Siddharth Roy Kapur, Rohan Sippy, Ajay Bijli, Kaustubh Dhavse, Anurag Kashyap. Joined by MAMI Co-chairperson Kiran Rao, Festival Director Anupama Chopra and Creative Director Smriti Kiran

Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) has announced its lineup for this year’s edition of the fest. It’s a much awaited big cinema event for film lovers. The fest will run from 12 to 18th October and will screen 220 films from 49 countries in 51 languages. Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz will open the fest.

For segment wise details, do check out the embedded document

If you want to attend, click here, and do register. Don’t miss this one!

Devashish Makhija’s new film Ajji will have its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival’s (BIFF) ‘New Currents’ section. And with the fest line up unveiled, the makers have just released the first look of the film. Check out its poster and the trailer.

Here’s the official BIFF program note  on the film –

When society fails to provide justice for the rape of nine-year-old Manda, her ailing and arthritic grandmother Ajji tracks down the perpetrator, the son of a local politician, and plots a brutal revenge to serve as a deterrent to all men.

Cast

Sushma Deshpande, Sharvani Suryavanshi, Saadiya Siddique, Abhishek Banerjee, Vikas Kumar, Smita Tambe and Sudhir Pandey

The 104 min film has been written by Makhija and Mirat Trivedi. Interestingly, Saregama ventures back into filmmaking with their new brand – Yoodlee Films.

With Anurag Kashyap’s latest film, Mukkabaaz, having its premiere at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival, more details are out now.

Here’s fest director Cameron Bailey’s note on the film, which tells you more about the film

A lower-caste boxer struggles to make his mark on the boxing world, in the highly anticipated film from Anurag Kashyap.

Vital, insightful, and thoroughly cinematic, Anurag Kashyap’s The Brawler follows in the tradition of the great boxing films of the past. But the director of Gangs of Wasseypur gives his take on the sweet science a boldly Indian spin. The set-up offers the genre’s familiar underdog hero, but this film lands a satisfying punch against the injustices and hypocrisies that keep India’s sporting underdogs exactly where they are.

Shravan (Vineet Kumar Singh) is a lower-caste boxer with a tempered edge, struggling to leave his mark and making the case with his fists that he deserves a chance to compete. His career is threatened after he delivers a nasty right hook to the face of Bhagwan — his employer, the local kingpin, and the top boxing promoter in the region. Following this melee, Bhagwan does everything he can to stop Shravan from ascending up the ranks, including preventing him from pursuing the woman he has fallen in love with, Sunaina. Bhagwan will go to any length to punish and humiliate Shravan. But what he doesn’t count on is Shravan’s tough-mindedness. He’s been an underdog all his life and will stop at nothing to go all the way to the Indian National Boxing Championship.

Based on a true story, The Brawler is an enthralling, action-packed tale about corruption and crime in Indian sports. But at the heart of Kashyap’s narrative is a smart and complex love story anchored by Zoya Hussain’s Sunaina.

Cast + Credits
  • director – Anurag Kashyap

  • cast – Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain, Ravi Kissan, Jimmy Shergill, Sadhana Singh

  • Cinematography – Rajeev Ravi Shanker Raman Jay Patel Jayesh Nair

  • Editing – Aarti Bajaj Ankit Bidyadhar

  • Executive Producers – Ajay Rai, Kanupriya

  • Producers – Aanand L. Rai Vikramaditya Motwane Madhu Mantena Anurag Kashyap

  • Production Companies – Colour Yellow Productions, Phantom Films

  • Production Designer – Shazia Iqbal

  • screenplay – Anurag Kashyap, Vineet Kumar Singh, Mukti Singh Srinet, K.D. Satyam, Ranjan Chandel, Prasoon Mishra

  • sound – Kunal Sharma

  • Original Score – Rachita Arora

  • music – Nucleya, Prashant Pillai

Rima Das’ Assamese film, Village Rockstars had its World Premiere at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival. Interestingly, Rima is also the writer, cinematographer, editor and producer on this one.

