Sunday, February 23, 2014

Balu mahendra - A rememberance


The nation loses yet another fine, sensitive director in Balumahendra. His work may not be very familiar to audiences in Northern India , but he will, forever be remembered and cherished as the Man who conceived the beautiful, poignant and tragic drama on Indian screen - "Sadma" : that wonderful biopic which captured the essence of altruistic love and its repercussions, bringing out the best in Kamal Hassan and Sridevi. Balu was a cinematographer who turned Director; and we are fortunate that he did, because the precision of his camera was only matched by the simplicity , intensity and relevance of the magic that he created on screen. I still remember a Tamil film that still resonates in me as a path breaking venture on Indian screen titled - "Moodu Pani" , roughly translated as " Intense fog". It explored the sexual deviations of a man with an abused childhood, who grows up to dislike the concept of femininity and ends up murdering them in a fit of unruly passion. The story was far ahead of its times. When most of the films revolved around actors prancing around trees in meaningless gyrations; the artist in Balu ventured boldly into translating the darkness of the Human mind on to the silver screen, with a sensitivity and dignity, that left us sympathizing with the murderer. The wonderful locale of Ooty served as a background to this dark drama and the soul stirring background score of Ilayaraja underlined the psychic disturbance that marked every frame of the movie. To the best of my knowledge, this movie has not been remade or dubbed ; rightly so; it is too original a masterpiece to be replicated...

Following the hallowed traditions of Cinema- making, Balu just made a handful of movies; each one being an experiment in itself. His personal life was a wreck, but his work reflected the very best of him; and he strongly believed and advocated the principle that an artist should be measured by his work and not by anything else : probably, such inner turmoil, chaos is required to produce greats works of Art. Quiet, introverted, shy of interviews, he was a recluse for most part of his working life. Those who came in contact with him : young directors, cinematographers ; needed to learn the trade the hard way; watching the master at work, syncing with the highs and lows of his tantrums, his moods - but sure to emerge as a better craftsman than they were before.

We need more like Balu today to lift the art of Film making to a new level. Hopefully, there will be eager minds who would observe and learn from his works, and if possible transcend the boundaries that he has set. I am sure, Nothing would make Balu rest peacefully than witness the rejuvenation of meaningful film making, and establishing its position as a worthy art form in its own right..

God rest his soul in peace......

God bless...

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