Sunday, December 2, 2012


The Joker: Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan". But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds! Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!
                                                 – Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’

The battle between order and disorder is not a last night affair. It has been going over for centuries and would continue for many more until the cause is identified and cured of the illness. This forum indeed, is too small for this battle and I am so incapable of handling the issue all by myself. Any effort made would just be a small, may be a futile attempt and nothing more. I never opted to be a participant but it was destined to happen. I am really getting a morbid feeling that I have touched a big fat monster. But since, I have dragged myself into it, so I am ready for all the flak. 

There were a couple of issues and places in the last post which need a further clarification. Since this conflict is already big, it should not be complicated anymore and all efforts must be made to make the things a little simpler. Order when we say, is a structure which has been erected over centuries and evaluated by all existing parameters. Basically it is a time tested formula which just cannot fail and scatter given the trickiest of situations. Order has been a result of sweat and toil exerted by the elite, intellectual section of society. It is an outcome of a huge sacrifice of limb and life made by the proletariat class over a long period of time. It is an institution which has been approved by the law abiding, law enforcing, and law establishing community responsible for safeguarding the moral code of society. Moreover, it is stamped by the administration of religion and culture and has been passed on tenderly from one generation to another. It is a part of our rich glorious heritage which everybody is so strikingly proud of. So ‘order’ is basically a nicely garnished and aesthetically served, thickly priced pudding of a resplendent luncheonette. But we want to know if it’s sumptuously delicious too. 

A disorder on the other hand is an evil ghost which nobody wants to encounter. It’s a ‘shaitan’ who just cannot be permitted to enter at any bargain. It’s an unplanned, random event which can create chaos in a system. It’s an anarchy which would not let peace and harmony establish anywhere because it is fundamentally a violent, brutal and vindictive axiom. 
When we talk about the clash between order and disorder, some destruction is bound to happen. But it is not destruction in totality. It’s a unique combination of creation and destruction. The old dies and new happens. As stated earlier also, Mani Kaul makes it clear that essentially there are two possibilities. When a disorder drops into an order either the disorder would create mayhem everywhere or it would itself get transformed into an order. There is a third possibility too which can be seen in Tarkovsky’s works like ‘Mirror’ and ‘Solaris’ where nothing gets transformed. Both order and disorder stay together, uninhibitedly related to each other and create an experience (anubhav). There is a space for both sacred and profane in Tarkovsky’s earlier works. Disorder as per Kaul shouldn’t be perceived through any conventional definition and experience. According to him, it’s actually a possibility, an accident, a chance (sanyog) which can lead to experience (anubhav). An experience is basically interplay of jagrata, swapan and sushupti. And for the totality of that experience, for the enjoyable interplay of these three human states, randomness should be allowed to enter the structure. All divisions in that case, for the sake of a beautiful experience, moral-immoral, right-wrong, sacred-profane, order-disorder, and structure-anarchy are not required for a moment. They can be dropped off and left to the destiny. Mani Kaul says that he himself used to believe in the preservation of order during the first year of film school. Until he had not met Ritwick Ghatak, he used to worship the realistic framework of Satyajit Ray. But when he got introduced to the cinema of Robert Bresson (a French filmmaker), his perception changed completely. Bresson used to believe that accident (randomness) is the only hope. He used to retake the same shot fifty times. Sometimes, only one shot a day. When everything used to proceed according to the plan, he always preferred to stop and not move ahead till the accident used to happen. Until and unless the structure was broken, he never Okayed the shot. Kaul admitted that earlier, he used to control a lot. But in later years while making ‘Nazar’, ‘Idiot’, like Bresson, he also left control of the events around him. And surprisingly, even after parting himself from the control, everything used to fuse perfectly, as if it has been cautiously planned.

