(I do not own any rights to this video)
A private screening of documentary feature ‘Baavra Mann’ was held at Surya Palace hotel yesterday from 6:15 pm. Hurrying with the event pass obtained from Mr. Tony Kirkham, my father’s friend cum client who was one of the organizers of the event, I reached dot on six fifteen and was inside the hall, proud that I’d made it in time for once (the last time I had many heads turning as I dashed in about ten minutes late during an interactive session on alternate cinema; however, I’d like to mention here that nobody else except I asked any question relevant to the subject of discussion). The hall quickly filled up, and I took my seat after greeting Mr. Tony who, surprised by the hormonal changes in my body, exclaimed “You look like a man now! How time flies!’; the last time we met, it was a year before when I’d visited his office to ask for sponsorship, which he generously gave.
The leniency of Indians regarding punctuality did not just limit to lower or middle-class Indians but affluent Indians too, as nothing popped up on the medium-sized screen until 6:35 pm (6:15 pm – 6:45 pm was allotted for introductory remarks by the documentary’s director Jaideep Verma, at least on paper i.e. the event pass). It was at 6:45 pm that visuals began appearing on screen, however it wasn’t the documentary that was playing but a short clip on my city Vadodara. One by one, interview style close-up shots to middle-shots of entrepreneurs and the event’s organizers played as they praised the art, culture, values and lifestyle of Vadodara. Frankly, nobody paid attention to the first video because of the great Indian bustle (which involved people greeting one another like they’re blood brothers and blood sisters who are meeting after years of separation by some Berlin Wall-like thing) which eventually subdued during the second clip, which was about business opportunities and entrepreneurial freedom in Vadodara. “To hell with Barodian self-congratulatory hymns, just begin the film! Mera mann baavra ho rahaa hai (my mind is getting restless!)!” I thought.
As soon as the clips faded away, a thirty-plus bespectacled guy in a natty black waistcoat and finely ironed pants appeared on stage to host the main event finally. After usual words of praise for director Jaideep Varma, Impact Index (don’t ask me what this is. The name is scribbled in my notes for some reason), Sir Jadeja, (clueless here again; apologies for my awful memory) hotel Surya Palace, and Cognito of course (main sponsors; I learnt from dad later that the host held a higher-level position at Cognito), he went on to invite the man-behind-the-movie himself, Mr Jaideep Varma. I didn’t know anything about him except whatever was mentioned on his pass, and so like any other person, I judged him first based on his outward appearance.
He looked quite young, at least from where I was sitting, for a director who is making a film on the life and times of veteran parallel cinema director-scriptwriter Sudhir Mishra. I expected a grey-haired guy with a Mishra-like austere and scholarly look but got a bespectacled geeky-looking slightly-burly fellow in an oversized tee-shirt. He reminded me of a friend of mine who lived for two months at my neighbor’s house and came to my home everyday diligently… though uninvited (sometimes I’d wake up and find him in the living area watching television; if this were USA, he’d be charged for trespassing. Nice fellow, though).
Introducing himself as the ‘guy who made ‘Leaving Home’ documentary on the band Indian Ocean, and a former employee at an advertising agency’, Mr. Jaideep Varma then proceeded to call filmmaking as an ‘entrepreneurship’ involving team-building and execution; as Vadodara teemed with prospective entrepreneurs (absolutely true), he hoped to see more Barodians entering filmmaking in the future and coming up with new innovative ideas. He ended his introductory speech by saying that his film was not just a biopic also threw light on various other things, which he could not explain coherently for fear of spoiling the film. A surprising statement he added right at the end was that “he did not believe Mr. Sudhir Mishra had made his best yet”, but concluded by saying that “the film was not pessimistic. I hope you’d understand”. Hopes were high indeed because I was keen on how this documentary treated a scriptwriter-director who was not among the most well-known names in
the industry yet a force to be reckoned with. I’ve only seen one film of his, that too in bed when I was down with Hepatitis-A about two years ago; it was called ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’ (This bloody life) and I liked it for the most part. And I knew he had made ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’ (A Thousand Desires Like These), a highly acclaimed film and ‘Inkaar’ (Denial), a mildly bashed film. Why would Mr. Varma choose to document his life, which is hardly the talk of the town? Especially after Inkaar, which quietly faded into oblivion? Why did he not choose Mr. Karan Johar, for example, whose personal life was constantly in news? Is he or is he not gay? With Sudhir Mishra, there were no such burning questions to be resolved.
The film began.
- Baavra Mann (suryapalacehotel.com)
- How & Why I Made A Film On Sudhir Mishra, by Jaideep Varma (thew14.com)
- Watch Inkaar (2013) Online (bestmoviesnew72.wordpress.com)
- Going from strength to strength (thehindu.com)
- Sudhir Mishra: Strong women in my films are inspired by LSR students (ibnlive.in.com)