Last Saturday (once removed) was unusual. It saw a motley bunch of people who shared some things in common share a few moments that were as nostalgic as they were interesting.
Frame two five met in Bangalore.
So it follows that the commonalities were the love of cinema and NID. Forefront among the not so 'commonalities' being Vasu's new hairdo.
I cannot deny that I went to the meet with some aspersions. The only bait that got me going was the opportunity to meet fellow NIDians (the connections with the mothership run deep) and the fact that I was terrified of incurring Arun's wrath and his follow up phone calls!
I reached earlier than the others as usual and waited at Barista's at MG Road.
Arun was the next to reach. His enthusiastic grin was infectious.
Soon Vasu, Vasu's fellow band mate, Chinmayi, Bharani, Aloke, Aditya and Geetika made their appearance.
Conversation of any kind at Barista's MG Road is quite difficult, especially when the collective age of the patrons at the cafe doesn’t quite add up to your own, so we drifted to my most favorite place in Bangalore - India Coffee House.
Over several cups of bitter-sweet coffee, Arun spoke about frame two five and what he hoped this meeting would eventually lead to.
An informal platform of NID film and video graduates who could share ideas, their love of cinema, films, conversations... gradually expanding to include their friends, anybody who loves cinema and could bring something of value to the group.
The conversation flowed, the idea was exciting. We spoke of ways of bringing in more meaning to what frame two five could do, in terms of eventually giving an added impetus to the film department at NID and its rapidly expanding fraternity.
I found the meet rejuvenating; it is always interesting to meet people you have seen as students or perhaps even taught as students in their new avataars as working professionals. It is nice to know that in whatever little way, you have been part of their journey.
We moved from India Coffee House to my home. We needed a quieter place to watch some films. Armed with several beers, we hijacked the television and plonked ourselves in front of it, thus disrupting any plans that the husband could have had of watching Manchester United strut their stuff.
Arun showed us a compilation of the project one of students who had graduated in 2007 (project one is the first independent film that a student makes, it can be either an advertisement or a public service ad). We also looked at Bharani, Chinmayi and Vasu's Project one; and my batch's first group project.
What followed were debates on juries; discussions on whether a film should be seen in the context of its film maker or not; on the film makers themselves, some of whom were present in the group.
On a more personal note, it was interesting to watch the film my batch had made as long back as 1997. We never finished the film; in fact we were so unhappy with the film that we did not even put in any credits to it.
I had written the story and the script for this film and I felt moved to see the potential in this film 10 years later. I could not help but wish that we had dug our heels in and seen this film to completion.
Though the frame two five meet at Bangalore started with no intentions of purpose, but perhaps more of curiosity and connectedness to the institute... the form that the evening eventually took was quite beautiful, even magical in a way. It seemed as if a bubble enveloped us, a bubble of common stories, journeys shared, ideas acknowledged, films made, films that worked and those that did not; there was this bond, fragile but a bond nevertheless, that wove us together.
To be honest, I am not sure if we will meet again in the same spirit, I hope that we do.
More importantly, I hope that frame two five is able to look beyond familiarity and the confines of NID. I would love to see this platform expand to include people from other disciplines, without labels of any kind, but very simply with sensitivity and sensibility to a story told well.