Film southasia

"Festival of southasian documentries"

Friday Afternoon

You can’t always be expected to know what you don’t know, and one of the most important things about documentary films is to let you into worlds that you didn’t know existed. “The Human Factor” tells the story of the father and two sons of the Lord family, behind-the-scenes Hindi film musicians who are estimated to have been involved in one in three Hindi films of the 1970s-80s. Almost everyone involved in the making of a film—from actors and directors to hairdressers, caterers and assistants—is credited by name, but not the musicians who create the music that becomes such an integral part of the finished product of the film. “The Human Factor” looks behind the scenes of these under-recognised artists by focusing in on Bombay Parsi family the Lords. Patriarch Cawas Lord, in his nineties when he filmed for this documentary, admitted that he didn’t really enjoy the music he played. Well, he granted, he enjoyed it while he was playing it, but not after. For the Lords, making film music was bread and butter (and jam!), but a job like any other. When synthesisers and other technology pushed them out at the end of the twentieth century, they retired in a dignified manner, but have been credited in recent years with various awards recognising their enormous, and often thankless, contributions towards Indian film.

A change of subject matter, but not entirely of tone, was in evidence at a talk by Gargi Sen, director of Magic Lantern Movies, a documentary film distributor. Gargi discussed the difficulty of getting documentaries disseminated to the public, emphasising the important work that Magic Lantern Movies does. The audience appeared to be full of young documentary makers, which was certainly encouraging, and a vibrant q&a session followed.

Blog by Elen Turner

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