Alive

Godard… Breathless and Alive

A Tribute to Jean-Luc Godard, the Film Philologist who Reinvented Cinema

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Jean-Luc Godard (1930-2022)
[Source – DAZED]

All the Boys Are Called Patrick

Dancing and chirping, posing, frolicking, a bird –now on this branch, now on that – living in Godard’s city in black and white 1957, knows not the language and yet doubts Patrick. And rightly so for that philanderer never hesitates; quick-witted, he charms the ladies into believing him and his stories and “well, it is just a coffee date”, he says casually.

Only later do they find – Charlotte and Veronique – why All the Boys Are Called Patrick, because they were talking about the same Patrick, that is why, and look here he goes, in a taxi, with another beauty.

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’64,’65,’66

The birdie dares and continues living while in Godard’s city in three back-to-back years – ’64,’65,’66 – the voices – twice in black and white and once in colour – speak the language of simultaneity… and of confusion, surplus, discrimination… expressing it through every medium, especially the medium called love.

Just see, simultaneously in love, out of love, whimsically, the next moment knowingly, executing the plan and fate’s execution, the Band of Outsiders – Arthur, Odile, Franz – dancing the Madison dance, breaking the Louvre record, firing gunshots, breakaway… winning and losing simultaneously.

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The name of the production company ‘A Band Apart’ founded by Quentin Tarantino Et al. comes from this film by Godard.
(Source – Wikipedia)

Dance ‘the Madison dance’ along with the trio –

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The Louvre record

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And meet the fool, Pierrot the Fool, who runs away in the search of and is chased by meaning. Along with his ex-girlfriend, Marianne, he protects everything new that he has accepted and acts, confidently and in confusion simultaneously.

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I met Pierrot in 2015 and wrote a review-cum-commentaryOh Fou!
(Source – Swiss Culture Awards)

Poor Pierrot’s search ends, finally, it does; he finds, though quite late, that he was wrong about Marianne and right about the bomb. But as said before, he was so late that… dhamaka!!!

Next year, in Godard city, the questions ‘he’ asked ‘her’ and the questions ‘she’ asked ‘him’ were all documented; the answers were young, naïve and in late teens and early twenties. Fun and spirit jarred the running time.

A singer, her two girlfriends, a lover, his journalist friend, elections, peace in Vietnam and everything in fashion voted in the favour of 1966 and against each other.

Starring the child from The 400 Blows, now all grown up and Chantal Goya, a Ye-Ye singer playing a Ye-Ye singer.
(Source – Wikipedia)

Masculine Feminine: 15 Specific Events, out of which the bird makes a guest appearance in two events, inter-titled-

#1 A philosopher and filmmaker share a way of being… an outlook on life that embodies a generation.

#2 This film could be called The Children of Marx and Coco-Cola… Understand what you will.


Goodbye to Language (Adieu au Langage)

Godard’s dog Roxy Mieville plays an important role in the film.
(Source – UniFrance)

Jump to the year 2014!

Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language (Adieu au Langage), a 3D essay film is a mind-boggling experiment.

Speaking about all that we encounter in life – through a car’s windshield, superimposed images, from a stray dog’s POV, in the colour red, rose red – the narrator speculates, maybe, regarding the dearth of something crucial at the centre and our unobservant impatient nature.

Maybe it shows also the fast culture that admires and nurtures weak concentration. Maybe we have missed the train… but then we can always walk if we remember how to that is.

The fun part is that ‘adieu’ in some parts of Switzerland where French is spoken, the parts where the film was shot, may mean both goodbye and hello.

The bird twitters adieu and means both.


A bout de souffle – Out of Breath – Breathless

“One of the best films ever made” – Sight and Sound magazine
(Source – Wikipedia)

Time-travel again!

Godard’s Paris, the year 1960; a criminal, Michel, is absconding and in love with Patricia. The boulevards, narrow lanes, tricky corners, buildings, stairs, doors, rooms, windows are together mocking – in black and white – the seriousness attached to delayed decisions, and also, questioning the pettiness shown towards whims.

