Friday, June 03, 2005

In Which Arundhati Gives It Those Ones

Long before she won the Booker Prize for "The God Of Small Things", Arundhati Roy was a seller of empty beer bottles, a student of architecture, and a dabbler in films. She studied architecture at the Delhi School Of Architecture, dropped out, went to Goa, came back broke, found a job at the National Institute Of Urban Affairs, and was spotted by director Pradip Kishen, who offered her a role in his film "Massey Sahib" in 1986.

In 1988, Roy wrote the screenplay of, and Krishen directed In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones", about life at a not-so-fictitious school of architecture in Delhi. Thanks to a colleague, I managed to lay my slimy paws on a somewhat grainy (camera print?) of this movie. It was shown exactly once on Doordarshan, and the original print seems to have disappeared.

The movie is eminently watchable, even if it isn't a Kurosawa. There isn't much by way of a story, just a fly-on-the-wall look at the life of college students in the last days before graduation. Anyone who went through the hostel experience in India will empathize with the characters. Its worth the time spent, if only to see what Roy was like before her catapult to fame (and now infamy?).

Roy, who was the darling of the middle class ("Oh look, an Indian girl has won the Booker Prize, how nice, we must be a great people!") after winning the prize, has subsequently become the object of much revulsion and hate ("She's an anti-national!"). Several people have accused her of discovering her bleeding heart after discovering stardom. One only has to watch the movie, and listen to the words she (the scriptwriter) puts in her (the Radha character's) mouth, to discover that her political views aren't anything new, she has had them from the beginning, and her winning the prize only resulted in those views getting publicity.

She can't act to save her life, but boy she's cute :)

P.S. King Khan makes a very brief appearance, as a senior student.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember this, vaguely. I think it was sometime in the late eighties. Do you still have the print? -- Y!

Ludwig said...

Yes. Very grainy. Soft copy.

Anonymous said...

Great! I surely would like to borrow this one...

Ludwig said...

Err... I could lend it. There is one small problem. I have absolutely no clue who you are. So, bit of a problem :) Reveal thyself (via email). And we can work out the logistics.

Anonymous said...

Didn't realize I was being so presumptuous. Thought, the Y would be indicative enough... Sorry about that. As per identity, maybe not today, but any other day, you could turn around in that office chair of yours and you would see me :).

Krishna Kumar said...

Ludwig

thanks for the link on my post to this one. Of course yes, I must have been one of the very few to have actually watched the movie the only time they screened on DD... that was around 93 or 94. I remember. The movie was brought to my attention by one of my friends from the Ahmedabad School of Arts. But I didn't know until today it was Roy's script. It was quiet enjoyable. I don't remember anything else about the film now. Still, why is it that Delhi middle-class-ites are so rabidly protestant to the extent sometimes inappropriately so. Is it because of the centre being there? But Delhi is so indifferent a city as compared to Mumbai or Kolkatta or even Lucknow. A bundle of contradiction like the country itself?