Village Rockstars is the only Indian film to be screened in the competition section, DISCOVERY, which features directors from across the world to watch out for. The movie is about a girl, Dhunu, who has grown up in deprivation. She learns to fend for herself in the hostile surroundings while nurturing her dream to own a guitar someday.

The film was selected among the Film Bazaar Recommends at NFDC Film Bazaar 2016. From Film Bazaar the film got picked up by Matthew Poon and was officially selected for the 2017 Marche du Film (Cannes) Work-In-Progress Lab at the 15th Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum and won the WIP Lab project.

Long SYNOPSIS

Dhunu, a 10 years old girl lives in a remote village in Assam, India amidst raging deprivation. She is a free spirit and her mother, a widower, who struggles daily to bring food to the table and raise her children. However, that does not prevent her from having unrealistic dreams like owning a guitar for her tiny band of village Rockstars boys. Dhunu is a girl who considers herself as capable as boys her age. She and the gangs of boys want to form a rock band. But later the boys slowly stop perusing their dream, whereas Dhunu continues dreaming to own a guitar. Her faith becomes strong when she reads about the law of attraction in a newspaper article. Her unconventional and nonconformist mother raises her with steadfast determination, giving her full freedom of expression and encouraging her to fulfill her dreams. After her father’s death, her mother taking all the responsibilities realizes that it is important that a girl should be qualified herself.

But beyond the poverty of her living, attacks nature’s fury as her village is flooded and worse than that: the societal restrictions that assail her from the day she reaches puberty. Can Dhunu achieve her simple dream or will she, like hundreds of millions of girls in her situation across the world, have to give up on it!

CREDITS

CAST

Bhanita Das, Basanti Das, Kulada Bhattyacharya, Boloram Das,Rinku Das,Bishnu Kalta,Bhaskar Das, Manabendra Das

CREW

DIRECTOR- Rima Das

DOP-  Rima Das

EDITOR-Rima Das

SCREENPLAY-Rima Das

SOUND-Amrit Pritam

PRODUCER-Rima Das

C0-PRODUCER-Jaya Das

PRODUCTION COMPANY-Flying River Films

INTERNATIONAL SALES-Asian Shadows

LANGUAGE-Assamese

DURATION- 87 MINS, INDIA, DRAMA, HD, COLOUR

What The Movies Taught Me – Part I

Posted: September 11, 2017 by moifightclub in cinema
Tags:
“Endure, Master Wayne.”

Let me begin with a bit of context. While movies remain a source of entertainment, for most of us, I find them to be a remarkably accessible medium to distribute and inspire through a more pop version of philosophy. I hope to begin a series and perhaps someday a publication on Medium dedicated to it. I hope to do a slightly more detailed take than the average BuzzFeed article without getting into the academic or theoretical bits of it.

(Let me know if you guys like the idea in the comments)

While The Dark Knight remains one of the best films of our time, I found within it, a human lesson that has served me quite well and I thought I’ll just point it out for the rest. One of the key scenes in the movie is when this particular sequence of dialogues take place:


“Bruce Wayne: People are dying, Alfred. What would you have me do?

Alfred: Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman. He can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice.”


The Joker is busy executing people till the Batman gives himself up, public opinion has turned against him. The man that has protected them for years is given up in an instant by the police and the public at large. Rather than rant or be bitter about this quite obvious treachery and cowardice on the part of the general population of Gotham, Batman is all set to give himself just to save the innocent from being slaughtered.

He turns to Alfred for validation of his own decision, and, Alfred – the man tasked with raising the billionaire orphan, utters but a single word of advice,

ENDURE !

It’s a rather stoic line of thinking that Alfred presents, he is unmoved by the emotion of the public, indifferent to short term cost of people being sacrificed, he is only guided by the long term view of the Batman as an institution that can protect the people in the future. The odds of the potential good Batman can accomplish in the future weighed calmly against the short term term consequence of a few murders. The logic behind the move is unembellished by personal emotion or by any kind of motive of revenge on the betrayal of the public. I found that to be such a striking diversion from common human behaviour. I know that if any of us were Alfred in the moment we’d be going, “fuck the people, this is how they repay us for years of keeping the peace, they deserve this” and yet there is not a single selfish thought in either Batman or Alfred.

