Archive for July, 2011

She used to be a teacher in an ICSE board school. But her kids were sent to another school where most Officers’ kids used to go. Her husband was a Chartered Accountant, and as most bongs like to flash their CA degree, he was no different. As kids, we always thought snob quotient was just for the Roys. And then one day her daughter lost an eye accidentally. A death in the family followed. She was no longer part of the Officers’ Wives club. Searching for answers, she found solace in my Granny’s words, whose life used to revolve around all the 33crore Hindu Gods. Some of them were family members too. She was searching for answers – why it happened to her daughter? She was the prettiest of them all, the mother always talked about her, a matter of pride. With an eye gone, it was a cruel joke on her beauty. And why that sudden death?

Ironically, the kids were inspired by Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan and were trying the tricks with homemade bows and arrows when one of the arrow hit her eye. With kids and Gods, its difficult to put the blame on anyone. If only she was careful, it could have been averted. The thought never left her. Family member’s death disturbed her more. She was restless till the complete transformation happened. She found a Guru, sandalwood tilak followed and prayer beads inside a small bag became her constant companion.

As kids with curious minds, it was baffling to notice the change. Mr. R had mellowed down too. Grief does strange things to us. Add guilt to it, and it’s difficult to cope with. A friend of mine stays away from civilisation, in the jungles of Mcleodganj. It’s been more than two decades, he still holds himself responsible for his brother’s suicide. His conversation with his father is limited, as he was the one who in a moment of rage had pointed out that the culprit was my friend. It pierced the young heart and hasn’t left it since then. As he struggles with his writing, voluntary work for an NGO and relationship issues, most of his nights are spent drinking till wee hours of morning.

Arun Shourie took another extreme route. He explored religion scriptures, went to all the Godmen and spiritual Gurus to find the answer to his son’s suffering. Conclusion – suffering refutes religion. It’s all in his new book, Does He Knows A Mother’s Heart. Click here to read excerpts from the book. And click here to see a video interview of his where he explains his beliefs and thought process.

Terrence Malick’s Tree Of Life is all this and much more.

His fifth film in the last four decades or so. If you are familiar with his work, the elements are all there. The sun, green, nature, insects, birds, water, life, death, birth, suffering and those meditative voice-overs. I believe Malick started pondering over those existential questions in its entirety from The Thin Red Line. In a world where you have to map the plot points after every 20 pages for the Hollywood Studios to green light your film, it’s a brave new world that Malick has been able to create. And voice-overs that don’t follow any pattern or technique. With Tree Of Life, he goes to the extreme. If it was possible to attach a camera to your thoughts when you are coming to terms with the death of someone close to your heart, this film captures all that and puts it out on the big screen. Do you think or dream in a linear fashion? The camera attached to the thoughts floats in the universe as your mind ponders over everything possible, and Malick tells an intimate story of hate, grief, guilt and redemption in that background.

In one of the most brutally honest sequence that i have ever seen on the big screen, young Jack contemplates if he can kill his father with just a single trick. And he will be safe because his revenge will look like an accident. My heart skipped a beat there because i was worried about the old Jack then, guilt would have killed him so ruthlessly. Keep all the morality aside, think if you ever felt the same during your growing up years. And may be that’s why we had a chapter in our Moral Education book where a son plans to kill his father because he is frustrated with his constant jibes about his son’s work. As the son is about to enter the father’s room, he overhears the conversation between his mother and father, she is comparing the son to the Moon but the dad says, even Moon has some black spots, his son doesn’t have any. The son breaks down.  In Tree Of Life, the son becomes the father. The son starts hating the father but he slowly transforms into him. He starts with mimicking him, and then dictating the world around him, just like his father. In that honesty, lies the brilliance of story telling. We all hate our dads for some reason, and yet, we all end up becoming like him. With the kind of comfort that mothers pampers us with, mostly they make it happen.

Tree Of Life needs complete submission. Its a meditative piece by a yogi filmmaker which transcends every possible limit set by this medium. Just go with lil’ patience, you might get lost at many places, like I did, but just let it all flow. You will come back to Malick for sure. Don’t worry on that part. And even if you don’t, its good to be lost in your thoughts once in a while

With Jack, we float in his thoughts, his world, his world view, his guilt and finally some redemption which is pure consolation. Because we all eventually make peace with ourselves at some point, create a new world in our thoughts/dreams and make it comfortable for our soul. The soul-shuddhi needs time and space. Seems Malick too did the same with this film as this Guardian article points out that his brother, Larry, committed suicide in Spain while studying guitar under the teacher Andrés Segovia in 1968. Umesh Kulkrani did his with Vihir.

