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BIDISHA MAHANTA
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CINEMA Filmmaker Karl Bardosh has constantly strived to adapt to new technology

trailblazer Karl Bardosh
trailblazer Karl Bardosh

Cinema, the language of the soul has no boundaries and ironically, has no dictionary either. It follows the magic of surrealism and projects unknown desires and uncharted territories to the common man, leading a common life. And then there are those who fall irrevocably in love with it.

Signature black beret in place, Karl Bardosh looks unperturbed by the hullabaloo of a typical Delhi crowd present for the 6th International Festival on Cellphone Cinema. While his warm European charm infuses an aura of old time glamour, the New York based Karl has his feet planted firmly in the future.

Of Hungarian descent, Karl is a Professor of Arts at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and a connoisseur of all things relating to the cinematic experience. Teaching 32 different courses on cinema at the same time, with two of them of his own design, Karl is a firm believer that cinema is not an elitist venture. “I have been teaching Cellphone Cinema for the past four years in open arts class, which means someone who studied microbiology or medicine or whatever, can join the class. Now with my course on No Excuses Cinema, anyone can tell a story no matter the availability of equipment or opportunities,” claims Karl.

His relationship with India being more than two decades old, Karl chose to inaugurate the concept of First International Cell Phone Cinema Festival in India, in conjunction with the Marwah Studios back in 2007. The romance with India started way back in the early 90s when Karl wrote, directed and edited the first American documentary on Bollywood and Indian Parallel Cinema for the American Public Broadcasting System that ran prime time for three years. Elaborating on the Indian connection, Karl says, “The clichéd answer would be that India is a land of spirituality and all that. In addition to that I add my real answer. It is a land of spirituality and a land of films. And at the end of the day, I’m just a filmmaker”.

However cinema is not his only forte. His lifelong endeavour has been to make cinema and the arts an accessible non-discriminating platform. Championing ethnic television in America, Karl had started Hungarian American Television in 1978 that is still running as a weekly broadcast on Time Warner Cable TV in the States. Karl recalls that age when America was considered to be a melting pot of cultures and “melting pot meant everybody had to be a uniform American and had to give up everything about their backgrounds and to just show that upfront that we are just American, just American. Around that time the concept shifted to the glorious mosaic which means that I am an American first but I have an ethnic background”.

The trajectory of his life dotted with trailblazing activities, Karl laughs it off as a fascination to be a pioneer of as many things as possible. With the First Poetry Music Video with the legendary poet Allen Ginsberg to the first live streaming for Microsoft Corporation at ‘Backstage at the Tony Awards’ in 1997, Karl has not missed a step in the technological leaps pre- and post-millennium. Being tech-savvy and adaptable to the changing years of cinema, Karl dismisses the opinion that such instant cinema would eventually lead to the decay of the magnificent cinematic experience. With an upcoming project with Single Shot Cinema pioneer Leonard Retel Helmrich, Karl is visibly excited about its screening in the Cannes fest.

BIDISHA MAHANTA

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