That's So (Mumbai) Cool!
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when we hear the word ‘Cool’? For some it might be something desirable and awesome, for some it means different than the rest and yet for some others it might be free of conservative thoughts. There is no single definition of cool. My definition is very subjective depending on what topic is being discussed.
When it comes to people, it becomes an attitude or perception. My understanding says its ever-evolving. What was considered cool a decade back might not be liked by many currently.
Nevertheless, to decode the concept of ‘What's Cool’, Piramal Art Foundation chose Mumbai; as it is the film capital and way cooler than the rest of India. Sayali & Rashmi who form the organizing team gave me a warm welcome to the event which aimed at discovering what makes the city interesting- That's Mumbai Cool - The Film Edition. Listening to the ideas of the guest speakers, my perception about films broadened. ‘Cool’ no more is restricted to story-telling or mainstream cinema. It has reached beyond boundaries which shows changes in the taste of audiences, promoting women filmmakers and breaking barriers built around gender bias.
With Pranav Ashar who founded the Film Society – Enlighten, I learnt about Virtual Reality Films and Matterden where world cinema can be experienced differently. From the time he started his focus remained on world cinema and building on how we as an audience benefit from hearing great stories.
Going forward, diversity of cool expanded when women filmmakers came on board. Even in the city that never sleeps, being a women and filming at night does not come easy. Tangella Madhavi captured the lives of humans of Mumbai through her lenses in dark when the city slows down.
To add spice to the cool was Sridhar Rangayan who is the pioneer of ’Kashish Festival’ in promoting LGBT and Queer Cinema. His ideas have changed the perception of many in removing the stigma. He has paved a path for those who want to venture into cinema, gender notwithstanding. Mayank Shekhar who played responder to all the three guests made the session more interactive and lively with his humour. Despite rejections, hostile situations and initial hurdles, the focus of th speakers had remained un-wavered & intact. Therefore, they could bring a change in cinema through their work.
I believe the demarcation is getting blurred by the day among educated youth and there is more space being created for the above kind of festivals and cinema. It may take long for the ‘new cool’ to be accepted by everyone but the show has already begun.