I’m struggling with mine. How long will my Mcleodganj friend take, am not sure. And you?

Shlok Sharma’s short film Tubelight Ka Chand has been doing the festival rounds since sometime and winning accolades too. The film is finally online. Do check it out.

It seems there is some problem with the upload quality though because the colours look much better if you see it on screen. A delightful film about a kid called Tubelight and his weird dream.

Also, i loved the credit roll done by Vijesh Rajan. Is there anything done by Vijesh that i don’t like? Sooper talented guy!

Do watch and post your comments.

If you follow this blog regularly, you must have read a post on the indie film Kshay. If you haven’t, do click here to check out its interesting trailer and synopsis.

We have now been offered a preview of the soundtrack of the film. We are embedding two tracks here. Do check it out. We would like to know your feedback, so scroll down and use the comment box.

Kshay OST – Home

Kshay OST – Everywhere

And if you like the tracks, here’s some more dope on the music from the film’s production notes…

Music for Kshay has been done by director Karan Gour and Siddharth Bhatia. For the music, both Siddharth and Karan knew that we couldn’t be using electronic samples, which would be the independent way to go. We needed a little more character than that to help support the film’s imagery. We narrowed down on a string quartet and a harp, but that would be far too expensive to record in a studio. Hence, we managed to get some more cash together and bought the Vienna String collection off their website which consisted of brilliantly recorded solo strings that could be manipulated in various ways to match a natural, textural string composition. Both of them did their own versions of the movie and we actually had 2 soundtracks for the movie. The final soundtrack was a mix of both the composition types, although it went through a lot more evolution than just that, taking about 3 months to complete.

Venice Film Festival has announced its line-up for this year. The festival will take place from August 31-September 10, 2011.

Two Indian films have been selected for the Orizzonti section of the festival, which is presented as an exploration of the modes of contemporary cinema. According to official release, in open dialogue with the films of the main competition, Orizzonti questions reality, forms and representations. It seeks to unbalance the status of images, it tears open perception and meaning and allows us to perceive new directions.

The two Indian films are Amit Dutta’s Sonchidi and Gurvinder Singh’s debut film Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan (Alms of the Blind Horse).

Film : Sonchidi. Director : Amit Dutta.  Cast : Nitin Goel, Gagan Singh Sethi. Duration : 55’

Film : Anhey ghorhey da daan (Alms of the Blind Horse) Director :  Gurvinder Singh. Cast : Mal Singh, Samuel John, Serbjeet Kaur, Dharminder Kaur. Duration : 112’

Dutta seems to be a Venice veteran now as two of his earlier films  also premiered  at the festival. And with such a unqiue and strong voice, he is easily on the best filmmaker of this country that most people are not aware of.

If you have any more info on the films (stills, poster, synopsis, trailer), do let us know. Click here to read more about Gurvinder’s film.

The festival will also screen Mani Kaul’s Duvidha as a tribute to the filmmaker. The film will be screened in Out Of Competition section which screens important works by directors already established in previous editions of the Festival.

MANI KAUL – DUVIDHA [MANI KAUL (25.12.1944-6.7.2011)]

India, 82′

Ravi Menon, Raeesa Padamsi

 

Don’t worry if you are not sure what exactly is the meaning of ATAVISTIC. Just read the post and then watch the film. Submarine is a small British film that none of us had heard about. And then came the first trailer (scroll down) of the film. Whatever they say about making the first impression, Submarine managed to do all that. New faces, new visuals, delightful sound (do check out the music too) and a debutant director.  So here’s our recco post, written by writer-filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan.  The film is based on Joe Dunthorne’s novel by the same name.

