New Asian Currents [INDIA]

The Maze of Lanes

Mauj Masti—The Maze of Lanes

- INDIA / 2002 / Hindi / Color / Video / 6 min

Director, Script, Photography: Kalpana Subramanian
Editing: Kalpana Subramanian, Kuldeep Singh Rawat
Sound: Asis Sengupta, Major Sanjay
Music: Asis Sengupta
Narrator: Poorna Chand
Producer: Ranjit Makkuni
Production Company, Source: The Crossing Project
c/o Kalpana Subramanian
47 Dakshinapuram, Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew Delhi 110067 INDIA
Phone: 91-11-261-80320
E-mail: kelpana@rediffmail.com

Lost in the alleys of the sacred city of Banaras. The narrow lanes are like a labyrinth, and the complexity is to be enjoyed. The locals are “kind and helpful” everywhere. A dreamlike short film that enchants with vividly colored images and tabla rhythms.

[Director’s Statement] My work as a filmmaker with the Crossing, a multimedia exhibition project, brought me to Banaras. Having visited it several times during the project, I ended up spending a few months there. The time I have spent in Banaras has bound me to the city like it does to many unsuspecting visitors.

I cannot describe Banaras in short, because the city is steeped in time, memory, mythology, knowledge, and experience far beyond my imagination. There are so many things I would like to document about Banaras, and the lanes are just one of them. Yet the lanes speak to me of Banaras, because they are intrinsic to the experience of the city, not just physically, but metaphorically.

It is interesting to note that mazes and labyrinths have long been associated with inner or spiritual quests. My film does not explicitly suggest this, but on an alternative level one could explore the idea of how the maze symbolizes Banaras as such. Italo Calvino said, “You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” For me, exploring Banaras, is about searching, seeking and asking these questions. It is about navigating through the maze.

The city itself is a maze of the senses, information, cultures, people, mythologies and histories. Like a true maze, it is multi-layered, complex, full of contradictions, and yet, is an enjoyable mosaic of holistic experiences. One cannot wander into Banaras and expect to leave easily. The city binds one with a spell of its charm and its stories that bring every stone and street corner to life. It enchants and traps the traveler within its multitudes of experience. It is only natural to find oneself lost, and that is the first step that one takes when getting to know Banaras.

- Kalpana Subramanian

Graduated from the National Institute of Design, India in 2000 in communication design, specializing in film and video production. Won the Audi International Design Award in 1998 as part of a multi-disciplinary team for a multimedia design project for street children. Films include 21 Stories Anonymous, Light Box Transformation, and Light and Colour. Directs promotional films for music television. Directed short documentaries for the Sacred World Foundation, and created video installations for the Crossing Project, an award-winning interactive multimedia exhibit on Banaras. Documented popular street graphics found on the Indian road through photography and video. Currently producing a series of films with the Sacred World Research Laboratory for the Gandhi Museum in New Delhi.

• New Asian Currents | Sand and Water | Wellspring | Three-Five People | Homesick | The Circle’s Corner | The Maze of Lanes | Nee Engey—Where Are You | NEW (IMPROVED) DELHI—Director’s Cut | A Night of Prophecy | 150 Seconds Ago | The Ballad of Life | Noah’s Ark | The Old Man of Hara | Dandelion | Hibakusha—At the End of the World | 3rd Vol.2—2 Light House | And Thereafter | Dust Buries Sabuk | Family Project: House of a Father | Edit | Gina Kim’s Video Diary | Ordo | Her and Him Van Leo | The Big Durian | Perpetual Motion | Debris | Hard Good Life | Nail | The Rhythm in Wulu Village | A Short Journey • Jurors | Kim Dong-won | Kawase Naomi • New Asian Currents Special | Part 1 | Part 2