Before becoming a news headline, Michel lives a simple life of a goon with a free future in vision and a blurry present; blurry but sweet and tender, like a half-dream seen in a half-sleepy state.

Patricia, an aspirer, a daydreamer, not a native, asks a lot of questions –

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“Have you been to Monte Carlo?” “No, Marseilles.”

“What is a horoscope?” “Horoscope? The Future. I wanna know the future. Don’t you?” “Sure.”

“Why are you so sad?” “Because I am.” “That’s silly.”

“What would you choose between grief and nothing?” “Grief is stupid. I’d choose nothing. It’s no better, but grief is a compromise. You have to go for all or nothing. I know that now.”

“What is your greatest ambition in life?” “To become immortal… and then die.”

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See, she asks such questions and gets such replies from Michel and others, like Parvulesco, the French writer/ philosopher she interviews in the film. Not always coherent and never definite, the answers make Patricia smile.

The car, the coffee, the cigarette, the smoke, the sprint, the bullet gradually push Michel and Patricia to either take a decision or act whimsically.

They do both – a decision is made, a whim wins over – but the timing and consequences differ. The only similarity is that they both make a news headline-worthy move!

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A simplified trailer of a mosaic film –

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A simple storyline that Godard twisted and moulded anew every day before shooting, Breathless’ distinctive visual style, editing, character portrayal and life-like quirky humour made it one of the leading films of the metamorphic French New Wave cinema.

The film’s originality and unique construction, after so many eras, continue to reform the cinema.


Experimenting, exploring, challenging fearlessly, Jean-Luc Godard postulated, presented and celebrated a new film philosophy; trying to build a bond with the viewer, his films demand attention, awareness especially if a political joke is being shared or if lovers are looking London talking Tokyo or if life is shown getting a speeding ticket or if an absurd gesture appears twice and the viewer tries to copy just for fun…

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Godard pushing cameraman Raoul Coutard (on a wheelchair for a tracking shot) during the shooting of Breathless.
(Source – The Hindu)

Au revoir, à la prochaine”, said the bird in French i.e. ‘goodbye, until next time’, for the bird has subscribed to an OTT platform where some of Godard’s films are streaming.


Cinema lovers, what’s the time?

Time to imitate Michel’s gesture from ‘Breathless’ where he is shown imitating his favourite American actor, Humphrey Bogart…

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Life imitates art, art imitates life.
(Source – The Madeleine Project)

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O Apache!

One summer gleaming morning, back in the 90s, a musician woke up, looked at the world maze and its commuters when a rapturous beat filled his mind… it was a fusion, a fusion of ragga and bhangra beats… the musician knew it was the time to sweetly twist the great razzmatazz of the world maze drama.

And so Apache Indian, the British Indian singer and reggae DJ, mixing cultures, tunes and beliefs, London to India via Jamaica, created a new wave that danced its way into stiff-grumpy-busy society’s heart. His funky hybrid tracks spoke bluntly but always with the spirit to bring a change.

Staying true to its roots – the reggae music genre is known to attack social evils – Apache Indian tried to arrest some fanatic dogmas and set free our handicapped progress.

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“High caste low caste, we don’t want that,

Everyone equal, let us decide that.

High caste low caste, Sanu ni chahida (we don’t want that),

Saare jaane barabar (we are all equal), Maano rab da kehna (listen to the one God).”

Caste System – Apache Indian; Album – Nuff Vibes

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“Caste System”, “Arranged Marriage”, “Aids Warning”, “Election Crisis” are some tracks that talk about an era and some persistent crippling ideas, all composed in an upbeat style. The very vigorous sounds of bhangra beats give these songs a desi, identifiable and yet refreshing touch; the east and the west amalgamates beautifully.

Then the peppy catchy dance numbers like “Boom Shack-A-Lak”, “Chok There”, “Don Raja”, “Ragamuffin Girl”, “Jump Up”, and “Celebrate” call out to all the listeners to enjoy the moment.

