Perversity is all in the mind... Genius is all around us!

By Nataranjan Bohidar

This is more shocking than the passing away of Om Puri... though we all of us grew up amazed at her work in "Last Tango"... Go well, Maria... RIP... No need for excuses... No reason for apologies, Bertolucci... You do not know what you have done for mankind... that is how genius is cursed... you will never know the exponential nature of your contribution... you will never profit enough from it... never adequately... and your inadequacy will continue to gnaw into you... even when everybody else watching you, profiting from your creativity will wonder just what is eating into you, or eating up this or that maverick! The rest is silence... 

Of course, I first saw you in "The Passenger" but was too young then, although of about same age as you, to guess just which direction you were headed... and then you emerged from the sea of my fantasy, like Venus, in "Last Tango"... then a couple of years ago I looked and looked for you... one, any, download of your Brando-Bertolucci work... I found it... and was discussing it only last month, before Christmas... unsettled somewhat by the earthly controversy that had sprung up about your ethereal role... in an impossible situation... that had to end in tragedy... a repeat of the age old controversy over age meeting youth... A King Learish re-work in modern times... that has ended, in fact, in tragedy... Was that your hot breath on my skin? Did I notice your lip move ? 

P.S. I was 18 when I saw "The Passenger" in Priya Cinema Hall in Delhi at the edge of a forest teeming with peacocks that would one day turn into a concrete jungle screaming with indignation that we today call Vasant Kunj and JNU Upper Campus. It was my passion for Antonioni that dragged me to Jack Nicholson's sterling role and the reason for my discovering Maria Schneider. I had not heard of "Last Tango", which was released when I was 15 and nobody told me about it, (perhaps because i was under-age!), until i found out a year or so later, as Vice President of Celluloid - the Delhi University Film Society. Everybody suffers from a strange chronological it the "chronological devil", after the printer's devil... that audiences watch movies in exactly the same order that they are released. This fallacy persists from the era when movies only had big screen cinema hall releases... and if you missed a release, it was gone for ever... I have discussed this many times with Naseer and Ratna, particularly in the context of "Godhuli", that it is ridiculous to talk about an actor's growth from film to next film... because audiences do not watch films in the same sequence that the actor acts in them... Hope this clarifies my backward fascination for Maria Schneider... and the pun may be subconsciously intended!

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