Saturday, February 20, 2016

Babloo Babylon se, Babli telephone se... | Om Dar-ba-Dar

Kamal Swaroop's 'Om Dar Ba Dar' released in India in 2014 - after 26 years. Over several years, it has acquired a cult status and has been screened at several film festivals. Now, before my obsession with this film reels off, I realized that I should publish this post. So, here it goes.

Close to two years back, I heard about ODBD and added it to my watch list. I made one single attempt to watch it last year. The digitized VHS copy was so bad that I couldn't make a head or tail out of it. It looked raw, unedited and unfinished. 

Normally, I do not repeat a movie. But ODBD was a different case. It was not off my list yet. It had to be watched again. I came back to it after 11 strong months. In between, several movies were watched and forgotten. Many more were added to the list. But ODBD had some sort of magnetism to it. Strong but subtle - a daemon process kept reminding my mind to watch it when I get my hands on a better print.
अगर एक ओम 17 बरस का, तो फिर एक प्रकाश वर्ष में कितने ओम?
Talking about the movie, ODBD is a classic example of a film maker following his dreams - literally. The film is not a straight line. It is a set of scattered dots. As a viewer, you will have to join them. Every viewer is expected to do it differently. And that is what adds beauty to this film. The entire film is a video collage of sub-plots woven together with not-so-conventional music and dialogues that are sometimes quite amusing. The film offers so many meanings, several interpretations - every time you watch it. And reading about it on the Internet after watching it adds significantly to the overall experience.

संग संग तो ठीक है, लेकिन मर मर? Out of question!
My fascination with the movie is because in some mysterious way, I can relate to it. How - I don't know. Possibly it were the radio programs that keep running in the background or Om's struggle with understanding the biology lessons that I had during my 12th class. Or possibly it was Babuji's shrill voice that just reminds me of some person during my childhood. There is an indeterminate familiarity that brings me closer to this film.

In my opinion ODBD cannot be dubbed or remade. Subtitles will help - but you need to understand Hindi to feel the soul of the film. If you understand Hindi and are casually curious about experimental cinema, watch it at least once before you die.
Dear Raju, Please ban googly from cricket and life in general.
They say that this movie is an 'Indian LSD trip'. Quite probable that the trip might be a good one for you too. 

उस काया परिवर्तन की टिक टिक घड़ी,
जब मेंढकों ने पहनी थी घोड़े कि नाल।
जहाज़ों में किया था सफ़र, ढूँढे थे नगर -
जहाँ सांपों का डर नहीं था।

उस काया परिवर्तन की टिक टिक घड़ी,
जब अंगूठे पर छपा था भविष्य क़ुरान।
टैडपोलों ने प्रश्न किये थे -
किसी अक़्ल की क्या वजह है?
किसी शक्ल की क्या वजह है?
क्या इस दादुर की हरी खाल के भीतर,
किसी टैडपोल का मन बसा है?

इस रेड लाइट के भोमपुर में,
जब में बबली के पेट में गुम हुआ,
उन जातीय स्मृतियों की रिवर्स यात्रा के दौरान,
मैं आतंकारी टैडपोलों के सम्पर्क में आया।
वहाँ टर्रों के सम्राट कोम्प्यु-टर्र का साम्राज्य था।

सर ज़ेरॉक्स झपाटा  केवल नाइट्रोजन का नाश्ता करता था।
आतंकारी टैडपोलों ने मेंढक बनने से मना कर दिया था।
उन्होंने नाइट्रोजन के ख़िलाफ़ हथियार उठा लिए थे।
और उधर हाउस ऑफ़ राणा टिगरीना  में,
मेंढक टैडपोलों को अपने गुणों से अवगत करा रहे थे।

जैसे कोय के करम तितली में फूटे, वैसे टैडपोल से हम!