review on MyTakeOnFilms

Guest Author
The very talented Noopur Raval reviews Nitin K Pamnani’s documentary Black Pamphlets.

at MyTakeOnFilms
If you thought “Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi” described a poignant disillusionment of the Emergency times, what could describe the apathy and skepticism of our times? Black Pamphlets might be an answer.
This film is based on the annual Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) elections and plays on the popular myth of muscle, money and power that surrounds these student elections. For those who don’t know, these elections capture a voter turn-out of around 80,000 students and a grand display of party power and wealth.
Black Pamphlets gives voice to a lot of tamasha that surrounds the elections, how students feel; what candidates do, why big parties are interested, and what comes out of this. Something worth noting is the absence of a voice of God narration, it hardly intervenes, capturing some candid and awkward moments. Also, how the maker succeeds in establishing characters, insignificant in the beginning and clearly symbolic towards the end, is commendable. The film slackens towards the end dwells too much at points, reiteration, same narratives over and over. It makes for the effect but get slightly tedious, especially since the film refuses to give a closure.
Personally, it takes you on a journey of a revolt, a chaotic revolt that enlivens each year, except that it is just not as benign and idealistic. For me, it becomes iconic of our times, where even revolts, student protests all are infused with a larger complicated politick that ties together interests of so many people. At the surface what seems to be a mad gush of energy, also rhetoric of ‘change’ (something that a lot of people want to do in the film is ‘change’), is at the same time the biggest joke of our times. To see students speak of elections as empowering, of student bodies as necessary and the very next minute discard their own elections as a publicity campaign, conveyed something much deeper and larger to me.

The film speaks to you, pivotal on humor, offers very few dull moments. Not preachy and a fresh subject, it makes for a good watch, maybe even twice.


~ by blackpamphletsfilm on September 3, 2010.

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