Frames of Absence

Video and text by Pritha Mahanti

It is probably interesting, albeit silly, to think about the fact that much has been written about something as ‘non-existent’ as absence, be it in terms of form, theme or experience. Perhaps its inherent incommunicability makes it a great topic for exploration – either in words or in the pauses, ellipses or spaces between letters. In the visual world, it is a different challenge since absence can only be framed by infusing it with materiality. Like in life and literature, in cinema too, therefore, absence is always backed by other presences.

For this edit video called ‘Frames of Absence’ we picked up some moments from Indian cinema that brought us face to face with an overwhelming sense of void. Every shot has varying mix of love, longing, despair and redemption, as we find the characters either in a state of waiting, resignation or preparing for the unfamiliar. In each case, there is an absence that lies like an open wound. Much like the song by Aseer Arman that plays in the background – “Eka Beche Thakte Shekho Priyo” (Learn to live by yourself, my dear).


00.00.00 – Masaan, 2015

00.12.08 – Udaan, 2010

00.22.66 – Apur Sansar (The World of Apu), 1959

00.41.09 – Haider, 2014

00.49.67 – Lootera, 2013

01.07.19 – The Lunchbox, 2013

01.31.97 – Tasher Ghawr (House of Cards), 2020

01.35.35 – Asha Jaoar Majhe (Labour of Love), 2014

01.39.22 – Nayak (The Hero), 1966

01.44.18 – Apur Panchali, 2013

01.48.65 – Kanchivaram, 2008

01.55.90 – Rang De Basanti, 2006

02.01.58 – Qala, 2022

02.04.72 – Rang De Basanti, 2006

02.12.08 – Asha Jaoar Majhe (Labour of Love), 2014

02.14.63 – Aligarh, 2015

02.26.96 – Masaan, 2015

02.46.06 – Asha Jaoar Majhe (Labour of Love), 2014

02.51.13 – Bhumika (Role), 1977

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