Archive for December, 2011

Like everyone else, we have also started our “best of the year” posts. You can click here to read about the songs we looped and click here to read about the movie moments that stayed with us. In this post, Rohit looks back at the non-film music scene – on small screen, remixes, ghazals, virals and more. Read on.

While various music factories continue to churn out mass products (some of them as genuine and ‘durable’ as chinese products), we try to take a look at 11 instances wherein something good came out of independent factory owners. Of course they faltered as well, but they scored on more occasions and that’s what counts. Remember, this is what we feel. Let’s hear what you feel should be added/deleted/trashed/modified. Ok Mama ready? In no particular order.

1. Coke Studio@MTV – Finally, the channel went back to what it was known for – music. Expectations were huge. Almost everyone who has seen a coca cola bottle ever in their lives had an opinion on what the music in the ‘studio’ should sound like. While secretly everyone was waiting to see ‘Pakistan wala’ coke studio being performed in India, even the die hard fans of Coke studio like me will agree that what was missing was ‘stillness’. In presentation, in the execution and of course lights! didn’t help either. Some compositions that stood out purely in terms of innovation include

* Theme of Coke studio India – (heard it?)

* Mera Yaar basenda – Tochi raina and Mathangi Rajshekhar

* Piya Ghar aavengey – Kailasa

* Indian Jadoo – Sanjeev Thomas and ChinnaPonnu

* Kaatyaayni – Ustad Rashid Khan and Bombay Jayashree

* Vethalai – Kailash Kher and Chinnaponnu

Not going into the details of what we didn’t like or what didn’t click. There is a separate post for it  which you can read here.

2) MTV Unplugged – The expectations were again high and the reasons were quite same. World over we have seen the artists, good artists holding our hands and leading us to euphoria when it comes to MTV Unplugged. The teasers were inviting. However somewhere in between (and I mean – Indian Ocean, Rekha and Euphoria), they missed the trick. Lights were good! Setting was less intruding, artists were good too. Yet we couldn’t help but feel that it was all done in a hurry (leaving Mohit chauhan and Rabbi’s episode). The music setting overpowered the vocals (Especially in Rekha ji’s performance) and Couldn’t help but feel that Ranjit barot was trying too hard and can someone PLEASE tell Euphoria that there is a difference between LIVE ‘performance’ and MTV Unplugged. Inviting crowd participation killed the episode for us. Still. Some gems linger in our mind…

* Jugni – Rabbi

* Bilqis – Rabbi

* Babaji – Mohit chauhan

* Chambey – Mohit chauhan

3. The Bartender RemixMikey McClearly – Khoya Khoya chand! Wo ‘shaitan’ wala gaana! 🙂 An interesting (I dislike using this word for ‘remixes but well!) experiment done to some old gems from our old hindi film rack. Undoubtedly, the strategically smart choice to showcase the song in Shaitan and not featuring it on the OST CD worked well for the ‘curiosity’ factor but you take this superbly shot song out and you are left with ‘the following songs that made some impact

* Ye raat ye chandni – Loved the overall effect of the song.

* Babuji dheerey chalna – Goes well with the theme of the album.

Do NOT listen to waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam. :). Wish the album was stirred a little. Still a good concept and superb marketing.

4. Depth of Ocean – Susmit Sen takes the guitar and tells us why it is the most prominent sound of the legendary group of India. A group we are all very very proud of. All the die hard fans of Indian ocean will hold on to this album forever. The album features Shubha Mudgal as well who has whispered melodiously in the track ‘city of lights’. The not-so-die hard fans will also do well to pick it up mainly for the tracks mentioned below

* Tribute – 11 minutes of pure guitar. Tell me if this piece doesn’t take you back to the days when you preferred to let the room be dark while you sit and ponder life and beyond.

* City of lights – Whispering melody by Shubha Mudgal along with Susmit da.

* Rejuvenation – Aseem da features in it. Enough said

* Six string tribute – Probably the best version of the National anthem that has hit our ears in a long time.

Click here to hear some of the tracks.

