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The ultimate wish list…

A script writing and production software installed in an ultra lightweight laptop. A soothing alarm clock that wakes you up at 4.00 A.M. A library of essential books and DVDs. A film camera and a digital video camera, stored side by side. A heavy duty computer set up that has the latest version of Adobe Premier that can take in High Definition and that which has a film option. An Apple set up with Final Cut Pro and Pro Tools installed. A ‘chakaas’ noise reduction system. A projector that has ‘danchak’ luminance. A three bedroom-hall-kitchen flat – one bedroom each for edit, sound and a mini screening room. E & OE (errors and omissions excepted)

Suddha at Navi Mumbai

The B.S.K.B. is an association of people from a particular community migrated to the city of Mumbai from the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada in coastal Karnataka. One of the activities that it undertakes is the running of the newly formed old age home in Nerul, Navi Mumbai, called 'Aashraya'. A few days back a screening of SUDDHA was arranged for the mostly Tulu speaking inmates of the old age home. Unfotunatly, for some reasons, it was not possible for me to go to the screening. I guess, it went off well and am eager to know the reactions of the inmates towards the film. If you are looking to arrange a screening for your club / college / house / office please click HERE

A Filmy Treatment

In a recent hectic outdoor shooting of mine, more than half the unit members had gone down with diarrhea and related illness. We thought it was the stress, but there would have been shoots that might have resulted in greater stress levels. We thought it was the food; we had changed at least four caterers - all in vain. We thought it was the water; but we were supplied with the minral kind. Did we think that it was the way we handled them that caused the illness....? Hmmmmmm... I am afraid not. Could I have avoided the bitterness that followed..? I regret for not having put systems in place which could have created the possibility of a compassionate man management approach that has nothing to do with a budget of the film. Sorry, I was ignorant that it needed to happen. I thank my unit members who despite receiving some 'filmy treatment', never allowed the nastiness to creep into the film.

The dog and it's tail.

Once an accountant, always an accountant. Once in doubt, always in doubt. A hand tries to straighten the tail. The dog bites the hand that feeds it. The habit of seperating the production from the film. Once a film maker, not always a film maker.

Om-Dar-Ba-Dar - a revisit and a few thoughts.

Last week, I managed to watch Kamal Swaroop's 1988 film 'Om-Dar-Ba-Dar'; after almost twenty years. Kamal was showing the film to some of his students in a school of architecture in Mumbai. The hall was petty much crowded when the film began; by the time the end titles rolled in, there were lots of empty chairs. Not that the filmmaker minded it, I thought. Considering the filmmaking path that he has been walking, maybe he is used to it by now . In the discussion that followed, Kamal in his own subversive manner, narrated the non existent 'story' of the film and its 'meaning'. It was as 'meaningless' as the film itself. The ability to comprehend a chair as a chair... It takes some amount of discipline and practice to watch a movie without assigning any meaning to it. What meaning would one assign to a ‘collage’? What meaning would one assign to a ‘aalaap’? The manner in which Bhimsen Joshi sings a ‘Bhajan’ could be interesting than the meaning of the

'Putaani Party'

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Links to my new feature film in Kannada language... If you are looking to arrange a screening for your club / college / house / office please click HERE Trailer Official Site Facebook Page 'Putaani Party'

The Waiter and the Cutter...

The spoon that gets wiped on dirty pants, serves the dish. The hand that cleans the nose, winds the negative. Thus goes the story of the waiter and the cutter.

The Tough, the Missing and the Scratches.

The mantra was to complete, deliver and move on… But hey, wait… where is the protagonist? When the going got tough, the tough got missing! Information withheld knowingly, facts released untimely; There could be scratches on the emulsion.

Hand and the nail.

The shoot, the edit and the sound generation… It’s all just a preparation. The union of Picture and Sound… The ultimate moment! Miss this and miss the film. A hand hammers a nail on to itself.

