It is no multiplex and it is certainly not the Kodak theatre. A board outside says: Ramu Swadeshi Angadi. It is a small home-outlet selling dairy products. Througthe open door you glimpse an elderly gentleman reading. From his pristine white cap and outfit, he appears a Gandhian. (You are right, he is one). His home is the unlikely venue for a screening of a Bosnian film, No man's land.
But you soon discover that Konangal is pretty unorthodox. It is made up of an advocate, a visual communications student, a human rights activist, a research scholar, a theatre personality and so on. What bonds them is a love for cinema and a commitment to human rights. And all they want to do is enjoy films and enable everyone in
Polanski, Kurosawa, Fassbinder, Bergman... the names roll effortlessly off the tongues of these film enthusiasts. But they are quick to point out that the idea is not to alienate people by showing alternative cinema, but to give them an opportunity to view some works of art. So Modern Times and Bicycle Thieves and the films of Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray have been taken to the people.
In 2003 Konangal organised a film festival of short films and documentaries at the Coimbatore Malayali Samajam. These films were screened in ten other places across Tamil Nadu in small towns and villages and it led to the formation of many small groups of film enthusiasts.
Konangal wants to take good films to schools and colleges and any other institutions that will let it screen movies on their premises. Recently, the students of Sri Dharmashastha watched the internationally acclaimed children's film, Children of Heaven. And on the occasion of Dr Ambedkar's birthday, a short film was screened for a group of sanitary workers.
The film society is working on making the film movement more active in
Still the society screens at least one film a month and is planning to turn that into twice a month with one contemporary film, and the other a classic. And every two months or so, it wants to hold a retrospective of some of the great masters. Film appreciation workshops are also in the pipeline.
Konangal is hoping corporates, educational institutions and cultural organisations come forward to help its cause. All it needs is a venue where films can be screened and film festivals held. Some tentative efforts to enlist the help of cinema halls in the city have drawn a blank. But the members hope the tide will turn in their favour and their movement will gather momentum. They say they owe a great deal to their precursor, the Coimbatore Film Society and look forward to working alongside other film buffs and film appreciation movements like Nai Vaal to make Coimbatoreans a party to their endeavour. If you are interested to know more about Konangal, call, 9443039630/9443523715/ 9443913805
Art imitates life
No Man's Land. The film is about two soldiers — one a Bosnian and the other a Serbian. They are stranded in no man's land. There is a third injured soldier who is lying on a landmine that will blow up if he moves. They await help from the neutral United Nations' forces and the whole drama is being watched with great interest by the media. The movie deals with the interaction between the soldiers and their notion of the war they are fighting.
About 30 people in an asbestos-roofed barsaati in
Courtesy : The Hindu