(P.S. – I wanted to put the track intimacy also but am worried that it will all be too lengthy. So there! Just listen to it ok? 🙂

5. A.R. Rahman – Superheavy – Lots of bass, lots of message and a lot of beat embelished Satyamev Jayatey wraps this 4 track album which showed us how easily the emperor (AR Rahman) melts in the setting still makes his presence felt. Don’t tell me that anything in this album reminds you of ‘Jai Ho’ on sterioids. :). Our pick is of course Satyamev Jayatey (The one with radio mix)

6. Sifar, The band – Easily the most ambitious, exciting and important find of 2011. Sifar is an Alternative/Indie rock band from New Delhi. Lead by Amit Yadav on vocals (and at times on drums!), this band has come out with their first album and if you forget the fact that they haven’t been featured on ‘T.V’, you will be bowled over by the ‘sound’ of their music. Don’t go finding if they are trying to sound like some ‘Angreji bands of yore’. With no popular names attached to their band, it’s incredible how they have managed to create a good vibe about their work in a short span (click www.sifar.in for more and for free downloads as well!). Our picks from their album (titled – 1) are

o Main Jaunga – Powerful

o Roko na – Powerful

o Mita do – Powerful

o TV – Heard anything like this before in Hindi?

7. Dewarists – Someone told me ‘Dewarists’ is what Coke studio in India should have been. Hmmm. While that’s a bit harsh and out of context (because Dewarists is more of a journey in making music and showing the product at the same time, Coke studio is supposed to undertake the journey off camera and get the performers to the studio to perform and make the world watch it), I guess the end result is what matters. This was a great initiative to show the artists, travel with them to a new place and make a new song. Though the format made the show look repetitive after few episodes but this was the best thing that happened on Indian Tv in 2011.

As long as there are more hits than misses, we are fine! Our picks

o Minds without fear – Imogen Heap teamed up with Vishal-Shekhar and gave us a very ‘bollywood-ish’ offerring but it touched the right tracks thanks to some superb mixing.

o Kya Khayal hai – Zeb, Haniya, Swanand kirkire and Shantanu moitra. I guess we don’t need to mention anything else.

o Sacred Science – Hear it. Hear it.

o Khule da rabb – Finally a song where someone looks Rabbi right into his eyes and challenges, melodiously of course. This is the song of the season according to us.

o Durr Kinara – Shubha Mudgal and Swarathma come together to showcase beautifully what Dewarists is all about. The video. The music. Superlative.

Wilfully not mentioning much on Indian ocean, Punditz and the parikrama song, which starts so well and loses it’s steam mid-way thanks to too many efforts to tug at your heart strings. Strange as it sounds, Shilpa Rao wasn’t required in this song.

Can we please have the 2nd season soon?

8. Band called Nine – Rewind – Who doesn’t want to go back to their good old days with a dash of melody and a cup of coffee? Thats just ‘Rewind’ does. A unique album comprising of a story which is narrated in a conversational mode with some songs thrown in for good measure. Although it has a strong North Indian bent to the entire story, chances are you will like it almost immediately. (Am a small town guy from Lucknow so well I may have extrapolated your liking a little bit) :). The band which is called nine consists of Shilpa Rao (famous bollywood singer), Amartya Rahut and the famous lyricist Neelesh Mishra.

No particular favorite as the entire album is worth a good listen.

9. Ae DosheezaKshitij Tarey – The singer whose voice has given ‘soothing’ a new definition, has come out with a good album. Mixed with romantic and traditional songs with a dash of jazz, it’s quite an exciting album. Let the videos hit the T.V. (We sure hope it does). A detailed review is posted here. And you can can hear some of the songs from the album here.

 Our picks would be

 o Yaad piya ki aaye – A traditional thumri sung in jazz arrangement and boy does Kshitij does a justice to this one! Must Must Must hear.

o Saanware – Originally done by Roop kumar rathod and was also featured in the album Shor In The City, Kshitij displays consummate ease which is so good on ears.

10. Irshaad – Rekha and Sudeep – A very good and pure ghazal album with such variety! Not many of us have heard of this album isn’t it? Just hear it at one go and tell us if you don’t feel for such good efforts when they go unnoticed? Anyway, this album gets Rekha Bharadwaj and Sudeep Banerjee (Earlier albums – Phir bhi, Saqiya). Our pick for this album would be

o Wafa karne se – The way we all know ghazals.

o Subhe Roshan se – Spectacular lyrics with a haunting tune. Ghazal at it’s best.

o Mere mehboob – Recited by Ameeta Parsuram

o Mere Mehboob – Sudeep.

If you like ghazals, our request to you is to NOT miss this entire album. Click here to read the detailed review of the album.

11. Why this Kolaveri di – Dhanush and Anirudh – Yes, the song that gets us to the end of 2011. Amidst a lot of bashing and some self declared regulators of pure hearted fun, this song has made a splash like no other this year. A tamil song (Yes, Ms. Shoba Narayan, it will be tagged Tamil song forever) creating such a rage in the world is such a pleasant surprise. Heck! Any Indian song causing so many smiles is a matter of pride for us all. So if  someone is crying because their tamil milkman and other tamil people who interact with her isn’t singing/talking about this song, let me suggest her to write an email to her milkman asking for a litre of milk and perhaps she will get her answer.

