Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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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

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.

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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.

Phantom Films Is Looking For Horror Stories

Posted: July 20, 2015 by moifightclub in bollywood, film, News
Tags: ,

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Phantom Films is looking for Horror stories. It shared the news on its FB/Twitter timeline.

Phantom is looking for stories, scripts, treatments or even scriptwriters in the horror genre – the scarier the better!

We’re not afraid, so you shouldn’t be either!

Send your scripts/ideas to: horror@phantoms.in

So all those who keep complaining about having not enough opportunities to break into bollywood, here you go.

Their FB page is here. Twitter handle is here.

Raam Reddy’s directorial debut, Thithi has been selected for the prestigious Locarno International Film Festival. Also, this marks the end of a dry spell of eight years since an Indian film made it to the competitive section at the fest. This year’s edition of the festival will take place from August 5 – 15, 2015.

Thithi will be presented in the Concorso Cineasti del Presente (Filmmakers Of The Present) section and will be competing for the Pardo d’oro Cineasti del presente – Premio Nescens at the festival. This section features 14 films this year.

Last year, the Kannada-language film was selected for the Work-in-Progress Lab at the NFDC Film Bazaar where it was declared the Best Work-in-Progress Fiction Feature.

The film is a dramatic comedy about how three generations of sons react to the death of Century Gowda, their great grandfather, who is a locally renowned, and is a highly cranky 101-year-old man. Set in a village in the Mandya District of Karnataka, the three storylines intertwine before converging at Century Gowda’s thithi, the final funeral celebration 11 days after a death.

Shot in the Mandya district of Karnataka, this was co-written and developed along with Eregowda, who spent most of his childhood in the same village that the film was shot in. The cast of the film comprises of completely non-professional actors.

Filmmaker Raam Reddy is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and Prague Film School. Previously, he directed a critically-acclaimed short film called Ika (Feather). He has also published a novel titled It’s Raining in Maya.

Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet will also have its screening at the festival.

With the Government in no mood to replace Gajendra Chauhan, FTII has now gone ahead with a strict warning to the students. The Director of the institute has issued a notice to the students asking them to stop the strike or face severe consequences. This is so weird and wrong at so many levels, especially when so many film talents across the board and alumni of the institute are also backing the students demands.

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Oscar and BAFTA Award winning sound designer Resul Pookutty was among those who criticized the latest move by FTII.