Desiring the Metropolis
Duration: 00:01:25; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 312.637; Saturation: 0.053; Lightness: 0.344; Volume: 0.291; Cuts per Minute: 9.808; Words per Minute: 126.808
Summary: Cinema exceeds any idea of the real, and also serves as the archive of aspirations of the ideal modern. These two clips engage with two differently located aspirations, one of the metropolis and the other from the margins of the metropolis.
Rowdies watching a film (Haasil):
One of the more interesting films to be released in 2003, Haasil is about college politics in the University of Allahabad. This scene captures for me an interesting facet of the different ways in which people interpret the idea of the modern. This is a good example of a 'vernacular modernity' that defines itself against metropolis cities like Bombay and Delhi.
Look sonnie, this is the magic of Bombay
Arey, they have weapons which are English- type, which is why the cars fly up in the air like that
But here no matter how many bombs you throw, nothing ever happsn
The society there is different, because everyone there is modern
Even the thugs there, they travel everyday, Bombay, Dubai, Engaldn
Should we also go there
Just retain your pride, and watch the film quietly
There, its all about money, give me money or I will take your life, but here its give me power or I will kill you
Theres a big difference
They are a small industry, we run the country
Annotation 4: Through the 1980s the Hindi cinematic hero has had more than a substantial overlap with the imagined 'lumpen' audience for Hindi films with more or less one 'ideological' drive uniting the two - the idealistic telescoping of fantasizing opened out nature, a metaphor for the dream of release from urban chaos, and the 'discovery' of modern materiality that is denied to the middle or lower class young male. This mapping of two oppositional filmic elements within a single of a film - one of transcendence and one of the paranoid material on to a single metaphor - 'discovery' or 'opening out of the field of experience' can lead to a spiraling upward of violence if the redemption of the material is read against the transcendence of space in nature - the explosion, the bomb going off. Or it could spiral downwards into the 'netherworld' of the bar if the redemption of space is read in the ornamental density of the material. The 'lumpen' hero thus traverses this spectrum within a space of a single film and is in most cases rendered indecisive unless brought to stasis through sensory intimacy in the sexual. Haasil is an interesting culmination of the B- films that mushroomed on the blind side of the Bachchan and Anil Kapoor films of the 1980s and 1990s, film that had Mithun Chakravorty, Jackie Shroff, Sunil Shetty, Aditya Pancholi or the early Akshay Kumar as heroes. It's a genre that could be termed the 'regional nativist' film and Haasil sees the tensions of the emergence of the genre, its protagonists and audiences into the regional cosmopolitan. Interestingly the regional cosmopolitan is anything but a fun place. Instead it is marked by psychotic greed,a result of having to keep the 'regional nativist' forcibly 'in the dark', on the dark side of the legal system leading to a proliferation of political corruption and 'borderline' ritualism in the 'religious' sphere mixing kitsch bling and terror. Satya remain the most sophisticated cinematic re-working of this psychic space by mixing the properties of the gangster and the horror film to speak of Bombay as perceived by its denizens in the 1990s.
Also see Chitrakarkhana footage on audiences in the Elgin Talkies, Bangalore:
Flowers, Posters, Fandom
Fandom / Night Show
Projection Room, Premises, postersNext annotation
lower middle class
Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro:
Wong Karwai says of his film Chungking Express that it feels like a diary or a map and claims that if anyone goes to Hong Kong after watching Chungking Express, they will never get lost. This certainly seems to be the case with much of Bombay cinema. Saeed Mirza's films however seem almost like an archive of the city, which has been dispelled from celluloid existence, giving way to the flashier interiors of the Karan Johars and Yash Chopras.
In this delightful sequence from Saeed Mirza's Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro, the three protagonists banter about about on marine drive. Salim, a petty thief is a little tired of his precarious existence, of the harassment by the police and the unpredictable violence that seems to mark his life. He is contemplating starting a small business which allows him to go 'legit' and in this sequence discusses this with his friends.
Cinema has been described as the hidden archive of the urban, and if one were to look for the equivalent of the various figures of urban life in the 19th century documented by Benjamin, one would find them ion different shades in Hindi cinema. This sequence captures an urban figure called the'Roadside Romeo', a combination of the flaneur and, the tapori. Like Benjamin and Baudelaire, Hindi cinema captures 'the fleeting, the ephemeral and the transient' in the thousands of eyes, in thousands of objects in which the city is reflected.
My name is Salim Pasha.
People call me Salim Langda. (Salim, the lame)
Rightly so. Why?
Hey, If I say so, my walk has a bit of a spark...
Quoted by mumbai police in
“I received a call from one of Mr. Rushdie's friends on Friday, asking about these names,” said a senior officer of the Mumbai Police, who deals with organised crime. “I thanked him for giving me something to laugh about.”
The officer said the Mumbai Police's dossiers on organised crime figures had no reference to individuals who might be using “Altaf Batli” and “Aslam Kongo.” “We've had a Salim Langda [‘the lame'], a Salim Kutta [‘the dog'], a Salim Tempo [‘truck'] and a Javed Fawda [‘the spade'] — but no ‘Kongo.' Lots of Batlis [‘bottles'], but no Kongos.”
There are many Salim's here. Turn over a stone and you'll find four of them - Salim Chickchack, Salim Kaniya (one-eyed), Salim Tempo, Salim Honda...
Bas! Take this as my 'photo-pass', father. Salim Langda. (Salim, the lame)
Now I'll tell you my life's story, boss.
Fully real. True.
If I bluff a little, hope its ok!