In the course of life, we often pick up material memories that cross our paths – this can be a leaf from our favourite tree in college or an album that contains the song that changed our childhood forever. While emotions and memories are what we hold close to our hearts, certain items become extensions of our self that continue to give us joy. Many of the world’s greatest creators are also collectors because their need to create often comes from a place of intense appreciation. This is why avid movie aficionados like Anurag Kashyap make time and space in their lives for collecting and preserving the best that the world of cinema has to offer. He had also mentioned in an interview that he considers it “a way to ensure that these great works continue to exist in a physical form and that they are there for generations to watch.”
Movies, as stories captured in motion, always bring a surge of emotions associated with them. While some find joy in watching and collecting period dramas that capture the beauty of times gone by, others find meaning in watching and collecting their favourite literary works portrayed poignantly on screen. For cinema connoisseurs who look for nuanced content that goes beyond the mainstream, &PrivéHD has curated The Bookmarked Collection. Much like personal collections, this curation of movies presents a library that captures journeys and emotions portrayed on screen.In the spirit of collections that address the passionate, we look to a few unique collectors from across the nation. The nature of these collections are as varied as the personalities of their collectors, ranging from a solitary affair to being a family event.
I. The Collector: Ishaan Nair
The Collection: Movies
One of the leading fashion photographers in the nation, Ishaan Nair has captured some of the most celebrated personalities in India and worked with some of the most prominent brands. But as someone who holds a degree in direction and cinematography from New York, he set out to become a filmmaker. Even though he later realized his path led towards professional photography, he continues to nurture his love for movies. Ishaan carefully collects international and independent films across genres, each holding a special place in his collection. In fact, Ishaan has a bigger collection back home in Delhi but couldn’t carry them all when he moved to Mumbai.
As a creator with a love for collection and curation of movies whose own debut film did not see the light of day in India even after garnering positive buzz at international festivals, he did say that, “Photography and film are mediums to be shared and resonated. The world needs self-sustaining art. For some reason, we’ve alienated art from commerce. If you marry both, it has great power. There’s no point of making something and having only one person sees it. My art didn’t get seen; I know what it feels like.”
II. The Collector: Saraswati Menon
The Collection: Books
A writer-director and lyricist based out of Chennai, Saraswati Menon is someone who has a deep appreciation for everything from art, history and poetry to academic theories. As avid readers themselves, Saraswati’s parents started collecting books and translations as they travelled around the world. Today, the Menon family book collection stands at 1079 books and counting with additions being made by Saraswati and her sister as they started to read and collect books of their own.
From a young age, the need to read was ingrained in her through visits to the library and storytelling sessions with her family. As a family affair, this ever changing, ever growing collection was always considered an investment without any price limits. Having family arguments over who gets to read the latest acquisitions first, her family shares an unspoken bond with the books. They also religiously write dates of when books were acquired and she says, “By doing this, they become more than just books, they become a memory, an occasion and a tangible piece of time.”
From their prized collection, the autographed copy of R.K Narayan’s Malgudi Days that her mother got directly from the author at a book fair, is a family favourite. During her time at the University of East Anglia, Saraswati got her books signed by the alumni that comprised of award-winning authors such as Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Joe Dunthorne. When asked about a collection that she admires, Saraswati fondly mentioned actor and playwright Girish Karnad’s collection of books and his advice of always reading at least a hundred pages a day.
III. The collector: Dayanita Singh
The collection: Book Objects
A photographer who goes beyond the normal medium of communication, Dayanita Singh is an offset artist who works with a unique form of dissemination. The world-renowned New Delhi based photographer has created a space for her monochrome frames. Museum of Chance, Dayanita Singh’s portable museum that comprises of 164 images taken over 30 years, arranged in wooden structures has recently been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York for an exhibition later this year.
Carving out a space that intersects between books on shelves and images on a gallery wall, she plays with the mobility of her captures and has created Book Objects – a collection of her images in mass produced book formats that can be edited, rearranged and curated by those who engage with them. She goes onto say, “I was very keen to know if I could make something that one would consider acquiring, that is not a book of mine, that is not a print of mine, but somehow has the distinct aura of an artwork and yet can somehow be possible for you to have, not just for financial reasons but for space and for mobility.”
Focusing on the fact that dissemination was the large intent behind photography in the first place, Dayanita Singh turns the concept of collections on its head. A word that is defined as ‘gathering items together’ and is often referred to with an undertone of exclusivity is instead turned into an interactive experience.
Such is the power of collection. It can not only bind people together but memories as well, making you feel happy and proud. &PrivéHD brings to you a similar collection of movies adapted from books, something that is sure to bring back a few memories. Known as The Bookmarked Collection, this curated list of movies brings together the richness of literary characters and the beauty of the silver screen.
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If you are an avid collector yourself and find solace in indulging in your unique idiosyncrasies by carefully curating your most prized possessions of books, music, films or something totally unique, we would love to know your stories. Share your tale with us by filling in this google form here.
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