17 December, 2011

ITEC Movie Club scores from Offside!

ITEC's long standing aspiration of getting a movie club running finally and in a special manner was realized today. The purpose of this club is to watch and discuss progressive movies which would sensitize and increase awareness about issues which many a times go unnoticed.

The first movie screened today was the Iranian brilliance "Offside" by Jaffer Panahi. This being the first screening, the team had hoped to rope in a famous cinema person for the inaugural show.

Prakash Belawadi who obliged to be part of the first screening was the most apt person; with his cinema experience and critique on the IT culture was impeccable for the occasion.

Prakash Belawadi made a couple of interesting remarks about the IT work force and their ethos, which I think is in fact a less propagated reality of the IT culture. "Stuck in crowded work places, reaching via congested roads, slogging more than adequately- having a hellish lifestyle" was his perception of the IT community. Also, the corporate social responsibilty mask under which the euphemistic social endeavours are taken up by the IT diaspora was also retorted by him. IT community, the small community that it is has run away from the realities of the society in India, and without defining which society their social responsibility would be catering to, there would be little sense to their 'responsibility execution' was his straight forward view.

Talking about the need for movie clubs, and apprecating the efforts of ITEC he mentioned that benefits of watching a movie in an audience when compared to watching it in on DVD - the interaction and the commune emotions that are churned out are the things which are not to be missed.

Jaffer Panahi's Offside

Islamic Republic of Iran's oppressive regime and the nature of state controlled media with almost zero freedom are quite well known. Working in such an environment, Jaffer Panahi, has tried to bring out certain important issues via his movies. Currently, Jaffer Panahi is serving a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on making or directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media as well as leaving the country. All this for making progressive movies in a severely constrained society.

Offside is a heart touching story of a bunch of adolescent girls who disguise themselves as boys, so that they get to watch the World cup football semifinal match in Iran, which the Iranian women are not allowed to! A simple tale, captured on film in a documentary style with some exceptional performances by the cast renders Offside as one of the best movies of recent times. As Jaffer Panahi is known to be a neorealist film maker, Offside is a remarkable piece of work which more importanlty portays a retrogressive social practice persisting in a regressive social structure, in the most appealing manner, with subtle and sarcastic mock at the system, while projecting the aspirations of the female protagonists in various dimensions.

Although the direct idea might seem disconnected to our circumstances, it is a symbolic questioning of all the discrepancies of gender inequalities. The suppression imposed on the female population in many of the countries even today is of deep concern and the discussions which followed the movie did show that there is a lot that could be done! In India although with all the freedom we boast of, excpet for in urban scenario the condition and treatment of women is certainly not at par with men.

Prof Chatterjee from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, who was part of the audience discerned India and Iran based on his experiences: India is a country although with advanced consitution of law, women have a regressive mentality, as a whole; whereas, Iran although has a rudimentary consititution, women there have a lot more progressive mentality.

These are the kinds of debates and dicussions ITEC is looking forward to instigate by making the Movie Club consistent.

Offside is a must watch to everyone, and if interested to know more about the Movie club, the movie itself or about ITEC do visit the website http://www.itecentre.co.in/

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