Mani Kaul (1944-2011) was an Indian film director of whom I’d never heard until Sachin Gandhi (@film_story) mentioned him on Twitter. Sachin’s comment was directed at the under-representation of Indian films at the Cannes film festival but the net can be cast much wider. When we think of Indian cinema today, we think of Bollywood and dancing. When we think of Indian art cinema—the “serious” side of cinema—we peer automatically to a past dominated by Satyajit Ray (director of the Apu films: Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar) and Ritwik Ghatak (The Cloud-Capped Star), a past that ended when those filmmakers died and whose tradition, we tend to believe, flickered out with them.
Mani Kaul came after Ghatak, and in fact was his student at the Film and Television Institute of India. He made both documentaries and narrative films. I’ve no idea which of his films are his most famous, but I do know that some of them are available on YouTube. For example:
YouTube user Haridas B has also uploaded several videos of Mani Kaul speaking about cinema. They’re absolutely worth watching and listening to:
Accidents happen when you shoot, and accidents are always better than what is planned.