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No.1 in a the Bombay chart
Indian me a tear them apart
When me come me bring a new stylee
So listen crowd of people and you have to follow me
Chok there – them a ball when they see the Indian
Chok there – raggamuffin under style and pattern
Chok there – when me come that a different fashion
First tune a say me do no it reach No.1
In a the reggae charts and the Indian
Chok there – see me face upon the television
Chok there – hear me voice pon the radio station
Promotor them a come them a rub off them hand
Keeping a session and them want it fe ram
Chok there – put me name pon the invitation
Chok there – pon the gate go raise a million
Me bring a brand new style upon the Island
Fe the black a fe white and a fe the Indian
So each and everyone come follow fashion

Chok there – dip your knee cork out you bottom
Chok there – everyone in a the Bhangra fashion
Nuff DJ them a have a fe them own stylee
Some a wa da dong deng same a come follar me
And some a them a say Oh Lord a mercy
Pnumina ick pnumina do and also in a three
But anytime me came me bring a brand stylee
So listen crowd of people and you have to follow me…


Chok There; Songwriters: Simon Duggal, Diamond Duggal, Steven Kapur aka Apache Indian; Album – No Reservations

Experimenting freely and successfully, Apache Indian collaborated with many artists worldwide, from Sean Paul, Maxi Priest, Shaggy, Boy George to A. R Rahman, Asha Bhosle, Bally Sagoo, SteroNation and Jazzy B.

True to his craft – music is all about innovation – Apache Indian continues to create fusion music, uniting converse genres, fostering harmony.

It was in the 90s, a summer dream that came true… not a super-sonic era, but moving towards one, grooving and listening to Apache Indian’s music… that was created with a hope, adding a little bit of this and that to ragamuffin magic, a hope to become better… a hope that is still alive.

O Apache, we are listening.


Some of Apache Indian’s popular tracks –







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It Counterpoised Me Again

Wallflower by Jovita Alvares.
[Source – ImranMir.com]

It counterpoised my anger and my frustration by allowing me to see the yellow wallflower, in all its glory, befriending a butterfly on a cold winter’s day. And when the clouds thundered and became dark, it reminded me of a wonderful painting, letting me feel the wild wind.

It counterpoised my hate and disgust by telling me that it is alright and by asking me to breathe. And then the rain shower, the autumn leaves, the wet earth, the dripping music, everything made me feel alive and better.

It counterpoised me again, the other half of me did it, and quickly I changed my gait walking on the same old path, quietly listening to the rain.

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Universe’s a Disciplined Place

Glowing pizzazz!
Image from Pixabay.

Golden, glowing and emitting exuberance, vigour and vibrancy, the dynamic, ceaseless dance of fire, the Sun has mastered the art of discipline.

It has attained absolute freedom for nothing else can explain the mystical, marvellous zeal it possesses and the pizzazz it flaunts so calmly, so brilliantly.

The Sun enthrals us wholly, it rules all life forms; in its magnificence, it conducts the solar system without a baton.  

147.19 Million kilometres away from the Sun I feel its warmth, I feel home, I feel alive.  

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Divine o divine!
Image from Pixabay.

Silver cascade shimmering the night sky, music to the waves and surreal beauty to the eyes, the Moon loves the art of discipline.

It may be difficult to believe for the Moon’s splendour defies time, it stupefies the clock, it follows the path of a dreamer, but how could this be possible if the Moon knew not discipline?

Think for yourself, it never fails to heal a sad heart and rejoice with a happy soul, it never leaves one alone, it moves with the one walking, it blinks at the dreamy one, it soars with the child allowing the little hands to embrace it.    

The Moon’s discipline is unique for it never minds the clouds, the rain, the darkness; it shines serenely, reigning in power and peace. Divine o divine!  

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Universe – a miracle.
Image from Pixabay.

What is this magic? This Universe, this miracle… it is disciplined to invite life, to hold the infinite, to make the ending light and the beginning bright.  

This Universe, it sings and plays rhythms that touch every element quiet and sentient both; it is a rainbow of colours that paints with accuracy and fun alike.  

The Universe runs the art of discipline, it gloriously celebrates the art of discipline, for what else are the galaxies going round and round, round and round… for why the invisible cells in a body are forming a life…  

The macro and the micro worlds imbibe the Universe’s joy and freedom, which is nothing but the art of discipline.


