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Rahul  Gandhi’s visit to the FTII campus has breathed new fire into the controversy with the pro-government forces accusing the students of politicizing the issue. This timing of his appearance, just in advance of the August 3 protest in Delhi, outside the parliament makes it furthermore interesting. Not only has this event escalated the issue to a different level, it has also opened up its prospect of becoming a major challenge during the monsoon session. BJP sympathizers, who had unleashed an online character assassination campaign against FTII students, are left infuriated. This event also seems to be a win-win for both parties, (Rahul and the FTII students) since not only will it give a new political boost  to the students’ demands but it will also help Rahul combat the political irrelevance he has been reduced to post election.

Before fingers are pointed towards the students, some facts must be set clear. Rahul Gandhi was not exclusively invited to the campus. The students of the institute had been constantly trying to engage the government in a dialogue process but all their appeals fell on deaf ears. The first meeting with the I&B Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley could take place only after a fortnight of agitation, and that meeting too was more of a one sided speech than a dialogue. The ministers exploited all their tools to pressurize the students into withdrawing their strike without paying any heed to their complaints. Having left with no option, the students decided to write letters to forty five members of parliament seeking their support, including three belonging to BJP (Prakash Javadkar, Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha).

Among all of them if Rahul Gandhi has decided to visit FTII, then students are in no position not to give him an audience for the sake of keeping things “apolitical”. It should be noted that the students never invited any politician to the campus exclusively. In fact, the letters sent to the MPs were for seeking support, not requesting appearance at the strike. However, if anyone chose to come and express their solidarity, the students have welcomed . In fact, some right wing organizations have also protested outside the gates of FTII. Installation work made by the students have been vandalized by unknown people the night before. The students didn’t raise any objection. Members of ABVP, including individuals who had attacked the students earlier, came to the institute and threatened them again (albeit in a veiled manner). The students showed restraint.

If the students could tolerate unruly elements from ABVP coming and threatening them at the gates of their very own campus, then in which moral universe are they supposed not to allow Rahul Gandhi in? Let us not forget that Mr. Gandhi had made his appearance on the 50th day of the strike. If anyone is responsible for awarding that opportunity to him, it is the government itself, whose constant reluctance at establishing a meaningful dialogue with the students has led the strike go on for so long. Instead of showing any sign of goodwill, the government tried out several arm twisting tactics. First, it started to pressurize the students through bureaucracy,  then it went on with a character assassination campaign calling the students freeloaders, elitist, naxalites, anti-hindus, and what not. The whole institute, its purpose and its existence was maligned and this educational enterprise (whose entire budget is loose change for the government) was evaluated  against its fiscal utility. Counter narratives based on incomplete and disingenuous interpretation of factoids were released and circulated by online bhakt network.

At the extreme, an attempt to sabotage the strike was made by filing ridiculous police complaints against the students exploiting the services of some controversial staff members. None of these could deter the students. On the contrary, by indulging in such cheap tactics, the government has ended up lowering its status further. The outpourings of public support online (often consisting of bullying tweets and profane commentaries) can give the government a sense of fake achievement but in a democracy like India, living in denial can be deadly, and who else than the BJP has the taste of it? But alas, overconfidence induced amnesia is a typical BJP problem.

Instead of trying all these futile exercises, had the government spent some time trying to understand the institute and its needs, the issues might have been resolved rather amicably. Having evaded that responsibility for 50 days, the government has no moral right to accuse the students of politicizing this issue. In fact, they should be thankful to the opposition for giving them a grace period of 50 days.

But, above all, the basic premise that a democratically elected opposition leader involving himself directly with people is something politically vicious, is outright preposterous. People (and especially the BJP and its supporters) should not forget that the constitution has enshrined the concept of opposition in our democracy, not for decoration but for some real practical purpose. And leaders of opposition have every right to involve themselves with issues of the people. In fact, direct involvement with the people is something that should be appreciated and practiced by politicians of all colors. It is true that Mr. Gandhi does not have the oratory skills of Prime Minister Modi and more than often, he is referred to as incapable and mediocre. But one thing that is visibly good about him is that he actively meets people and involves himself in their issues directly, no matter whether it brings any tangible results to his party or not. You can criticize him for a million shortcomings, but the last thing you can chastise him for, is meeting people.

And the BJP should not forget that it owes its present strength to its existence as opposition party for so many years. The full majority that the BJP has in the parliament today, is not just attributed to its pre-election campaign, but to the years of hard work done by veteran leaders like  L.K. Advani, A.B. Vajpayee and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee as “opposition leaders”.  If the role of opposition were to be so trivial, so insignificant and so limited then there would be no BJP today. The 2014 elections have decimated the Congress to a paltry 44 seats. And perhaps, this is the worst phase in the history of the party. But despite that low score, it still represents the mandate of the people of this country. No matter how small it is, it is still significant and commands the respect of democracy. Now it is the responsibility of the BJP to treat its opposition with the same respect and significance, it has demanded for itself for so many decades. If the BJP tries to constrict the opposition using hard line (and often, below the belt) tactics, it will insult the legacy of its own great leaders.