The physics teacher would never leave when the bell rang. She would always borrow five more minutes. I’d grow impatient, check my digital watch, pack my books, tie my shoe laces and then ride my bicycle like a bat out of hell. 8 kilometers of a ride back home. My mother would scream from the kitchen, asking me to wash my feet. I would hurl the shoes in a corner, put the bag on the sofa and run for the remote.  The Wonder Years on television was the best time of my day. Everyday 4:30. I almost grew up with Kevin Arnold. I even tried to impersonate his attempts to impress Vinnie Copper, his high school sweetheart. Not that any of the impersonation worked but The Wonder Years has been a part of my formative years, of coming of age sitting by a sea of fireflies brimming on a creek.  And I reclaimed that part of childhood watching Submarine.

Every classroom has this guy who would be quiet in the class, make drawings with no meanings in his history book, watch his mates play from the class window, go mute before making up a coherent sentence but would write eloquently about a spaceship dream.  Ayoade’s Submarine explores the mind of such a person, Oliver Tate, by being that person as a narrative.  Set in Swansea, we are lead into Oliver Tate’s adolescence; the first love, the first kiss, taking a blow on his nose when asked by bullies to call his girlfriend a slut, his attempt to save his parent’s marriage and his coming of age.  We never see Oliver Tate as a viewer from outside of his world but we become him and that is the most beautiful thing about Submarine. Rarely does the narrative veer off Oliver but in a deeper subtext, Submarine is about those people, who live in a shell.  If they walk by a street, you’d hear guffaws and dry giggles from around the corner but they’d scuttle away and then talk to themselves when no one’s around, which is most of the time.  Oliver’s girlfriend, Jordana has bouts of eczema, doesn’t talk much, mostly in half sentences. She lights match sticks to calm herself.  They both meet in abandoned warehouses, under rusted iron bridges and playing with fireworks, signifying their unspoken rejection towards accepted social norm and the bourgeois that surrounded the 80s. Oliver’s parents haven’t had sex for seven months. Oliver makes a graph of the light dimmer’s intensity every day, which is how he arrived at this number of 7 months. His mother works in an office where you bring your own cake for your birthday.  Consumed by repressed love for an ex-boyfriend who’s just moved in next door, she turns more distant towards her husband. Oliver’s father is a marine biologist, completely uncool and looks like a black and white image of an old book called “Human Impacts on the ancient marine ecosystems”.  It is a story of social freaks trapped in their submarines of consciousness, cocooned by denial and ceasing to resurface.

As children we would go in to disconnected reality being heroes in our own land of imagination. Oliver has exaggerated visions of what it would be like when he is dead; the candle light tributes, the news channels covering the most important death since Lennon, pretty girls from the class crying and he would suddenly return to life with a cape strung on his back. These subtle moments, abled by an outstanding score by Alex Turner and visually arresting photography by Erik Wilson, make Submarine a film you’d want to go back to those yesteryears. It’s set in the 80s but looks timeless almost like a utopian world. Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate emotes volumes with his restrained poker face, throughout he has a face of a kid who is just get caught stealing father’s money. Yasmin Page playing Jordana Bevan has great screen presence enough to intrigue you with questions about what is eating her from inside, why lighting a match calms her and not to forget the red over coat. Sally Hawkins as a confused wife with a fractured past, emotes histrionically but never goes over the top, although it takes a while to adjust to her jumpy demeanor. Noah Taylor as the quiet father performs with aplomb being a caring father and a carefree husband at the same time.

The film’s greatest strength is its seamless writing, making it undecipherable where drama ends and where humor begins, although the quasi-horror chapter titles seemed out of place.  The ability to marry pathos with humor is an art and that shows best in the scene where Oliver confesses about having a girlfriend. The parents don’t express it but we know from their measured pauses that they are happy that he is not gay. The mother fashions a deplorable thumbs up at him while the father gives him a tape to listen to music for various stages of love. He also mentions that there is a track for break up (Reminded me of Nicholson in As Good As It Gets).It’s hilarious but it is also meant to convey how the parents see their son from their own psychological baggage.

May be because it has been adapted from a book but I was impressed with the character detailing of Oliver. If he is about to have a sex date, he dresses up like a gentleman and plans everything in detail. He reads The Catcher In The Rye, sports a Woody Allen poster on his wall and his idea of a date movie is The Joan Of Arc.   His mother thinks he is a mentally retarded and reads psychology books to deal with him. Oliver spies on his parents and blurts lines from that book just so that the mother feels glad about her assertions.  Never does the narrative binge into self-conscious melodrama. The only sad moment was the dinner at Jordana’s place and when her father screams at him “You’re family”.

