White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Smitten

I sat there listening to Peter Sarstedt as he asked his Lovely where she went to when she was alone in her bed on repeat, in one of the non-HOV lanes of a highway that connects San Francisco to San Jose willing the traffic to move faster than the hands of my watch. Rule #8 of the Student Handbook of the San Francisco School of Digital Film Making states "Students arriving 15 minutes after class starts shall be marked tardy for that session" or something conservatively official like that. The IPU finally heard my inarticulate prayers and started clearing cars off the highway with amazing speed and I managed to be just twelve minutes late on only my second day to class.

Like the main professor, today's professor also had that intellectual trait of the gray beard. He took a dig at the late comers with that weapon used by the great conversationalists of this world - humor and I didn't mind. He introduced himself as James Savoca - a Sicilian storyteller, like the great Francis Ford Coppola and said he was going to try to teach us screenwriting. While clearing out the basics, he kept going off on interesting tangents which told me this guy knew what he was talking about, like when he said "The only thing I know about you all is that you love to take risks in life and I respect that." or when he was saluting democracy by making an attempt to respect the decision of the people who have elected the Legend in the Oval Office today, albeit with a touch of Eastern philosophy.

His preference of character driven scripts over plot driven scripts further enamored him to me. Then I asked him if an event was absolutely necessary to qualify a script as having a conflict. He said "Great question" and I think my ears got bloodier than Mary. After answering, he took a closer look at me and asked me where I was from. I threw out "India" as if I was wrapping myself in a Pashmina shawl. He said, "Have you seen any of Satyajit Ray's movies?" "Big fan. We are from the same place in India", I blurted out. Like an infant welcoming the familiarity of his mother's breast, James said "Oh, you are Bengali" with a slow-rising lopsided grin. What followed I can only imagine to be a few very long minutes for the rest of the class as we dived headfirst into a not very pertinent discussion of Apur Sansar or The World of Apu and eventually Ravi Shankar and the tabla. I was about to ask him about the Calcutta Trilogy but then felt sorry for everyone else and decided to confront him after class.

Almost all examples after that had something to do with Ray. After class I found out he had become a fan of Chhabi Biswas after watching Jalsaghar recently. He was a bigger fan of Kurosawa and I had just missed a screening of Rashomon by a mere two weeks. He told me his bookshelf boasted of a few of Ray's books on film making like My Years with Apu and Our Films, Their Films and I told him about Biswas' lack of a musical ear, an unbelievable fact considering his larger than life performance in Jalsaghar from my reading of Speaking of Films. He then lamented the fact that not too many of Ray's work was out on DVD in the West. It was almost as if Manik Babu was standing over us and we were conversing in the enormous shadow of his 6' 5" frame. I also explained to him how despite her good acting skills, Taboo was an incorrect choice for the role of Ashima Ganguly in Namesake because of her utterly non-Bengali looks.

The only other time I was this smitten by a male stranger was when this American aviator had visited our school and his adventurous life had been a colorful dream to my juvenile mind. In fact, this smite might make me take up the Screenwriting Workshop he is teaching in April and has produced this late night post neglecting the pitch for the script of my film which is due tomorrow. I guess I'll get down to it now.

6 comments:

Mala said...

I guess junior Ray is in the making. Chaliye jao boss! Good to know you are enjoying the class irrespective of the insane traffic.

ArSENik said...

Now I am blushing. *Flaps eyelashes thrice.

Anonymous said...

i hope yr script is not as cryptic as yr blog posts

Balaji Pav

ArSENik said...

LOL...good to see you here after soo long. The comments sections of my posts have missed your alias-changing self dearly. [Insert proverbial senti sniff here]

Well, I don't think it'll be cryptic but James thinks mine is definitely subtle. Let's see if the execution is able to do justice to the subtlety.

dreamy said...

wowie.

I took up "Film studies" by accident.
Now that the course is over, I know how dearly I am missing it. :D

btw, Roshomon, is one movie which has had SUCH an impact on me. I watched it over a year ago, and last day, it was playing in a classroom adjacent to the one in which I was sitting and trust me, I could tell it was Roshomon just by the music.

:)

ArSENik said...

Rashomon is a masterpiece. I need to buy the DVD. Those moving shots of the sky through the tall trees in the jungle are just amazing. I saw this documentary on the making which had an interview with the cinematographer and he talks about how they did it using dollies and the route of the dollies etc. Unprecedented stuff and a huge deal for the 50's when the talky were still in its infancy.

Like in all Kurosawa films, the music is very indigenous and attention-grabbing. Add to that Toshiro Mifune's aggressive nuances and you have a masterpiece.

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