Surya Samaddar, FTII Student

Script of Sujoy Ghosh’s Short ‘Ahalya’

Posted: August 4, 2015 by moifightclub in film, Scripts, short film
Tags: , , ,

With Sujoy Ghosh’s short film ‘Ahalya‘ doing exceptionally well on youtube, many of you had asked for the script of the film. So here we are. Thanks to Sujoy, we are uploading the script of the short. Enjoy reading!

 

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“Mann kasturi re,
jag dasturi re,
baat hui na poori re.”
 
— Varun Grover, Masaan
 
“Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.”
 
Wislawa Szymborska, “Love at First Sight”
 
It’s always a moment too early or too late. Too early to die; too late to have lived. In between life and death we survive in fragments, as parts of ourselves, piecing ourselves together into new selves, recovering from past pains, shielding ourselves from hurt. And all the while, we’re asking ourselves one question: What if? 
 
What if, five years ago, we had taken my grandmother to hospital an hour earlier than we did. Would she have recovered from her stroke? What if the attendant at the CT scan lab hadn’t made us wait for a seemingly interminable time? Do hours actually matter when minutes can change your life? 
 
Sixteen years ago, would my father have escaped being hit side-on by two drunk motorists, if he had started crossing a dimly-lit street — just outside a Durga Puja pandal — only a minute later? But does a minute matter when an error in judgement — made in seconds by a doctor — almost takes someone’s life a few years later? 
 
The year is 2000, and I remember oxygen cylinders; my mother’s pained breathing; the look of desperation in her dim eyes — all the result of a botched operation from a few years ago. A few months later, my grandfather passed away after suddenly slipping into dementia, upon seeing my mother gasping for her life in hospital. 
 
Is there a mapping to these sequences — a faint, cold logic of destruction that must be wrought, will be wrought? Every personal history is littered with these tribulations — of moments missed, chances dropped. But the mirror has two sides. Every personal history is also lit with chance meetings that change lives; sudden epiphanies that resound for decades; a random good turn that restores lost faith. 
 
Just as we shiver at the thought of love lost, we must also thrill at the thought of love — and friendship — gained. That friend whom you met sixteen years ago in one of the many schools you could have attended, in one of the many cities you could have been born into. That friend who is still there, a call or message away, to listen, to console. In his book, Two Lives, Vikram Seth writes:
 

Behind every door on every ordinary street, in every hut in every ordinary village in this middling planet of a trivial star, such riches are to be found. The strange journeys we undertake on our earthly pilgrimage, the joy and suffering we taste or confer, the chance events that leave us together or apart, what a complex trace they leave: so personal as to be almost incommunicable, so fugitive as to be almost irrecoverable.

 
What if, twelve years ago, my father had not read to me the poem that would change my life, and begin a love for reading (and writing poetry) that continues unabated? That poem, I now realise, is perhaps the antidote to ‘ye dukh kaahe khatam nahi hota be?’
 

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above —
Know that you aren’t alone
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.

 
What if, five years ago, I hadn’t been refused an internship in an Investment Bank in Singapore on sketchy grounds? That rejection allowed me to seek an internship — and later get a job — at a company that allows me to work from anywhere I wish. That rejection was the only way I could have spent the final two months of my grandmother’s life with her. She is gone, but I now spend time at home with my parents that would have been a distant fantasy in a usual corporate job. I know she would have willed it thus. 
 
Perhaps we are closing loops all the time. 
 

Umar ki ginti haath na aai
Purkho ne ye baat batai
Ulta kar ke dekh sakey to
Umber bhi hai gehri chhai

 

We are lost. We will find a way.

Shubhodeep Pal

 

visaranaiThe fest news continues. After Toronto’s list, now Venice Film Festival is out with their line-up. Vetri Maaran’s Visaarani has been selected to premiere at the fest.

The film will compete in Orizzonti (international competition dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema) section of the fest.

Titled Interrogation in English, the 106 minute long film stars Dinesh Ravi, Samuthira Kani, Murugadas Periyasamy .

Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court was in the same section last year where it bagged two top awards.

Guru Dutt’s classic Pyaasa will be screened in the ‘Venice Classics’ section of the fest.

The other Indian film is Ruchika Oberoi’s Island City. This film will be at Venice Days which is an independent section at the Venice Film Festival, and is promoted by the Italian Association of Filmmakers and authors. The idea was to develop a parallel sidebar on the lines of Directors Fortnight at Cannes.

