P-Bapu had a few preview screenings of his film ‘Khargosh‘. Teja has shot the film. A lot of times at private screenings, people make polite noises and slink off quietly. While we may hold forth censoriously on big-budget films on our blogs, all of us are too well aware of the difficulties of making films on low budgets, lower than The Star’s bath water budget in the Alps (only Evian, good for the skin), to make smart aleck remarks after a trial show.

But after ‘Khargosh’, a lot of the people wanted to hang around for a while, chatting, making occasional remarks about the film as it sank into their consciousness. Some people grouped up and left together to drink away the evening, and presumably talked of the film amongst themselves. A little bit, at least, one hopes.

A lot of the audience at all the 3 screenings was from FTII. I, being a two-pice member of Khargosh’s unit, doing what I love best, making wise-woman comments on other people’s work, hung around at all the screenings. Watching FTII mates before and after the film, I thought this is what brings out the best in all of us. Going to the movies.

We may argue in the most pedantic way about the smallest issues on our wisdomtree mail group. We may run each other down malevolently when we are working together. We may get most nostalgic only about our drinking bouts and our subsequent brawls, passing them by word of mouth from year to year, as the stuff of legends. (Witness Tanmay’s film ‘I love the friends I have gathered here on this thin raft‘ – A tongue in cheek look at the FTII fraternity at the Wisdom Tree Film Festival)

But we are all shining faces and solemn grins when we go in to watch a film. That moment when the auditorium lights go off, and the screen lights up, is the moment we all forget the frustrations of working in Bumm-Bumm-Bhole-Land, the anxieties about our career paths, the middle-of-the-night musings on whether we should not have listened to our parents and become bankers, IT professionals, NASA scientists, architects, doctors, therapeutic  masseuses or whatever else but filmmakers.

It’s at a screening we realize we are mates, after all. And our work matters. And our opinions matter. Even if they piss off everyone else.

OK, this includes not only friends from FTII, but everyone by default, who loves the movies. Anyone who cannot watch a film without analyzing it, criticizing it, taking it to pieces and putting it back together. Who cannot watch a film without a 1000 spoken and unspoken ideas on How One Would Have Handled That.