As we reach the climax of the film we see Oliver dealing with a dilemma: whether to attend Jordana’s crisis, which would ensure that she stays his girlfriend or go break into that guy’s house where he thinks his mother is cheating on his dad. The dilemma is enacted deftly by Roberts holding the restraint on melancholy and Ayoede depicting the fear with that awe-inspiring bridge dream. I would have loved it even more had the film ended just before the ‘epilogue’. It would make it a different film altogether. I know not many wouldn’t agree to it. To keep this post spoiler free, I am not detailing it here.  However, such a thing can be ignored for what a great film it is. Watch it if you want to take a trip back to those wonder years of adolescence.  Looks like the Brits found their Udaan 🙂

Neeraj Ghaywan | @ghaywan | My Blog

( PS – Click here to read how Joe Dunthorne learned some of the interesting lessons in life. And click here to read Richard Ayoade’s list of AntiHeroes – From A to H)

Enlighten Film Society is organising Naya Cinema Fest this month. The idea is to celebrate the filmmakers whose early footsteps marked their foray into the niche circle of path-breakers of Indian Cinema.

According to official release, The Naya Cinema Festival focuses on first and second films by Indian film directors that contrast with the works of the state sponsored Indian New Wave between 1969 and 1990. The works of contemporary film makers like Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap have been able to successfully shake up the feudal star system in a very different way from the works of Kumar Shahani and the recently deceased Mani Kaul, who were not functioning within the logic of the industry. The dialogue hopes to create a fresh discourse on a gradually emerging independent cinema in India, which Mani Kaul had himself titled ‘New Stream’.

We strongly recommend this festival because you will not get to see some of the films anywhere else.

DATES : 23rd July to 31st July, 2011.

SCHEDULE :

23-07-11 – Two Mani Kaul Films: Duvidha (Dilemma, 1973) and Satah Se Uthata Aadmi (Arising from the Surface, 1980). Edward Theatre 12:00PM

23-07-11 : Inshallah Football (Ashvin Kumar, 2010, 80 minutes,Urdu)+ Little Terrorist (Ashvin Kumar,2004,15minutes). Edward Theatre 04:00PM

23-07-11 : Udaan (Vikramaditya Motwane, 2010,134minutes,Hindi). Edward Theatre 6.30PM

24-07-11 : Dil Chahta Hai (FarhanAkhtar,2001,Hindi/English,183 minutes) Cinemax(Versova) 12.00PM.  Introduction and Discussion with Farhan Akhtar

24-07-11 : Aaranya Kaandam (Thiagarajan Kumararaja,2010, Tamil,153 minutes) Cinemax(Versova) 4.00PM The screening time has been changed. Mostly 9-9:30am. Do cross check once.

25-07-11 : John & Jane (Ashim Ahluwalia, English, 2005, 82minutes) Mumbai Times Café 6.00PM

26-07-11 : Mirch Masala (Ketan Mehta, Hindi, 1987, 128minutes)NFDC Auditorium 6.00PM

27-07-11 : Ocean of an Old Man (Rajesh Shera,Hindi,2008,80 minutes) World College – School of Media Studies 1.00PM

27-07-11 : Hrkhagoroloi Bohu Door (Jahnu Barua, 1995,Assamese, 106 minutes) World College – School of Media Studies4.00PM

27-07-11 : Black Friday (Anurag Kashyap,2004,Hindi,143minutes)World College – School of Media Studies6.30PM

28-07-11 : Girni (Umesh Kulkarni,Marathi,22 minutes) and Vihir (Umesh Kulkarni, Marathi,2010) Mumbai Times Café 6.00PM

29-07-11 : The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project (Srinivas Sunderrajan, English and Hindi, 2010, 75 minutes) Edward Theatre 2.00PM

29-07-11 : Shor in the City (Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru,2011,Hindi) Edward Theatre 4.00PM

29-07-11 : Harishchandrachi Factory (PareshMokashi,Marathi,2009,96 minutes) and excerpts from Kaliya Mardan and Raja Harishchandra by Dadasaheb Phalke Edward Theatre 7.00PM

30-07-11 : Gandu (Kaushik Mukherjee,2010,Bengali,85minutes) Performance by ‘Q’ and Gandu Band. ( Venue and time yet to be decided)

31-07-11 Futureview – This will screen excerpts from Anand Gandi’s The Ship of Theseus, Prashant Bhargava’s Patang and Aarakshan. Cinemax (Versova) 12.00PM

VENUES : Edward Theatre: Edward Cinema, Kalbadevi Market, Marine Lines (East), Mumbai 400002.

