Although their work is most frequently discussed in relation to the “Indian New Wave” or within the more theoretically charged framework of the “avant-garde,” filmmakers Mani Kaul and Kumar Shahani have spent decades pursuing aesthetic projects whose parameters exceed the bounds of these critical categories. Informed by the practices of both Ritwik Ghatak and Robert Bresson, Kaul and Shahani remain rigorously attentive to the concreteness of image/sound relations in cinema and acutely conscious of the perspectival system underlying conventional cinematic representation. In markedly different but complementary ways, both filmmakers have tried to develop synthetic approaches that would extend the strategies of international cinematic modernism while also reinvigorating premodern forms, drawing fresh attention to the structure, embedded histories, and experiential possibilities of spatial vision.

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