3 Dec 2011

Shell Colony Road, Chembur

Videokaaran Sagai and Director Jagannathan Krishnan

Videokaaran Review.

And extra shots from a Tehelka interview with Jagannathan Krishnan, director of Videokaaran.

I finally got to see the Videokaaran documentary by Jaganathan Krishnan in the very room where a good portion of the film was shot: In Sagai, the Videokaaran’s room, in a roof top room in a slum off Shell Colony Road.

The trailer of the documentary sets the tone for the movie. It’s supposed to shock a country that is dishonest when it talks or portrays sex thanks to a very funny big brother censor system meant to shepherd the largest population of illiterates and semi-literates in the world. However, the content of the movie is much much more and far deeper than the trailer suggests.

The documentary is basically the story of Sagai but it’s also the story of the how a majority of Mumbaikars live. The documentary peels layers of a section of the city like an onion.

Sagai used to run a flourishing video theatre in a slum which played all kinds of action movies in Hindi, Tamil, Chinese and Thai. He used to edit his films to make them short and action packed. If the movie was boring, he used to insert porn clips to make the Rs.10 tickets worthwhile. As expected, police raids were common and that’s the criminal mind that he refers to in the trailer.
He was always one step ahead of the cops when it came to the illegal video movie business.

However, it all ended with a demolition that is very beautifully captured by Sagai with a video camera and used in the Documentary. The walls of the video hall were the thickest in the slum. The bull dozer slams the walls again and again and the wall stays.... it’s poetic.

The day before the video hall was destroyed, Sagai showed Rajnikanth movies all day long for free.

The documentary is the story of the fans’ mind. Sagai adores Rajnikanth. He’s the extreme maximum Rajni fan. Through his devotion and a friend who is a Amitabh fan, the director probes deep into the minds of Indian movie fanatics. Slowly he probes around their lives and philosophies, the thoughts and the environment in which these fans live and think. The documentary becomes a study of the space, the living and working space of the maximum fans, their friends, families and the city that produce them. It's the story of the living space that manufactures them. It's the story of Mumbai.

The real genius in the film is the editing and the way the music is put together. You become a part of the lives of the extremely like-able Videokaaran and friends. Yes, like-able. It also makes you think about your relationship with your favourite movies and the city you live in. There are some brilliant pauses throughout the film which are designed to make you think about what you just saw. And there are clips and music from Tamil and Hindi movies that pace the documentary well.

It’s a must watch if you love Mumbai. To get your personal copy, contact Jagan at jagannathan.krishnan@gmail.com


Sassy Fork said...

How beautifully u have captured this!

Carmen Mercedes said...

Where can I find this documentary? Thanks.
Fantastic pictures (as always).

Slogan Murugan aka M S Gopal said...

You can get it from Jagan, the director, Directly.

Email: jagannathan.krishnan@gmail.com

Slogan Murugan aka M S Gopal said...

Thank you, Sassy Fork!

Lakshmi said...

nice pics as always..loved the colours..interesting docu..Jegan looks very familiar..was he with TV 18/CNBC ?

Jo said...

A hero who claims that a man can read women accurately if he watches blue films regularly. And a director who thinks caste/untouchability is all about body contact ("We don’t have caste system in cities because of local trains", he says). The duo is perfect.

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