Which is another key point that is reflected by the Stoics, accepting the moment as it presents itself. The development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions; the philosophy holds that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker allows one to understand universal reason. I cannot imagine the amount of self control it would have taken in that moment for both Batman and Alfred to think as calmly as they do. I know most of you must at this point be going, “It’s a movie and that’s not how it happens in reality.” But if the characters hold us to a higher standard of behaviour and a better state of functioning, then why shouldn’t they be emulated?

Even in the subsequent moment when Batman rejects Alfred’s advice and gives himself up, observe the interrelationship between them, there is no attempt to negotiate, there is no attempt to convince. There is no Alfred going, “WTF Bruh! I was doling out advice, when you was still in diapers, listen to me, you idiot!” Nope, none of that. This is Batman deciding to give himself up, expressing his desire to do so, to the very father figure who raised him and loves him more than anyone else in the world! It broke me, that Alfred doesn’t plead, there are no tears, there is only absolute support. Again the principle of self control and overcoming destructive emotion is applied to their relationship, there is no fear, anger, or control sought. There is but a calm in the whole scene, the calm that brings to the moment a kind of gravitas that could not have been afforded by any measure of emoting.


I often play this scene in my head, especially of late, where in the past few months, there have been regular ups and downs. Many doors have been shut, with a fierce regularity. Often I find myself drowning in a maelstrom of my own making, where the tides of regret pull me to the bottom of the ocean. I know I do not suffer alone. But in those moments the Stoic way has been of immeasurable help to me. It has been an anchor that has always succeeded in pulling me back from these depths. That very anchor that I offer to you today, a single word, a single resounding word that needs to be repeated to the self again and again,

ENDURE !

Percy Bharucha

(The author has been previously published in eFiction and eFiction India, Eastlit, Reading Hour, Gratis, The Madras Mag, The Ascent, The Creative Cafe, Invisible Illness, The Writing Cooperative, Bigger Picture, Hundred Naked Words, Be Yourself, Fit Yourself Club, Hopes and Dreams for the Future, Written Tales, Poets Unlimited and The Haven. He writes regularly on Medium and runs a bi-weekly comic strip called The Adult Manual. He also tweets infrequently at  @Sab_Bakwaas_Hai)

I will not reveal the end of the breakout Telugu film, Arjun Reddy, coveted for a Bollywood remake with Ranveer Singh expressing keen interest. But it suffices to say that somewhere in the first half when the narrative glamourizes a bad boy, I knew that the end would make or break the movie for me. Touted as the modern-day Devdas, Arjun Reddy is the story of how a surgeon grappling with anger issues starts sinking into a black hole of alcoholism and drug abuse after his college sweetheart, Preethi gets married to another man.

At the risk of stoking the AR funs the wrong way, I will clarify that I love seeing despicable characters on screen with their flaws, front and center. I am interested in the people they emerge as, at the end of their grueling journey (what is technically speaking, the character arc). And yes, my criticism comes from context and not just a sense of righteousness. Arjun Reddy, (hereinafter AR) with his great looks and cringe-inducing attitude can keep you hooked, thanks to the immersive storytelling and Vijay Devarakonda’s fiery performance. Of course, there is the heroine who is willing to endure silently to transform this hotheaded guy with a heart of gold into a worthy man, setting the stage for a toxic love story. One would argue that these ideas ought to be presupposed and accepted in the framework of the films of the region. But with some of the refreshing departures that the film makes with a new cinematic language, I was led to expect more. The sparks of brilliance hold more possibilities, that the film fails to explore with its climax.

