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Understanding Mani Kaul and his films

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-devdutt trivedi
Kaul gradually acquired a reputation of being cerebral and pretentious to the point of being termed a pseudo. Although there have been many instances of crowds staging group walk outs or dozing through screenings of his masterworks, a few instances claim to have incited mob violence addressed directly at the director while he was present at the screening.It is with immense difficulty that one comes to terms with the fact that the great Indian film artist of our time, Mani Kaul is no more. Kaul was one of the few film makers functioning outside of the contours of the narrative parallel cinema and was perhaps the most significant amongst directors in India to produce a full-fledged aesthetic discourse around his practice.Born in Jodhpur on Christmas, 1944, Kaul studied filmmaking at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) under the tutelage of the illustrious Ritwik Kumar Ghatak. However after a screening of Pickpocket (1959), directed by the high priest of cin…