Sunday, 7 February 2010


Picking my way through the streets of Bombay,I reached the sets of an advertising film. I was handed an SLR to bide my observation time. Being on a shoot with no assigned job is a nightmare. I was glad I had an eyepiece.
my brain cam saw a little kid at the door.
hands behind the back.
wringing fingers
shifting weight.

I have had my reservations about advertising.
It's to do with my general belief in the point of living.. I don't think we were actually meant to do much other than worry about how our food would be grown. But we are where we are,and many lives together have created the concept that we are required to live out.I read the papers everyday and am more convinced of it all the time. Like today,I read this article about a tiger in the Corbett reserve who killed this woman who strayed into the tiger reserve. The paper reported that 'the tiger seemed surprised at his kill'. The number of tigers in the reserve has been increasing. So have the tourist resorts around it.
The tiger was surprised.

So,with this whole thing about films,'the point of it' gets a bit muddled when the film's sole agenda is to sell something like a bar of soap.
Now,I hate films which are provocative... which want you to cry, get angry. They become like the high strung people sitting in your living room who want you to see their truth and accept it as an absolute. I find it very difficult to get such people out of my front door. Because there are no absolutes. There is no truth. There is your truth. And there is mine. I'd like to see your point of view and see if I fit in there. I don't want you lunging at me. Ad films lunge. A market makes use of this, to me distasteful, power of film... because it makes use of a projection of images to showcase all the things someone wants you to find desirable. Evoking lust,evoking jealousy,need,anger,guilt. And worse, evoking the stereotype.
I stared at the intricate trellis work above the set, as the riggers set the stage for this new sale.
as the actor held out her hand to catch the light for the accomplice, our projector,the camera

I watched an old man, part of the cast,sitting on his assigned chair as the gaffers set up for the next shot.
He'd come on the set with a little bag,the size of a toiletry case with a strap,the kind my grandfather carried with him whenever he was making a journey.
He made his way through all the wires and furniture and people to the other end of the space., treading carefully,so he wouldn't stumble. He set his bag on a table,took out a plastic glass and took a sip of the water he'd brought with him from home. He found a half used bottle of mineral water nearby,and refilled his plastic glass,replaced the lid. Then he took out a little tin of dried fruits and munched at them, hurriedly, looking to the sides as he tried to swallow. He probably didn't want to delay the next shot,though I knew it would be another hour before he'd be called to take his place in front of the camera. He zipped his bag, choosing carefully a new location in the midst of the jumble of wires, so it wouldn't come in the way of the set up.Then he went back to sit at the place he'd been shown to sit by the casting assistant.
And then we sold a brand new bar of soap.