Amidst funny lyrics and funnier music arrangement, don’t understimate the music director Anirudh for a minute because if you listen to the song intently, you will actually come across smartness of execution. A music director to look forward to. Surely.

The year hasn’t been great for non film music but what’s promising is so many ‘Music projects’ blooming (read finding sponsors!), and reaching us just the way they intend to. Coke studio didn’t get it right fully but then the same applies to Dewarists, MTV Unplugged and ‘The Tehelka Music Project (heard of it?) as well. The best part is to see all of them going live with what they create and improvise as they go along…and sometimes that just adds up to the melody…hai na?

What’s your pick?

(PS – To read more posts by Rohit, click here.)

This has been a bad terrible year for hindi films. Forget ten, if you can spot even five great very good films this year, you should consider yourself lucky. Try, see how many you can count. And so, we are skipping the list of top films and are counting the exciting moments at the movies this year. Moments that you remembered long after the movie was over, discussion and dissection was done with, and they defined the films. In no particular order.

1. Opening Credit (Stanley Ka Dabba) – I have still not been able to understand why we don’t give much importance to credit roll in bollywood. It’s an ART. And a difficult one too. Click here to check out some of the best credit rolls. And this is where Stanley Ka Dabba scored over all other films. The film was an indie experiment and its delicious opening credit was like a Pixar short film. Done by one of India’s best animator Gitanjali Rao, it sets the perfect mood for the story to follow.

 

2. Monologue (Pyaar Ka Punchnama) – When the lead actor doesn’t get to kick the villains, he always gets a monologue. But if the actor is a newcomer, who would dare to give him a monologue? And 5minute long monologue? That’s rare, and if it manages to hold your attention, that’s rarest of rare. I have been accused of endorsing a misogynist and myopic view of the world because i like the film 1st half of the film. It’s a long debate but you can click here to read Paromita Vohra’s observation which i agree with. It was a small film with no names, no stars, all newcomers, but the film managed to survive on its own, and everyone who liked the film, talked about two factors – Liquid and the monologue. You can call it brutally sexist but it’s fun too.

3. Slo-mo sequence (Shaitan) – Who would have imagined that a shootout sequence on a classic song would make such a deadly combo. If there is an award for the most imaginative sequence of the year, give it to Bejoy Nambiar for Shaitan. Blazing guns, characters running and jumping around, bodies piling up, blood and gore making the screen red, and Suman Shridhar belting out a classic song, i was watching it wide-eyed. Killing never looked so cool on desi screen.

 

4. Cunnilingus (Delhi Belly) – Not sure if it re-defined bollywood’s “cool quotient” or “empowerment of mahila mandal” in anyway, but it was surely a welcome change. In a year when bollywood re-discovered machismo by doing zimby zouth remakes and stunts, a hindi film hero going down to pleasure his girlfriend was refreshing. It wasn’t presented as a big deal, it was just matter of fact. As casual as the hero getting a hard-on. Even that’s rare in Bollywood. Isn’t it?

5. The Girl On The Bike who smooched (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) – Ten years ago if Switzerland was the desi honeymoon fantasy (blame it on YRF), now it’s Katrina Kaif. How else do you explain her success? Just item numbers can’t take you so far.  Zoya Akhtar put her on a bike to chase the hero, grab him and plant a kiss. Was it easy because it was Spain? Or was it because it’s written and directed by a woman filmmaker? Whatever it is, a machine between the legs and a kiss on the lips is much better than dancing in the rain.

6. That Girl On the Phone (That Girl In Yellow Boots) – Pooja Swaroop. Going by the screenwriting rules, telephone conversations are generally boring. But she played a character whose only job was to be on the phone throughout the film. A bit of tease, a dose of humour, a chuckle, she blabbered her away to glory. Interestingly, we never get to see or hear the person on the other side of the line. Well, because there was none. That’s acting. And this was a masterstroke, as delightful as the scene where both characters (Kalki and Pooja) are on the phone at the same time, on two sides of the wall, in the same scene and talking to two different persons.

7. S and M (7 Khoon Maaf) – We got a hint of it in Abhishek Chaubey’s Ishqiya. In 7 Khoon Maaf, Vishal decided to go full throttle with the love story between Irrfan and Priyanka’s character. Benign by day, beast by night, the shayar who loved S&M – is there anything that Irrfan Khan can’t portray and make it look convincing?

