Nazar (The Gaze)
Set in Bombay but effacing its geographic location, Kaul’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s short story A Gentle Creature starts, like Bresson’s film, with the suicide of a young bride (the director’s daughter). The major part of the film chronicles the young wife’s alienation, as she first resists and then succumbs to the order of things in a world in which her place is determined regardless of her efforts to intervene. This aspect of the narrative is elaborated in terms of an orchestration of cinematic space, including the construction of “virtual”, unsuspected spaces within the frame. The fragmented dialogue, often functioning as an interiorised soliloquy, is counterpointed by the extraordinary use of the camera’s focalisations which at times take the place of editing. (Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Paul Willemen)
“Within the European tradition, I am especially fond of Dostoyevsky, Matisse, Bresson and, barring his last two films, Tarkovsky. Despite being very different from one another these four are important for me. Once a student told me that all four had come together in Nazar; they had become suddenly present. Obviously, their presence in my work is an internal presence. I think a lot about what it is which could be common to all four of them. I feel all of them were working against the idea of perspective and convergence. This was, perhaps, the method of their work. In Dostoyevsky, especially, the manner of his writing is such that nowhere do you feel that the world is moving towards a convergence. It is rather as if numerous worlds are opening up …” (MK)
New digital restoration by NFDC.
Hindi with English subtitles