Frog and the Pond

Is the film there because of the production? or Is the production there because of the film? Ignoring the film while making it. A frog jumps into a deep well. It thinks it is a pond. ********

Dev D

Me thinks, the most interesting part in the film 'Dev D' occurs only at the fag end of it - when Dev supposedly gets a realization, as a car nearly runs over him. Unfortunately, the events in the film unfold very rapidly after this point and before you can blink, the film ends. It therefore becomes nearly impossible to savor this change in the character’s thought process and hence, in his life. I wished that it had got more screen time and I wished that the purpose of this film itself was this transformation. Otherwise, I thought, the ‘materiality’ of the film maker with regards to his film was quite evident.

Chemistry

I was sitting on the bench in front of the intensive care unit of a hospital. A close relative was inside. He had just had two attacks of convulsions, he was restless, had no sense of space or time, did not know what he talked nor could he relate to anything told to him. The doctors had opined – it was an imbalance of a chemical in his body – a chemical called Sodium. I had hated chemistry in my college. 36 or 37 percentage was all that I could ever manage in that subject। Beyond H2O and HO2, nothing would make sense. I remember of even swearing that I would never touch chemicals and chemistry again. Alas, how wrong was I... As I was wondering about the kind of destruction a chemical imbalance can do to a human body, a young man, whose relative too was inside the intensive care unit, struck a casual conversation with me. When I told him about the chemical issue, he got angry. ‘Does he eat a lot of fruits? These days they inject a huge amount of chemicals into fruits and vegetables so

Paro's PMGP

Those of you who are intrested can catch up with Paromita Vohra's piece called 'The one billion rupee home' published in the book 'Mumbai Meri Jaan' (Mumbai, my love); edited by Jerry Pinto & Naresh Fernandes. It is an exhaustive article that deals with her experiences during her stay in the PMGP colony.

13\3 PMGP – End

Initially, the agent who had helped me purchase the flat had stared suspiciously at my unkempt beard and had warned me, ‘You are welcome to stay here…. But don’t do anything ‘ aise-waise ’ (This and that) with our girls.’ I was a bit surprised. Did I look the kind who would do all sorts of ‘ aise-waise ’ with anyone at all? Not taking any chances, I started to trim my beard and comb my hair regularly. The original alloties of the flats in PMGP colony treated their film and media neighbours as ‘outsiders’. But the ‘locals’, as we used to call them, were as depended on us, as we were on them. The software boom was yet to arrive. We, therefore, were the neo-rich professionals. And we had the cash. A journalist from New York once wrote an article on India and the transformation that it was going through due to globalisation. He did some exclusive reporting on PMGP. All of us were branded as 'young Indian yuppies' living in the gettos of Mumbai. I should thank my stars that my unc

13\3 PMGP – Middle

The original inhabitants of PMGP were a part of a rehabilitation scheme – The Prime Minister’s Grant Project or PMGP. They had been displaced from their earlier habitat, thanks to a road project that linked two suburban centres in Mumbai. Most were migrants from other parts of the state of Maharashtra. I had made my purchase from one such lady. It was only much later that I came to know about her profession. She brewed and sold country liquor. Her husband had apparently hanged himself to death and the rumour going around was that his wife was too ‘hot’ to handle. My building society secretary, with grave concern, had once whispered that the lady was seeing a young but corrupt police constable, even before her husband’s death. I dared not mention any of this to anyone. ‘Budding filmmaker buys flat from a possible adulterous liquor lady’ – this also did not sound good. But all said and done, my ground floor ‘ Kholi ’ was quite an ‘ adda ’ by itself. It had a TV set and so, people gath

13\3 PMGP – Beginning

It was a 180 sq foot ground floor flat that I had purchased during my early days in Mumbai. It was just a stopgap arrangement, before I moved on to a bigger flat. I had planned to stay there for exactly two years. It took me more than thirteen years and a whole lot of persuasion to get out of 13\3, PMGP Colony at Mahakali, Andheri (East), Mumbai. Initially, when I brought the place, well-wishers had warned me that the number of the house was unlucky. But for me, the purchase was a huge accomplishment – acquiring a roof akin to making a film. In fact, my friend and classmate from the film school, Rajiv Katiyal did comment in jest, ‘Ram could not make a film, so he purchased a flat’. Yes, technically it was a ‘flat’. It had a living area, a tiny kitchen space and an attached bathroom cum toilet. Back home, my relatives were surprised and even impressed! This black sheep of the family had the presence of mind to buy a flat and that too, within a few years of moving into the city. But o

Akbar, Krish and Om Agarwal...