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Two Blind Crows

Ra-ra’s famous window story.
[Image from Pixabay]

Ra-ra: Why did the window go SHUT… who closed it SHUT… my question is just HOW?

Ra-ra’s friend Coo stays quiet, looking absolutely nowhere.

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  Ra-ra: S-H-U-T shut, right when I was about to pick my share and leave…  

Coo: I believe you, it has been so many years since you first told me this story.

Ra-ra: (astonished) Many years you say, gone nuts…? It happened an hour ago.

Ra-ra: Coo, this ain’t the time to argue.

Coo: A while? He died ages ago.

Coo: You’re standing fine, 900 years have passed.

Ra-ra: 900? I have come flying from the west port of Oraffa city just now.

Coo: Oraffa city? Hah! Blind dreams!

Ra-ra: How dare you? I can see very well… you can’t, you blind ugly funny-sounding bad crow!

Coo: I said blind dreams… didn’t call you blind.

Ra-ra: Oh, oh-my, then let me apologise.

Coo: For what? We are blind, the world knows it. Yet…

Ra-ra: Blind we are, yes, yes… very much… (mumbles).

Coo: I’ll complete my sentence… yet we are still alive.

Ra-ra: (flaps wings) Death sentence, I have been given a death sentence and yet I am alive.

Coo: Cool-cool yourself Ra-ra. We are together in this.  

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Ra-ra starts sobbing, mumbles again.

  Coo: I am turning left.

Ra-ra: (softly) Left?

Coo: Turned.

Ra-ra: Wait for me!

Coo: Can’t.

Ra-ra: I think I also turned left unless it is the right, or it is somewhere in the middle, who knows.

Coo: Not me.

Ra-ra: (laughs) You’re funny!  

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Both Ra-ra and Coo stand quietly. Coo speaks after some time.

  Coo: Hey Ra-ra, you never told me your famous window story.

Ra-ra: I didn’t? How come?

Coo: That’s the truth.

Ra-ra: Well, then listen… the window was SHUT before I could pick my share… someone just closed it SHUT…

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The two blind crows talked facing what they thought was the left.

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Two Blind Crows
[Image by Santa3 from Pixabay]

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So Far

Short Feature
Two Worlds.
Image by – Jagriti Rumi.

I feel I am all alone in the two worlds. 

Taking a step forward I see lightning as ‘the fast’ meets ‘the slow’. I am not injured; I can endure the lightning but not the confusion.  

A beautiful path lights up as far as the mind can reach. Back and forth between a one-way; crashing becomes a certainty.

Quietly, I sit alive in the present.  

I am understandably forgetful. Myriad revelations slip away like a childhood memory, leaving behind a warm aftertaste. The warmth turns into a glow and the rest I forget.  

Infinity captured in a cage seeps away slowly. It is destined to do so. The two worlds are pulsating with this thought and I, in both.  

But there is only one reality in me. The cube burns into a cylinder and the cylinder burns into a sphere.

The shapes finally unite and the two worlds are annihilated.


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Hum Along

That feeling of sadness when you realise that you could have done something else, something better but you cannot because time has defeated you, leaving you alone with the mighty Fate.

That moment when your heart is full of love and your mind full of confusion and you hesitate to take a step forward; sometimes you console yourself and sometimes you scold yourself…all you are left with is pain.  

Pain is known to everyone who knows love, hope, desire and ego.

Why don’t we get rid of this pain and live happily ever after?

Maybe because we need pain…just to understand the importance of everything around us, to learn to value every little thing.

Maybe because pain teaches us to move forward, it gives us only one choice which is to change with time.

If seen in this light, pain helps us to realise our transient nature but not to lament over it, rather cherish every second of it and to make the best of it.

Yes, this will mean to be ALIVE always but this is just how we should live, shouldn’t we?

Why be in grief when neither the reason for the grief nor you, the sufferer, will stay forever? What stays is the wish to live life to the fullest.  

Keep walking, keep humming.
Image from Pixabay.

