Friday, December 5, 2008

Saturday come

A few days ago, Kathmandu was shut down for three separate reasons: students protesting the fact that bus fares hadn't been reduced although fuel prices had gone down; locals and students from Kalanki/Kalimati protesting the murder by YCL of two young men from their area; and residents of Chabahil/Boudha area protesting against the murder of two teenagers from their area, by parties as of then unknown.

It turns out that the teenagers were killed by their acquaintances over six thousand rupees in cell-phone related debt. I see three problems that compounded to create that incident:

--A teenager not only had a cellphone, but also sold it to his teenage friend for the sum of six thousand rupees. It is unclear if either of them earned any money. Why would a teenager sell his cellphone? How would another unemployed teenager be expected to pay for it? If his parents could afford a phone for him, he wouldn't be buying from his friend.

--What sort of desperation or alienation from the norm and the average sort of reality does a person have to be experiencing to be persuaded to plot to kill a friend for a sum of six thousand rupees? People won't admit to it, but this has racial undertones to it. Which brings me to my third point:

--The intended murder weapon was a home-made revolver bought for three thousand rupees, the price of death of each of the two slain boys. It had been bought in the Terai, where, as does water down a face of stone, weapons from the conflict have trickled down to nest with different groups. Such a weapon was smuggled to Kathmandu, no doubt to be put to use at some point.

It is a tragedy, more so because the kid who didn't want to pay back the debt had the counsel of two older men who incited him to murder. The second kid was an accidental witness who tagged along with his friend to gather the money, perhaps excited about the revelry that would follow. He had to be killed, as such are the needs of banal evil.  


Milan, who edited Sano Sansar, has been steadily adding slightest touches of editorial magic to the short film. Most of editing is routine, bound by the set script and severely restricted by the mistakes of other people. Yet, there is always an opportunity, or more, for the deft editor to transform a moment from a dull mistake to an occasion for wonder or chuckle, as the case may be.

I was especially touched when he took a free-standing clip of Sushma giggling, a short cough of a giggle that lasted two heaves of the shoulders, and pasted it over an exchange between two characters egging each other. He timed it perfectly at the first attempt, so that she appeared to be giggling at a joke being told off-screen. The moment had nothing to do with Sushma's acting abilities, because she hadn't acted when she giggled like that--it was a candid moment, where she probably thought we'd use the part where she was doing montage actions of picking and throwing cards, taking a sip of her wine, but she giggled in between moments, and Milan made perfect use of that. 


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