title card

all characters in this film are fictional.

any resemblance to any person dead or live is an oversight.

the story of my fathers


a table in an editing suit, 10-15 audio cassettes all dated, ten or twelve mini-dv cassettes, some files and loose papers all lying in a carton, zoom-in. fade to black.

v. o. :(over black screen with a song playing in the background)

this date will appear in the same way in which the dates are marked on the audio tapes at the right hand top corner of the screen and linger on for sometime before fading away :-

19th april 2002

there is always a fear that tomorrow i will wake up with out a thought

tomorrow may just spring upon you without a thought

like something you didn’t want to bump into as you turn the corner

its like that sometimes

As this VO starts, scenes of the city keep coming. railway platforms, bus stations, cinema hall fronts, market places, inside of crowded bus.

but only sometimes

other times its just going to work

work is very strange

work is just sitting around

looking at people

out the window sometimes

occasional trips to the loo where i get a lot of time off

just for the view you know

i look over the rooftops of the city

ahhh…and i smoke my cigarette

with my tea and be thoughtless and have unfocused eyes

in front of me will be the haze of clear perspective

every night i lie down listening to the world

in these sounds

songs, cars, people, feet shuffling, tvs, wind

and i don’t remember a thing

all these things remind me of nothing

its such a hollow sound when it all adds up

A filmmaker is at the door of some flat, he rings the bell, the boom enters the frame and quickly exits, nothing seems to be happening on the other side. After sometime, the door cracks and a voice comes from the other side, “i don’t like to be filmed”. The guys plead but the man is adamant.

(overlapping over this will be the following )

21st august 2002

V.O:

hey wait i have to play you a song which somehow to me seems adequate for the moment

(the filmmakers voice): but you were going to tell us something

V.O:

i will, i will, with the song…

Beautiful freak by eels plays on black screen, we can overhear the filmmakers disappointment. At this point when the song hits a crescendo, a montage of badly edited snatches of 80-85 dd programs hits the screen. This lasts for a minute or so.

The song fades away and the room is revealed to us.

Window panes overlooking another flat’s wall in which a similar window is seen looking much smaller because of the distance.

V.O.:

this is something that i made with vhs footages recorded on my vcr

hard work you know

i have done lot of stupid things like this

i guess if i had some real friends i would have showed it to them

consider this my peace offering for not letting myself be shot

–the voice pauses for sometime–

A close-up of the window pane. Another close-up of a stereo system next to the window, gentle zoom on to the machine. The song from the hindi film Bazaar dikhayee diye plays on the sound track in a low volume, rising with the V.O.

22nd Aug 2002

my father used to work in the circus as an accountant

in 86 he went off with them on an all India tour

and while in Kerala a trapeze artist fell on him and he died

that was in 87 or 88

i am not sure now actually

somehow my mother seems more remember-able

but i remember this guy bringing the news of my dad’s death

i was watching saagar sarhadi’s bazaar at that point of time

the music now is in normal volume, the stereo dissolves onto a shot of a corridor where a man leans against the door frame and says finished. the television on which the film bazaar is going on.

but before he died thankfully he had bought me a television and a bicycle

there are other things that he did for me and my mother

but at that time these were the two things i valued the most

my mother took up a job and i have been living happily ever after

The school corridor with the hollow hum.

i was never that good in school

sometimes i felt like abusing everything

abuse and insult everything that kept me out of it

i was what you may call a wimp

that didn’t bother me so much

because the other guys were so desperate to be cool

i thought that was wimpy

i was just fine the way i was, getting by

and imagine that was seen as a bad thing

Rajiv Gandhi being sworn in as the PM after Indira’s death.

indira gandhi’s death was a really big event for television

there was nothing on tv but that shehnai guy, i think his name was bismillah khan

whatever

and those days i remember being really bored

i think my mother had a crush on rajiv

its one of the redeeming features about my mom

he was easily the best politician we had

he didn’t seem overly concerned

he seemed sufficiently bothered about people

looked as good as any other head of state while on foreign tours

my hero

maybe out of boredom

or maybe because of the urges to be “gora” “chitta” like Rajiv

Scenes of riots.

it was during that time that i had my first sexual experience

i was in this friends house and outside the rioters were burning this sardarji’s car

poor sardarji, the rioters also killed his Pomeranian dog

those rioters were such arseholes

anyways as all this was happening this guy

titutbhaiyya as he was known to me

made me hold his prick

all wet and sticky

and kissed me hard in the mouth

something deliciously repulsive about that memory

i like to think about it when i am really bored

Rajiv Gandhi with Amitabh Bachchan.

