The year was 1998 and I was in 9th grade, a full month has passed into the new school year when he came. He had a broad forehead, looked much older than the rest of the class and kept very much to himself. The boys were talking all kinds of things: he did time in jail, he won the North Zone Olympiad, he is a spy and well, you know the things the 14-year old mind can speculate on. Then came the teacher and told us to welcome the ‘new student’, he was called to the front of the class and asked to introduce himself. He told us his name and that he’s from Jamshedpur and then, he just went to his seat.
Introducing Projectorhead is much the same story. He is a Bujalski film in the age of the RED cameras: shot on 16mm and cut on Steenbeck. Projectorhead is built on sliced graphics and hand-coded HTML in the age of Wordpress. He styles himself after magazines like Rouge, Midnight Eye and Senses of Cinema: minimal and the sort where the writing wears the pants.
Projectorhead, the idea first started haunting its founder Anuj Malhotra in early 2010 when the both of us were contributing our designing and writing services to Indian Auteur. He would talk about it as this “underground, cult magazine”. Those were also the days when we were losing interest in Indian Auteur and Projectorhead looked more and more like where we could go next.
We originally wanted to just design and write on the magazine and hence, we set out on long quest to finding the right editor. A long list of names was made, personalities like Vishnevetsky and Bordwell were considered but the proposals never proposed. It would be difficult to explain precisely what it is that Projectorhead was aiming to be. We were not sure about him ourselves. We probably still are not but we’ll let him be an astronaut when he grows up.
I took on the Editor’s job because the right editor may not come this month or the month after that but things have to get going. I made this decision to volunteer for the position while driving my Dad to the Press Club in Hyderabad. I felt the need to take up more responsibilities, to step up and say, “I’ll do it.” So here it goes.
What started out as an issue on Heist films, ended up being a surprisingly good collection of film writing. “One” as we fondly call the first issue, is as quiet a debut as it is apt. We start things off with my interview with the low-budget cinematographic master Matthias Grunsky. He is the man responsible for the timeless 16mm footage of Andrew Bujalski’s films. He talks about Linklater, film as a medium, working with Bujalski and the future of Mumblecore cinema.
Anuj has a great article on Jules Dassin’s films. It is the only remnant of the original theme of ‘heist films’ for this issue. He spent a couple of weeks watching and re-watching Dassin’s films as part of his research. The Grudging Moralist is perhaps the most interesting title in this issue.
I first read Kaz Rahman’s An Islamic Reading of Kiarostami’s Close-up back in 2007 when I was assisting him on his film. I was not familiar with the work of Abbas Kiarostami back then and I had no idea what the article was talking about. A few days after that he lent me his Close-Up DVD and I watched it. It took me a while to fully appreciate the depth of the film’s structure and what Kiarostami was doing. I re-read the article several times since then and I still feel its one of the best pieces of film writing I’ve read. Mr. Rahman wrote it in 2000 over the course of a year in Toronto and in Brooklyn. For reasons unknown, it never got published and when I began work on “one”, I knew I had to have it here.
Ankan Kazi throws light on the recent trends in the film industry and the success of critically acclaimed films like Abohoman, Just Another Love Story and Goutam Ghose’s Golden Peacock-winning film Moner Manush. Svetlana Naudiyal has a great little book review on Jai Arjun Singh’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, a behind the scenes look at the making of one of India’s greatest cult comedies of the same name. Finishing up the issue is a compilation of capsule reviews from Anuj and myself.
So here it is, finally as ‘cult’ as it can be right now and after a month’s delay in starting up- the proverbial Late Lateef, as latecomers are fondly referred to in my hometown. And every Late Lateef has a comeback line:
“Better late than never”.