The disorder when I try to question myself is a fear of unknown, fear of death which has been molded into a giant in kalyug. It is imagined as a narrow alley which would lead us to dungeon. The matrix of materialism blinds us from reality. The contemplation and realization of death is an enemy of materialism. Materialism makes survivalism the only necessary battle to be won in lifetime. And even if love and happiness are to be sacrificed, it should be acceptable. In order to meet the demands, it makes death a rival. It spins the web thread by thread until the entire trap is ready to be spread. A man hassles the whole life to earn his bread and butter. And his economic standing remains much the same despite a better income and better resources. The pauper remains a pauper throughout. A middle class man always remains in the middle only. The aristocracy enjoys the best and keeps on aiming for more and more. Everybody remains caught in the thought and thirst of money only. Further, order is made necessary to be followed for the survival of materialism. A code of morality is created to deal with crimes of materialism. Gradually, the morality itself turns into an impenetrable structure. The enclosure of materialism which has been engineered brick by brick over years doesn’t allow the thought of death to enter the structure. The meditation of death is deliberately and astutely made impossible. Since one never meditates, darshan never happens. The entire process becomes a vicious circle. One leads to another and the chain continues. It’s only death, chaos, randomness which can break the chain and guide us to new hope (aasha). The deliberation of death can lead to creative transformation and anubhav.

The conflict between order and disorder is not simple as it may appear in words. What should be done and how much should be done remain a matter of concern. If the disorder is left free, it would be a state of total lawlessness. According to Mani Kaul, total disorder is as ignoble and petty as total order. Basically a negative vow, pratigya. A balance is required between the two, otherwise darshan won’t happen. This balance would lead to anubhav, an interplay in which not only the three states would exist together but also one would lead to third and vice versa. Jagrata could be taken to sushupti directly and also otherwise. The balance between order and disorder would make this conversion possible and practical. While explaining to Mita Vashisht (actress) on the first day of shooting of ‘Siddheshwari’, Kaul asks her, what a frame according to her is. For instance if there is a frame of an empty wall with a girl sitting below at one corner, and suddenly she lifts her hand slowly and slowly upwards, then what would happen to the rest of the dead space? Kaul explains that the girl is jagrata, the dead space is sushupti and the movement of her hand is swapan. The dead unconscious space becomes conscious when the swapan enters the frame. Basically a cinematic frame is a beautiful interplay of three states. Similarly frame of life should also be an aesthetic coaction of these three, rather than a dull and wrinkled lonesome one.
This is an issue of concern in the best of world cinema today. Despite best of the production values, script writers and technicians, it follows a very linear approach. The polychromatism, the layered framework is missing on the whole. The ‘New extremism’ or the ‘New Wave’ cinema of the west is accentuating savage violence and sexual ugliness. Mentioning about some of these movies like Claire Denis' Trouble Every Day (2001), Patrice Chéreau's Intimacy (2001), Bertrand Bonello's The Pornographer (2001), Marina de Van's In My Skin (2002), Leos Carax's Pola X (1999), Philippe Grandrieux's Sombre (1998) and La vie nouvelle (2002), Jean-Claude Brisseau's Secret Things (2002), Jacques Nolot's La Chatte à deux têtes (2002), Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi's Baise-moi (2000), Alexandre Aja's Haute tension (2003), Christophe Honoré's Ma mère (2004) and the cinema of Cronenberg, Gasper Noe, and Catherine Breillat, Tim Palmer who is an Associate Professor in film studies describes them as a ‘cinema of the body’. There is a total of lack of humanity and darshan in the best of world cinema today. These filmmakers are able to picture the collapse of defunct structures but they are not able to visualize any alternative methods of liberation and hope which would rescue the humanity from this stage of violence and sexual perversion.

This is an age where many new things are happening together. The old structures are falling apart. There is a disharmony is the existing establishments. Everybody needs some space. The old must give way to new. The hope needs to come from within. Nobody would emerge with a torch in hand to show us the way. The concern needs to be emphasized. The obsession with order and morality needs to be dropped. We need to find a meditation zone in our vicinity where the issues can be contemplated upon. Otherwise, the war (Mahabharata) is inevitable and huge destruction is waiting ahead.  

At the end of the post I would like to ask people who might read my blog someday, do I wish to proclaim myself as an agent of chaos by emphasizing the need of disorder? Is it what I intend to do so? Am I somebody who doesn’t like peace and order? Am I an atheist, an anti-god who wants to dethrone good with bad? Am I a twisted pervert who has an inclination and predilection for serial killers, flesh and cadavers? Or am I just somebody with gift of the gab who would blabber and die out someday of my self-righteousness? Or am I somebody who wants everyone to stop, think and introspect that have we made right choices and can we just move a bit from the positions we have taken for so long? Who am I?