library to learn all the time. I just had to have conversations with people around me and learn from them and their lives.

I thought about this on a larger scale with over seven billion people on this planet with seven billion individual stories to tell. If I opened up more, I had the whole world to learn from. It was an extra-ordinary learning prospect.

I then went to the Cross Maidan where the live dance performances happened every evening. I settled down on the grass, placed my bag below my head, and looked up into the sky with the dance music playing in the background. The night sky was never filled with so many stars. I felt alive again!

Let us Learn Together
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