Mani Kaul on Cinema

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-computer

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.

—Mani Kaul

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3 thoughts on “Mani Kaul on Cinema

  1. Thanks for the mention. Start with his first feature Uski Roti (1970)

    In the last few years, a new DVD was released of Uski Roti which is far more sharper than the old print I had seen.

    Indian Auteur had a special feature on him few years ago but I don’t think it is online anymore. It contained excerpts from Mani Kaul’s article on time in cinema which is essential reading. If I come across it, I will send it to you…

  2. You’re welcome, Sachin. Thanks for introducing me to Mani Kaul. Sadly, the only other Indian filmmaker I could think of while writing this post was Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Two of his films, Rat Trap and Man of the Story, are on Second Run DVDs.

    Re Mani Kaul’s article on time, I found this: http://archive.today/qq6Vd

  3. That’s the article. Nice work. The links I found kept redirecting me back to Indian Auteur and I got nothing. I am going to bookmark this now 🙂

    Yes, Adoor is another director a few of whose films are available both in UK and USA. I remember being able to rent his films via VHS tapes/DVD at a local store a few years back.

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