Arjun’s character is a bundle of contradictions. He stakes a claim over his junior in college, Preethi by threatening other junior students to stay away from her and turn their gaze on other girls. He almost bullies the timid Preethi into spending time with him. When AR interrupts her in the middle of an antakshari game to plant a kiss on her cheek, it is evident that he has thrown consent out of the window. But we shortly see that Preethi is the one who makes the first move when it comes to making love. Well, scriptwriting is the art of manipulation, after all! Her quiet adulation of a senior with a clout in medical college, who adamantly looks out for her, then does not seem so misplaced.  In one of the scenes, Arjun even asks Preethi to speak to her parents as a ‘woman’ and not a ‘teenager’. You have to credit the smart writing for the mixed feelings it provokes.

A raging alcoholic but also an impeccable surgeon, he brooks no dissent. He also lambasts a man for objectification of women and in the following scene we see him chasing after his maid out of fury but the clever placement of scenes depicts AR as someone who has anger issues but is not necessarily a male chauvinist. The chronology suggests that an evolution may be in order but we don’t witness a character growth in that direction. Despite many contemporary touches, the film refuses to address his aggression as an ailment. It is revered as machismo, instead. So much for ‘heralding’ a new chapter in Telugu cinema.

Unlike most Indian films plagued with the curse of the second half, the film comes into its own in the second half when the protagonist nosedives into devastation. The focus is entirely on his gradual descent into a whirlpool of ruin.  The film pulses with an unpredictable fervor. You are left wondering what will make AR hit rock bottom. Enduring his eccentricity almost becomes a visceral test. The filmmaking is slick with its exquisite long takes and rousing background score. I expected it to stomp over tropes and give us a raw character study of an antihero. I even stopped watching it as a love story. In a telling instance, AR’s grandmother speaks of how suffering is personal and that he needs to hurt. There is much to suggest that his tale would not meet the Devdas fate but would conclude with an imaginatively bleak streak. Alas! It is in the sudden and unconvincing subduing of the ferocious AR that the film completely lost me.

The impossibilities of AR’s character are wisely cushioned with the character of Shiva (Rahul Ramakrishna), AR’s steadfast friend who holds a mirror up to him. In one of the best scenes in the film, Shiva confides in his father about the frustration of dealing with his doggedly dismal friend. He lends the much needed sardonic humour to the film. It is rare to see a supporting character being drawn to the fore from the periphery. A scene which would have otherwise been considered as exposition does the job of offering the lens of empathy to viewers. In the same vein, another character in the film calls him a ‘free spirited individual in a democratic world.’

It’s a rare joy to see an anti-hero meet his grotesque fate and rise above it or get crushed under its weight. What Boss Getty says in Citizen Kane comes to mind, “He’s going to need more than one lesson. And he’s going to get more than one lesson.”  But this anti-hero turns into a hero. All his self-defeating means stand vindicated. And a passionate character study becomes a conventional love story. Perhaps the audience is not ready for this bitter pill but we can still revel in the unconventional narrative style of the film and the acting smarts of Vijay Deverakonda.

– Dipti Kharude

(Dipti has quit her corporate job and is having fun dipping her toes in a ton of stuff like binge watching TV and web series, doing movie marathons, gallivanting, and writing about her escapades. She tweets @kuhukuro)

 

 

Drishyam Films has announced the winner of its initiative – Quest For Stories, which was open to aspiring Indian film writers from the heartland of India. The winning story called ‘Wah Bhai Ghulaam’ is written by Deepak Sharma, a screenwriter from Bhopal. The story is set in Old Delhi and is a heartwarming tale of a man and his struggle to be buried next to his beloved wife.

Deepak Sharma will be presented with a cash award and the story will be developed in-house at Drishyam in collaboration with the writer.

The winning story was selected from 700 entries submitted from all over the country. Stories of all genres were welcomed, especially from the young upcoming writers from smaller towns who do not have a platform for their voices. Drishyam Films has optioned the rights to the winning story to develop it into a feature film project. A dedicated fund has been set aside for developing the story into a full screenplay.