In the numerous Saas-Bahu (mother-in-law / daughter-in-law) serials that are currently on air on Indian prime time Television, it normally is the woman who does all the sinister scheming. In one particular serial ‘Pallavi’ is the scheming sister-in-law and ‘Parvathi’ is the wife who effectively counters her sinister designs. The point of contention is normally a man, Om Agrawal in this case; who is portrayed as a dumb and ignorant gentleman, oblivious to the overt plotting that happens around him. The other day I happened to watch ‘Jodha Akbar’. In the film, Mogul emperor Akbar’s Hindu wife Jodha steps out of her palace in the middle of the night to meet her brother. Akbar’s scheming foster mother makes this encounter look like an adulterous liaison. Akbar believes and within a fraction of a second pronounces Jodha as guilty. She is sent back to her father’s place. It looked odd to me that the emperor of India , who usually is so alert to all the political schemers around him,

Yaadein

When an adulterous husband finds out that his wife and kids have left him for good, he undergoes pangs of guilt, gets depressed and in a mentally unstable condition attempts to kill himself, only to be saved just in time by the return of the dutiful wife. Needless to say, there is a family reunion. There is nothing in this plot line to suggest that a film based on it would be different from the rest of the films that the formula based mainstream Indian film industry churns out day in and out. An erroneous husband is tamed; the institution of marriage is eventually upheld. The lady in question is a typical understanding ‘Bharathiya Naari’, who despite being ill-treated, loves her husband, takes care of her family and performs her household duties to perfection. This could well have been one of those ‘sentiment’ oriented ‘weepy kerchief films’ that the South Indian Film Industry is so adept with! For some reason or the other, I missed watching ‘Yaadein’ – the Hindi film made on

Of a few good men and a lot of screenings…

In the first screening schedule of my Tulu language digital feature film SUDDHA (The Cleansing Rites) that was held in the villages of Coastal Karnataka a few months back, I had traveled to various schools and colleges. But for the second and the third schedules, I decided to target the general public. This automatically meant that the screenings had to be held only in the evenings. Yet, I managed to have two screenings a day, for during the day time I continued showing the film to interested college students. After having written to almost all the Gram Panchayats (Village Governing Bodies) in the Tulu speaking areas of the State of Karnataka and after having hobnobbed with various governmental and non governmental cultural organizations requesting them to take the initiative in hosting or arranging the screenings of SUDDHA in the villages of coastal Karnataka; and having failed to evoke any response, I decided to individually contact grassroots level groups that have engaged thems

SUDDHA in the land of Girni

The magnificent Ararat peak greeted me when I first landed in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia - a country that was once a part of the erstwhile Soviet Union Bloc. The snow peaked mountain was just majestic. I just could not take my eyes off it. I was there in Yerevan along with my feature film SUDDHA (The Cleansing Rites) to attend the Golden Apricot International Film Festival that was held from 9-14 July 2007. With me in the vehicle was Ms An Cheong-sook, a film critic from South Korea . Her gaze too, was on the Ararat. Mount Ararat is one of the tallest of the peaks in the area. Armenians often boast that that it can be seen from anywhere in their country. It is presently located just beyond its borders, in the Turkish territory. It is said that during the Biblical times, the Noah’s Ark had landed in Mount Ararat . Some archaeologists quote satellite images and swear that the remains of the Arc are still buried somewhere in the snow peaked mountain. Some others say that