Monday, August 10, 2020

About the online courses (and Lara the compulsive nibbler makes her Zoom debut)

I haven’t been providing updates here about the two online courses I have conducted over the last few weeks, but they went quite well on the whole – a nice confidence-booster, given that I handled almost everything single-handed, from the “administrative” work (keeping track of and replying to all the emails that came in from potential participants) to the actual preparation, figuring out the technology, running Zoom sessions that required toggling between Powerpoint, video clips and chat while conducting the discussion. It was tiring, of course, with both morning and evening sessions on Sundays for the song-sequence classes (five hours of earphone use in a day makes the head hurt!), but it was a good start.

Highlights included the guest appearance made by the wonderful Paromita Vohra during one of the song-sequence classes, to talk about her love for song and dance as very special forms of expression in Hindi cinema. (Paromita touched on a lot of that in this excellent recent interview with The Indian Express.) There were some very invigorating conversations between people who really “get” popular cinema and how it works. And the two discussions around Val Lewton and psychological horror of the 1940s were stimulating too.

Best of all: in the morning session yesterday, my ever-nervous Lara made her Zoom debut, treating my shoulder as her personal chewie-toy even as I manfully continued talking about the “Katra Katra” scene from Ijaazat (via Mira Hashmi’s book about the film). Part of the video is below.

(More to come on other classes – and informal discussion-sessions – I will be hosting in the next few weeks. Some pictures from the sessions are below.)

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