Resonances brings together two very different films on music. Rasikapriya is a contemplation on Indian classical music drawing on the fact that the classical arts in India are deeply linked whereas Word Within the Word locates folk singers in the Malwa region who sing the Sufi poetry of Kabir, Gorakhnath and other poets.
Director: Arun Khopkar
English (subtitled); 30 min; 2000; India
Rasikapriya is a cinematic exploration—the camera's desperate attempt to "see" music. The journey becomes a meditation on Indian rock paintings, sculpture, nature and cities, and what the camera manages to create is a canvas of vivid calligraphic designs that often allude to poetry and rhythms of Indian classical music. The terminology of Indian classical music like Khayal and Dhrupad are examined through this canvas. The perfect cinematic gesture is perhaps created when architecture, monumentality, pillared arches, the curve of the rock caves or the drop of waterfall meets a musical moment and we realize that both abstraction and concreteness have emerged from generations of influences.
Sabad Nirantar (Word Within the Word)
Director: Rajula Shah
English (subtitled); 74 min; 2008; India
The film looks at how the Word lives, resonating ordinary lives across centuries. Beginning from an everyday cloudy monsoon morning in the city of Bhopal, it travels to Malwa, Madhya Pradesh, the hub of tribal India that is also known as the second home to Pt. Kumar Gandharva, one of the greatest musicians of our time. Here, within the fast altering fabric of a challenged rural life we encounter common people, age-caste-gender regardless, fighting hard to earn a square meal daily, yet keeping music alive at the bosom of a gnawing fate. Far beyond the scope of any intellectual resolve, it is at once a refusal to die, and more significantly, a bid to seize eternity from historic annihilation.
Sabad Nirantar is a crucial gateway to the India we are fast forgetting, one that is difficult to classify and categorize but simpler to understand if you hear its common folk talk. It is this human landscape within which one can aspire to come to terms with one's contemporary dilemmas stemming from learned responses, fragmented dreams.