One of my favourite movies to re-watch on television (followed by Anil Kapoor’s Nayak of course- the preferred choice of all channels) is Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen – an absolutely beautiful watch and far too much feel good of a film. Owen Wilson’s character faces those familiar pangs of affection for Paris of the 1920s, and we all empathise with his helplessness. What the movie later narrates and what I have also come to question myself off late, is the inherent fault in romanticising the past- the fact that at some time, it was someone’s present, and for them it was just the boring mundane. And that today’s times might be romanticised by someone in the future. This makes the beauty of nostalgia purely relative and not real at all.
But what makes this seemingly simple explanation hard for me to digest is the blatant ugliness that really does exist all around us today, and which wasn’t to be found only as far back as a couple of decades. Whether it is beautiful wooden shutters of yesteryears replaced by popular metal framed sliding windows, lovely copper containers in kitchens replaced by obscenely colourful plastic ones, or even the definition of beauty itself which is climbing manically towards an assumed and imaginary perfection day by day (“Are your eyebrows sculpted well, honey?”). In times when houses look either like a thoughtlessly put together assembly of all things you could afford, or so opulent and bedazzled that you need sunglasses to view the new LED light panel behind the TV, and where beauty is so precisely executed that it’s laughable, it is a bitter-sweet reminder that simplicity is being forgotten in pursuit of excellence. And nothing could be quite as ironic because simplicity is where lies excellence after all. A home should feel like a home, and so should a person.
Mithila is an absolute joy to shoot with since she is also an actress and knows how to flirt with the camera. This small shoot with her was my Owen Wilson taking a dip into the forgotten beauty of yesterday. She is wearing her grandmother’s sixty year old saree, and the location is her own home in Dadar. P.S.- As an experiment, I’ve shot the entire series on a 24mm lens, and edited it on my phone! ‘Twas fun 😉
P.P.S.- Girl in pictures- Mithila Palkar