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August 21, 2011

Absolute Passion

Text by Shekhar Kapur. Illustration by Kunal Kundu

Pure divinity or sheer hell?

Like a force stronger than anything I ever experienced coming from a place I cannot see or understand it took me completely by surprise as it enveloped me lifted me and threw me into a whirlwind that I cannot escape or describe except one inadequate word as all words are

Passion.

I hate passion, because I cannot own it. I hate passion because it is not of my own volition. I hate passion because it is my master. And I its slave.

Wise men say passion is ambition. Wise men are wrong. Ambition is what you desire. Ambition is what you aspire. Passion is what you cannot help but do. Cannot help but be engulfed by. But like the most dangerous and hard drugs ever known to mankind, passion is the most dangerous. The most addictive. Once you have tasted true passion, you crave for it. You yearn for it. No therapy can help you. No sleeping drugs will put you to rest.

God help me. For I have tasted passion. Now there is no turning back.

I love film. I hate film. I love film because at the moment of making a film, I become one with the force of passion. The moment I give into it and no longer can resist it. Allow it to take over, where I am not the doer. As a slave I am merely the conduit through which passion commands. I am not even present. I am lost.

Passion is the master.

I hate film because passion despises the word ‘practicality’. Passion knows only dreams. Passion lives in illusion and makes you the conjurer of its tricks. It fools you into thinking you are the creator. You are not. I am not.

Passion is the creator.

It leaves me exhausted. Every shot I take leaves me exhausted. My life no longer belongs to me. My mind no longer is in control. My ego fights a losing battle with passion. I try hard to escape it. I try not to make another film. I fool myself into thinking I can indulge in other things. I grope around with life, but like a drug addict I find everything else mundane. I crave for it to come back. I crave for its embrace. I give up. Till I realise,

Passion is life.

Till I become one with passion, life has no meaning. Passion is also fear. Like a jealous lover I am afraid to lose it. I fight a terrible battle with it, but at the same time fear it giving up on me. I fear losing it. For where would life be without the drug called passion? Where does it come from? A universal source that somehow found me. Why me? Am I lucky or just sheer unfortunate? I know it was not my volition. It was perhaps a hidden yearning to go beyond my own individuality, beyond my ego. Knowing that all that was measurable, all that was definable, was not enough. Not real. An illusion. And then passion found me.

Is Passion the Devil, or the Angel?

As a painter in the frenzy of his art suddenly allows another force to create the brush strokes. As a dancer knows not when the dance has taken over the dancer. As a poet follows the words that suddenly whoosh past like the wind. As the composer hears music as if coming from the Angels. Or the Devil.

As the great mathematician Ramanujan sat in the aura of his NamGiri Devi and saw the yet unsolved equations that he wrote.

As one man was driven to starve himself to death and willed the overthrow of the world’s greatest empire.

Passion is Gandhi.

As the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sang his Sufi songs yearning for a union with his Allah, lost himself and brought his audience closer to God for those moments.

Moments of absolute passion. Passion is Absolute.

I asked Passion, “Who are you?”
Passion relied, “I am Eternal.”
I asked, “Who am I?”
Passion replied, “You are my mortal conduit. Like the tandav dance of Shiva, I make you dance in harmony with the universe. Then you experience death. The death of your individuality.
I asked, “Why?”
Passion replied, “You ask too many questions. Just be. Be in passion.”

Passion is Death.

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