Starring Vinay Pathak, Amruta Subhash and Tannishtha Chatterjee, the film ties together three absurd stories in a modern-day Indian city.

The first story revolves around a diligent office worker who wins the office ‘Fun Committee’ award. The second is about the domineering head of a family who suddenly falls into a coma and how his family slowly replaces him in their psyche with the seductive hero of a popular soap opera. The third is about a girl who falls in love with a man who writes her love letters. The first two stories are black comedies while the third one falls into the tragicomedy genre.

Guru Dutt’s classic Pyaasa will be screened in the Restored Classics section of the fest.

Irrfan

The Toronto International Film Festival has just announced its line-up for 2015. And here’s the good news – two Indian films, Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar and Leena Yadav’s Parched have been selected for World Premiere in ‘Special Presentations’ section.

Starring Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sensharma, Neeraj Kabi, Atul Kumar, Gajraj Rao, Sohum Shah and Tabu in a special appearance, the film is a gritty investigative drama about the Noida double murder case. With Gulzar’s lyrics, Vishal Bhardwaj’s music & screenplay, and cinematography by Pankaj Kumar (Haider, Ship Of Theseus), the thriller is a fictional dramatization of true life events revolving around Aarushi Talwar murder case investigation.

Leena Yadav’s Parched has Tannishtha Chatterjee in the lead role. The official page has one line description – In a rural Indian village, four ordinary women begin to throw off the traditions that hold them in servitude, in this inspirational drama.

(Disclosure – One of our editors is closely associated with Talvar)

screenwriting-215x300National Film Development Corporation, India announced its selection of six projects for the Screenwriters’ Lab 2015, from submission of about 280 applications.

Previously hosted in Toronto, Locarno and Venice film festivals, Screenwriters’ Lab is going to be held in collaboration with the Sarajevo Film Festival this year.

Selected projects will travel to Sarajevo in August for the first part of the lab and then to Goa in November for the second, before being presented at Film Bazaar, the annual international film market, held alongside the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

The selection this year includes projects spanning across varied stories, styles and genres.

Scripts

Bombay Rose – Gitanjali Rao

City of Light – Shubhashish Bhutiani

Dastaan-E-Awaargi – Ankit Kothari

Mango’s Tale – Sidharth Gupt

The Return – Asad Hussain

The Sun Goes Round the Earth – Arijit Biswas

Writers

Gitanjali Rao is an animator and filmmaker whose latest project, True Love Story, premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week, 2014 in competition. Her other animation short, Printed Rainbow, received several awards including the Kodak Short Film Award, and the Young Critics Award at Cannes Critics’ Week, 2006.

Shubhashish Bhutiani forayed into filmmaking with his short film Kush which won the Orizzonti Prize for Best Short Film at Venice International Film Festival. He has previously worked as an assistant director in commercials and feature films.

Ankit Kothari is an emerging writer who graduated with a BFA in Applied Arts from MSU, Baroda. Kothari worked as an art director in the advertising industry before venturing into filmmaking.

Sidharth Gupt is a filmmaker who wrote and directed one of the segments in Shorts, a compilation of five short films, produced by Anurag Kashyap. As an assistant director, Gupt has worked in Dasvidaniya, Gangs of Wasseypur and Khoobsurat.

Asad Hussain’s journey as a screenplay writer led him to co-write Children of War, a film based on the war for Bangladesh’s liberation. He has written the additional screenplay for Bajrangi Bhaijan. Apart from these, Hussain has also worked for educational content in Afghanistan.

Arijit Biswas is the co-writer of Agent Vinod and Badlapur. He has also written extensively for Hindi and Bengali television.

10409588_391302141077650_8545138430389074028_nWith Vicky Kaushal getting rave reviews for his debut performance in Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan, it seems like the perfect time to launch the first look of another film starring him – debutant Mozez Singh’s Zubaan.

The film has Vicky Kaushal, Sarah Jane Dias, Manish Chaudhary, Meghna Malik and Raaghav Chanana in lead roles.

The official FB page has only one line description so far – Zubaan is a coming-of-age musical drama about a young man who has a fear of Music!

Do check out the trailer.

Trailer

Crew

Story & Directed by: Mozez Singh
Produced by: Guneet Monga, Shaan Vyas, Mozez Singh
DOP: Swapnil Sonawane
Editor: Deepa Bhatia
Action: Sham Kaushal
Sound Design: Anthony Ruban
Screenplay: Thani, Sumit Roy, Mozez Singh
Dialogues: Sumit Roy
Music: Ashutosh Phatak
Additional Songs: Ishq Bector-­‐Shree d, Manraj Patar
Lyrics: Surjit Patar(Punjabi), Varun Grover(Hindi)
Costumes-: Aki Narula
Production Designer: KhyateeKanchan
Choreography: Uma‐Gaiti

For more info, FB page is here, and Twitter feed is here.