4th april 2003

amitabh bachchan was always a good guy

i could really understand him then

he was like a kid always treated in a particular way which was not pleasing to him

in all his films he seemed to never have gotten a break from life

i am talking about the onscreen bachchan

not the other abcl logo walla guy

onscreen, bachchan died a natural death

i was a bit sad when he made toofan anhd jadugar and ajooba and shit like that

after that bachchan got senile and paunchy

i guess i am also paunchy now but not the same way

People drinking beer and sign by ace of base playing loud.

around that time my father was working as a con artist

he also starred in a stupid amateur theatre group as othello

he died at 37 when a man from a trapeze fell on him

Asian games / L.A. Olympics video comes up on screen, silently, only the VO is heard.

20th aug 2002

to be honest i feel i am lying most of the time

my mother used to tell me that i am mad

she even forced me to see 2 psychiatrists, one de-addiction counselor

and innumerable father figure dudes who wanted to save my soul

cut to :

Father figure dudes : eminent citizens will give their assessment of the current generation.

then she gave up when one of the psychiatrists told her that

he needed to do sessions with her and not me

even i was scared that i am mad sometimes

you can never be sure that you are not mad

so i stopped thinking about it

anyway i like being the way i am whether i am mad or not

Interview chunks from krishi darshan, will keep incessantly coming over this VO.

Back to shots of Rajiv Gandhi inter cut with shots of Johnny Soko and his flying robot.

my father was a nice man

he managed to impress me without assaulting me

he kept away didn’t bother me much

if my father were a circus artist

i could have said that a trapeze artist fell on him and he died

but he didn’t

–laughs-

my father married a TV star and is settled in Kuwait right now

i don’t know what to think about him anymore

Giant robot firing missiles.

3 may 2002

Giant robot dissolves onto montage of beef factory.

v.o.:

why is it seen as such a problematic thing if a man just sits in his room

being content with himself

Grunge music plays on this sequence.Images of early nineties music videos from MTV.

when someone played Seattle grunge music to me for the first time i was amazed

i thought this kind of music is so strange here

now i think of it

i was a middle class Indian kid listening to bad music

made for white trash Americans

the streets of the city are awash with all kinds of such stupid white trash rejects

i still listen to all that stuff

it brings back fond memories of a time when i thought i will grow older and smarter

Stills from 90’s films, ads, print media etc keep flashing over this.The streets where college guys and girls are hanging out. Macdonalds kind of places, disco fronts, pubs, theks etc.

i think that from after i got out of white trash music

things have reached some sort of an impasse

i wasn’t stupid

i too read some books

in one film i saw with this film society i am with

i saw the devil tell a new vampire

that all the philosophical problems posed by his vampirism

will have their answers in the books

and he quoted a line from Rimbaud to illustrate his point

what do you say when you have nothing left to say

writing appears on screen over images of film society screenings, nandan, railway platforms, trains, metro, burra bazaar, sealdah market, inter cut with tv images of contemporary shows from television.

writing:

i will tear out all the qualities of underdevelopment that dystopic insecurities i have

i will dwell upon the possibility of making my own language

assuming that it is the majority language

the most important for human beings

the attempt is to scrape of the little image of myself that has been projected onto the vast geographical relief of the sum total of memory

when i die i don’t think i will leave any space in the world

the gap will be easily filled

well traipsing along

saying things convolutedly

because there is no other way to say it

but

inferiority as an effect is good fun

its mental s and m

my father committed suicide

you see he was a suicide artist

upon whom a trapeze artist fell

on a commercial theater stage

my father was superman and clark kent

only there were lots more alias that worked in various worlds

like amitabh bachchan, kurt cobain, rajiv gandhi , jim morrison, william burroughs,

i have seen my father with cotton stuffed all the way up his nose

i have seen him lie peacefully in the fire

ironically happy with whatever fate

he died peacefully like a stray dog

soundtrack of akira will play over this as handwritten lines scroll over the images.

filmmaker’s v.o. :

after collecting all this material from him, we were still nowhere. we knew where he lived and we knew nothing else bout him. the neighbors never talked to him, he didn’t get anything delivered to him, and he did his own laundry and housekeeping.

after having edited this much of the film we wanted to meet him again and just talk to him once again. but when we went there we realized that he never lived there. we searched out the owner of the flat who was an old lady whose children were in Germany and for whom she is supposed to be holding the flat.

this man seemed to have disappeared in thin air, and we started feeling like we had made up this man. probably there was no such man, probably we were just projecting.

images from the morgue where unidentified dead bodies are kept.

–titles over burnt pride by latyrx


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