“Only connect” E. M. Forster wrote in his 1910 novel Howards End. A hundred and ten years later, in the throes of a raging pandemic, we are all striving to connect – with conferencing technologies, messaging apps, social media. And yet, we feel more isolated than ever, lonely in our little boxes, as we appear on Zoom.
The Front Row is an attempt to get out of the box. One of the things I’ve missed most this year is a sense of connection around film, sitting in that dark hall with strangers, all of us laughing or screaming at the same time, those vehement debates with friends about films or shows we’ve watched, standing in line at a film festival and comparing notes with the person next to me. We may not be able to recreate these moments (at least in the near future) but we can rebuild that feeling of shared passion and community.
The Front Row is an online collective that gives you the opportunity to engage with cinema, content, creators and other people like you who love storytelling. For 99 rupees a month, you can participate in masterclasses, conversations, Q and A sessions with critics and filmmakers, and screenings. We’re kicking off with a chat with Pankaj Tripathi whose life and career exemplify that eventually talent trumps everything. 2020 has been a stellar year for Pankaj professionally with Gunjan Saxena, Mirzapur 2 and Ludo. I will be chatting with him about the challenges of success, how an actor stays current without getting stereotyped and how he manages to create so much out of so little – look at what he did with Sattu bhaiya in Ludo. This is not your typical promotional interview. Pankaj isn’t there to sell you his latest work. Instead we will, together attempt to find new insights into the actor and his art. And you will participate in real time. Think of it as attending an exclusive adda.
That’s the beauty of The Front Row. We’re here together to celebrate art and artists. When life resumes a semblance of normalcy, we hope to become an active offline community as well. As American film critic Karina Longworth says in her brilliant podcast You Must Remember This: Won’t you join us? You can register here.