NFDC :  Discovery of India Building, Nehru Centre, Dr. A.B.Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 018.

Mumbai Times Cafe : Crystal Shoppers Paradise, 5th Floor, Off Linking Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai 400050.

World College : Rajasthan Sammelan, S.V Road, Goregaon (W), Near Saraf College Mumbai 400064.

Cinemax Versova : Infiniti Mall, New Link Road, Versova, Andheri West, Mumbai-400058

PASSES: You can’t buy tickets for individual screenings. You have to buy the festival pass for Rs 500.  You can buy the passes from –1. Enlighten Film Society.307/ 308, 3rd Floor, Aditya Banarsi Heritage.Off Link Road, Behind Inorbit Mall. Mind Space, Malad (W)  /// 2. Sarvodaya Video Library, Behind Ambedkar Statue, 21 Dr Ambedkar Road, Khar (W) /// 3. Mumbai Times Cafe. Crystal Shoppers Paradise. 33rd rd (KFC lane). off linking road, Bandra (W) /// 4. Edward Theatre. Kalba Devi

– For online registration, click here. Or you can contact Ronak – +91-9870090105

CONTACT :  To know more about the films, click here. For Naya Cinama’s FB page, click here.  Twitter handle – @EnlightenCinema

– For more information, TEL: 02242141414. MOB: 9870090105

– EMAIL: enlighten@enlighten.co.in Or visit http://www.enlighten.co.in

RECCO : And here’s our recco list – Inshallah Football, Aaranya Kaandam, Girni + Vihir, Gandu and preview of Anand Gandhi’s The Ship of Theseus + Prashant Bhargava’s Patang. And do we need to recco Mani Kaul’s films too? If you haven’t, do watch it along with the other films as some of the prints are rare.

Mumbai Film Festival (October 13-20th, 2011), organized by MAMI is a Reliance Big Entertainment Ltd. (RBEL) initiative  and it showcases the best of contemporary world cinema, Indian cinema and feature length documentaries. The Festival is a highly regarded and anticipated event in Mumbai’s cultural calendar and last year it managed to screen some of the best films from across the world.  Click here and here to read our posts on last year’s fest.

The festival is inviting submissions for this year’s fest. The festival accepts feature-length films for its various competitive and non- competitive sections.

DATE: Entry forms and screeners for selection must reach the festival office before August 1st, 2011.

FEES : There is NO entry fee.

Cash Awards & Incentives – Mumbai Film Festival offers one of the highest cash awards – US $ 200,000

– International Competition for the first feature films of directors -US $100,000 for the Best First Film to be shared equally between the film’s producer and director.

– US $ 50,000 for the Grand Jury Prize to be shared equally between the film’s producer and director.

– The Audience Choice Award : US $ 20,000 to be shared equally between the film’s producer and the director.

– Cash incentives for Sales Agents : US $ 10,000 if the award winning films are international or world premiers.

SECTIONS : 1. International Competition for the First Feature Films of Directors More

2. Above the Cut (First Feature Films which could not be included in the competition Section) More

3. World Cinema (Award Winning, Critically acclaimed feature films produced during the one year period after the last edition of the Festival) More

4. Dimensions Mumbai (A short film competition for the youth of Mumbai). More

5. Harmony Celebrate Age (International Competition for films dealing with the concerns, spice, fun and adventure of growing older) More

6. Real Reel (A selection of feature length documentaries)

7. Indian Frame (A selection of high quality Indian Films) More

8. New Faces in Indian Cinema (first or second films of directors) More

9. Retrospectives / Tributes / Master Classes More

ADDRESS: 13th Mumbai Film Festival, Mumbai Academy of Moving Image(MAMI), 49/50, Maruti Chambers, 3rd Floor, Fun Republic Lane. Off Veera Desai Extn. Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai – 400 053, INDIA.

CONTACT : +91-22-4016 8223 (Board) / 4016 8221, F : +91-22-4016 8222

EMAIL: info@mumbaifilmfest.com | mumbaifilmfest@gmail.com

For more information about the festival, rules and regulations, click here.