Friday, April 15, 2005

This is a post made on Caferati message board about the corruption of art forms and culture that is reproduced here just to show my view point

Richa, I never knew the term, “Randi” meant a woman of noble birth, having known it to have only pejorative meaning.

What I am against is the “randification” of art forms. Hardworking artists work over the centuries to raise the levels and standards of art forms to a higher level and along comes some hotshot upstart who “randifies” the whole establishment. A noble art form is turned on its head into a vocation of good for nothings and wastrels. In other words “noble women” have been reduced to “randies.”

All art forms should be open to experimentation and change. But that doesn’t mean we should accept all experimentation as hallowed. That would be akin to “randifying” the noble women of the earlier royal gharanas.

What we see today is a total breakdown of the establishment of criticism. Remember, I don’t mean writing per se but the fine art of criticism, which is an art in itself. I used to read columns on music reviews, drama reviews, art review, in newspapers earlier. Audiences were led by the hands of these learned critics about what to patronize and what to rubbish. Their criticism was the last word and anything they didn’t like perished. So the artist and creator used to be literally afraid of them. Thus one knew what is art and what is trash and garbage.

But today they don’t exist. Many newspapers do not have music, art, literary criticism columns anymore. So people like us are left with nothing to call a “benchmark” to decide what is good and what is not. That is the fine difference that I have been talking about.

Dalip, I think that answers your question about “who sets the standards” and Sonia that answers your question about “who cares.” We all should care because it affects all of us and we writers are the ones to write and express our angst and anguish. I am talking of my teenage days in the sixties and seventies, not the last millennium or the last century. There was enough literary, music, and dramatic awareness then to decide what is art and what is trash and garbage. Period.

Even literature has its detractors. So when somebody comes on board and writes in the Jamican “Netin, newayz, me no tink thatz good” style I and a few other Caferati members raised enough heat to make them vanish.

Sonia remember Acid rock? Acid jazz will also die that natural death. So don’t worry. As you rightly said these undesirable sub-cultures will be given the short shrift as time passes. But it is our responsibility to be aware, as writers.

Yes Max, trends in culture, literature are glacial and move a few millimeters an year. But that doesn’t mean we should stand and stare and do nothing when genres that are unacceptable should intrude and bring about “randification” of our treasured art forms.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Item numbers and trash and garbage

An elaboration of the point I was making with my take on "Item numbers." I guess most people missed the point.I guess we are growing more greedy and lazy. The popular culture has invented "remixes" and "item numbers" out of sheer laziness. For them being creative was to do some "matha fodi" or "breaking of head."

Why bother? Why break your brain when you can get a curvaceous model to suggestively mime the sexual act and have people ogle.The question is where do you draw the line between art (in its pure form, e.g., literature) and trash and garbage. I guess until the wide world accepts "item numbers" as an art form (which they never will) let us keep calling it trash and garbage and generally debunk the laziness and greed that go behind it.Somebody rightly said that BPO and outsourcing units in the developed countries are giving away their work to "call centers" in India because of greed and laziness. Gartner (a research firm that is an authority on such matters) has said that 80 per cent of such companies will fail because of their extra laziness in not managing their outsourced operations. Halleluiah, I might say, so they will ultimately fail, which they deservedly should.

So greed and laziness will also be the undoing of the Indian pop music industry (because of remixes, etc) and our movie industry (because of item numbers, rehashed plots etc.) and ultimately they will produce many failures and only a smattering of success! A phenomenon that is already happening.But will they learn? None of the recent Bollywood releases this year have been successes, accordingly to a newspaper report.

The odd runaway hit has the vital ingredient of a good story, and that is the secret of its success.But the purveyors or trash will never learn. Once greed and laziness enters their minds it will remain and remain forever. So be prepared to accept more trash and garbage.

Explore new themes, encourage new talent who look at life through their unique prismatic viewpoints, let there by an ocean of ideas from which to choose serendipitous pearls, discuss the story (instead of inviting the bombshell actor to the casting couch!), do a little honest labor and don't be greedy. Draw the line when somebody is trashing and garbaging your medium. And don’t be armchair critics, go out and fight your battles, even in message boards like this. My advise to the purveyors of trash and garbage.