Anisha Shekhar Mukherji (conservational architect and author of books on the Red Fort and the Jantar Mantar) on the incoherent past and the often uninterested present of Delhi:
The city of Delhi sometimes reminds me of an onion, imperfectly taken apart - many layered, veined and maimed. The layers are not coherent or even tightly packed - scattered stray wisps forlornly curl at the edges in some corner, many centuries lie bunched together in another. Yet within them lie hidden vapours of many pasts, rising unbidden to sting you into an awareness of a different time.
Delhi has an extremely rich heritage, but ever changing hands from one disparate ruler to the next, it has never been one to linger on its past. Yet ignored as they may be, some traces do remain; faintly in the city’s culture but very visibly in its monuments.
An ordinary man, covering many kilometres in suffocatingly crowded public transport, does not retain the will to perceive former Delhis, smothered in the pursuit of the Delhi of today.
Which is a pity and ultimately, a great loss. Why not “[integrate] these former Delhis into the Delhi of today”, urges Anisha, while suggesting a plan for just such a process.
(via Dilli Dallying)
It’s been a while since I’ve written about a movie here, but it hasn’t been for a lack of memorable movies. If anything, it may be due to the spike in the number of movies that have been competing for my thinking time. But here is one that managed to persist – Hugo.
It is fascinating to see a movie such as Hugo come from the director of Taxi Driver and The Departed. I remember Rakesh once making a remark that these directors (then referencing Steven Spielberg) are just kids who now have the skill and resources to play out their fantasies in the grandest way possible. Hugo personifies that more beautifully than I can explain.
A Paris railway terminal (which the camera takes full advantage of) and the nostalgic 1900s time period would itself make for compelling backdrops to any movie, let alone one with an orphaned kid as the protagonist. So you would be forgiven for assuming that is what the film is all about after watching its misleading trailer. The real beauty of Hugo however, lies in its story. That fundamental human trait of curiosity, the joy of making things, tinkering, creating and storytelling all bound together beautifully (if a little indulgently) with the history of cinema itself. Hugo makes you fall in love with cinema, twice over again.
(Official Site | Wikipedia | Apple Trailers)