Imaad Shah wants you to really, really love films. Love them in a way where you go from streaming Gangs of Wasseypur during a housebound Anurag Kashyap retrospective to learning how Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets laid the foundation for this gangster classic 40 years prior. Ideally, this happens over a drink inspired by the era.
His new project, Raw Stock Film Club, hopes to roust a new generation of movie-lovers out of their beds and away - just for a bit - from their streaming devices to watch movies together. Venue: local favourite The Humming Tree. Each edition of his new club has a theme; opening weekend focuses on the birth of New Hollywood during the 1970s. You don’t make up for your sins in church!
Featured films will be curated by Imaad and his brother Vivaan, who want to push discovery in a way data nerds behind your favourite streaming services will envy: “To understand the present, you must understand the past,” Imaad intones. “With Netflix and Amazon, you tend to go for what’s right under your nose, but there is so much to gain if you dig deeper and explore the history of films.”
The Humming Tree does its bit by providing themed tipples - thank you! - and Madboy (minus /Mink), Imaad’s musician avatar, has DJ sets planed to share musical influences from the films we watch. Dust off the fur coats and rhinestones, disco queens.
Six hours of film and discussion seem like the right way to enable cinephilia. But, what if your favourite film is still Andaz Apna Apna (no disrespect)? First, it’s not your fault - someone in the family had to go to engineering school. Second, Imaad believes there’s still hope. “Film is for the masses - even the most arty stuff,” he says. “In 2018, we as a species consume so much video, we have developed the faculty to watch something, be affected, to fall in love easily.” Think of it as the only kind of Kota coaching that should be allowed. Oh, and Raw Stock isn’t immersing you in European auteurism just yet: for now, he hopes to set you up with gritty, fast-paced, plain fun tasting menu.
Post-meetings, keep an eye out for Raw Stock Magazine, a multimedia companion in film consumption that offers watch lists for recommended viewing, features that dive into how the birth of the 70s blockbuster swallowed indie film, and bits and snippets to keep the solo screening going until the next season. “The three movies we screen are only the tip of the iceberg. We see the effects of New Hollywood even today - look at how blockbuster franchises like Star Wars still reign,” Imaad points out. If the club is about getting a new generation of cinema-loving boots on the ground, the Magazine is all about arming them with rich, juicy detail. Roll, please.
Getting there: The Raw Stock Film Club meets at noon at The Humming Tree on June 24. Entry is free, RSVP on Facebook.
This story was contributed by Sushmita Sundaram. She tweets at @sushmitas
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