I am walking on a mysterious road… what passes me enters me and then it vanishes, leaving a feeling within me, giving me pain and hope… I walk ahead in the search of love… I cannot see the path, just one step after the other… it is thrilling… the silky air around me is what I can feel and the music of the cosmos that whispers in my ears, telling me to hum along.

So be it! Hum…. 


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Rain! Rain!

It is raining music and the birds are loving it.
[Image by Lisa McCarty from Pixabay]

Though I know it is not raining

I hope it did; I am carrying

Colours of life that I wish I could

Mix in me, and then surely I would

Live. Often do people say

‘It was raining on that evil day’

I hope they won’t, because they don’t

Understand rain. They don’t feel rain.


Rainfall is the dancing of clouds and

The song of the Nature. The land

Becomes alive and happy; ‘I’ becomes

‘We’, playing with the paper boats

And all the musicians taking notes

Rain rain, rain-rain.

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The Moon Is Singing White Light

Perhaps it is better to know the world after you know yourself completely. When the fog will disappear and the pain will die out, you’ll see what you’ll see. It will be real and true. You can float blissfully only after you have drowned, till the depth pushes you back and alive. It is not the misty wind or the world that shakes me but my ideas. Everyone is quiet outside but the moon is singing white light. Until I say ‘see you later’ to the world and tap my mind twice, my soul will stand separately on the hill.
I touched my shadow and folded it and I have hidden it in the pocket. Don’t panic. Though I am running but I am looking for something…I am looking for a silent room with green grass and a tree to sit under it. I’ll unfold things without judging then.

The Orange Way!

Pedalling the cycle in a rhythmic motion, Aunty Ji moved ahead towards a destination unknown to me. I saw her through the bus window and I don’t remember her face clearly.

She was wearing a dull purple sari; now was the sari actually light in colour or was it the hand-washing that the sari went through for infinite times that made it dull, I have no idea about it.

Her complexion was rough. Her hands, arms, and neck looked very rough; and rough not because her skin was bad or simply dry, but rough in a sense that reflected how hard she has worked for ages and how hard she will work for ages.

The skin was rough and dry because the sun rays befriended it; the sun rays and the burnt skin smiled together whenever they met.

She also wore a chain. She was married. She was bulky, but not because she was lethargic or slow, it was the birth of her three or four children that left her on a heavy side; and also the fact that she rarely got any time for herself.

However, she did take two minutes in the morning to dress up, apply powder, bindi, and comb her hair, she enjoyed these two minutes every day.

I didn’t know where she was going to or coming from, what was in her mind – capitalism, liberalism or food, what was her religion – Hinduism, Christianity or food, what was her educational qualification – was she a maid, a saleswoman or a sole breadwinner of a family, what did she know about the world – about global warming, the war/peace game and the wastage of food, and that whether being a human being was she even aware of her life’s higher purpose, was she following a godly Saint or a reasonable atheist, a complex God or a straightforward Holy Text?

I am not sure about anything and nor am I interested to be. Because she was cycling in rhythm and I connected with her as did the wind.

She was nothing extraordinary and almost obscurely invisible. She camouflaged with the out-of-city-region-before-entering-the-proper-country-area perfectly.

Yet she was the most alive person there – the Skylark of the sky and the Albatross of the ocean. She was the solution to the puzzle; she was the answer to the riddle.

Amusingly, she carried the answer and the solution in her bun- the lively, fresh orange flowers. There were two or three orange flowers, beautifully and so neatly pinned to the bun that even the speed breakers were unable to disturb the setting.

The orange flowers – what was the type I don’t remember – were fresh and sweetly orange in colour. The orange flowers hummed a soothing tune. Oh! It was melodious, it was magical, I can’t explain in words…it was a feeling.

A strong, but a fleeting one. And after all, I had just seen a glimpse of Aunty Ji.

I was inside the bus and we passed her and many other bicycle riders.

Everyone moving towards an end, busy garnering their life without truly perceiving it.

She possibly was ignorant, out-dated and wronged, still she had found a way that was orange in colour and alive and quiet and true. 

Fresh and sweetly orange in colour.
Image by M W from Pixabay

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