Three Films By Mani Kaul

Ratik Asokan at The Current:

In 1968, soon after he graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Mani Kaul made an arresting short titled Forms and Designs. It observes artisans at work across the country, some swimming alone against the tide of mass production, others pitched up at government centers for handicraft revival. Several times the camera tilts from hands chiseling (or painting or weaving) up to faces gathered in concentration. There is an admiring sequence on village cooperatives. These are set beside dour images of industrial machines and advertisements for home appliances, as a starchy voice warns that the “wheels of mechanization” are accelerating. “He is the last in his family,” it’s said of eighty-five-year-old Imtiaz Ali Khan. “With his passing, the art of brass engraving will wither away.”

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