8. Tum Ho (Rockstar) – (SPOILER) I had no clue that so many people were confused about the end of Rockstar. The song Tum ho left them clueless – was she dead or wasn’t she? At first instance it looked like a compromise for commercial sake, but once you hear the song carefully, you know it isn’t. As the song played and the credits rolled, i came out of the theater with the visuals of the last song stuck in my head. This was Rumi in Rahman’s song.

 

9. Booby Balan (The Dirty Picture) – Another monologue. And I don’t remember the last time i was so distracted during a monologue. In the film, there’s a scene where Silk (Vidya Balan) is given an award and then she delivers her acceptance speech. The speech in which she states her moral stand and insults the rest of the industry which is full of people with double standards. But even in that speech, all you remember is booby Balan. Someone should have told us to just hear the scene. Because it turned out to be funny in a weird way, you are hearing something and seeing something else.

10. Videokaaran – I don’t remember watching anything more exciting than Videokaaran this year. This was the best discovery of the year. Varun Grover found it, saw it, loved it and recco-ed it to us. Click here to read Jai Arjun Singh’s column on the film which was published in the Caravan magazine recently.

11. Ek Kwhater Bodvka (Tanu Weds Manu) – This one is for the cheap thrills. She famously said “you Besshterd”. Not once but in almost every film of hers. And we thought that’s the best that we can get from Kangana Ranaut. But she delivered something better in Tanu Weds Manu – ek kwhater bodvka.

What got you excited this year? Do let us know in the comments.

The year is about to end and since the world is busy making the top ten lists, we thought why should we be left behind. We are scooping all the best lists from across the world here.  Or just scroll down and see under the tab “what we are reading”. We are starting our 2011 Rewind series with a post on the songs/albums of the year.

There are hit songs, there are chartbusters, flop songs, cult hits and then there are the songs which we played in non-stop loop. Sometimes for few hours, days, weeks or even months.  And it’s not easy to dissect why a specific song got you hooked so much. Read on to see if you agree, disagree and if you played the same songs in non-stop loop this year. In no particular order.

1. Bekaran (7 Khoon Maaf)Ek baar toh yun hoga, thoda sa sukoon hoga. Na dil me kasak hogi, na sar pe junoon hoga...It started with these four lines.  And i was hooked.  And it ended with anothem gem of a word ‘Lillah’, which slowly became a part of our dictionary. At a time when twitter asks you to be smarter and put everything in just 140 characters, you can say so much in just one word -“Lilaah“. With Vishal Bharadwaj’s voice and Gulzar’s words, it was love, longing and goose flesh all over.

Extra Playlist – Tere Liye in Suresh Wadekar’s voice and the haunting Yeshu in Rekha Bharadwaj’s voice. Well, play the entire album in non-stop loop.

2. Kun Faaya Kun/ Dichotomy Of Fame (Rockstar) – The name is A R Rahman. I am not sure where and how to start. Will say the same thing which i keep on saying – if i ever convert to Islam, blame it on Rahman. If Piya haji ali (Fiza), Khwaja mere khawaja (Jodha Akbar) and Maula maula (Delhi 6) weren’t enough, he added one more to the list – Kun Faaya Kun and this one i played in non-stop loop for days. Though Kun faaya was the starting point, the album had another beautifully arranged instrumental piece –  dichtomy of fame. A blend of shehnai and guitar created a haunting mood.

Extra Playlist – Play the entire album.

3. Yun Hi (Tanu Weds Manu) – I discovered the film and the album quite late. Realised  that this is the best musical debut of the year – Krsna (music director) and Raj Shekhar (Lyrics). The laidback charm in Mohit Chauhan’s voice almost works everytime but there is a danger of getting repetitive. Krsna and Raj Shekhar made sure that they didn’t fall in the trap.

…Kitne dafe hairaan hua, main ye sochke,
Uthti hai ibadat ki khushbuyein kyun mere ishq se,
Jaise hi mere honth ye choo lete hai tere naam ko,
Lagey ke sajda kiya, kehke tujhe shabad ke bol do,
Ye khudai chodke,
Fir aaja tu zamin pe,
Aur jaa na kahin,
tu saath reha ja mere,
Kitne dafe dil ne kaha,
Dil ki suni kitne dafe…

Extra Playlist – Rangrez, Piya, Manu Bhaiya, Jugni and Saddi Galli. Aha, another album where you can play all the songs .

4. Hawa Hawai (Shaitan) – Like this music review of Shaitan, almost all other reviews missed this Hawa Hawai remix. Because strangely, the song wasn’t available for download. So all those who downloaded the music and reviewed it, had no clue about it. The twang in Suman Shridhar’s vocals and Mikey McCleary’s arrangement added a new zing to the song.

Though after the film’s release, it was a completely different story. Everyone was just googling Khoya Khoya Chand sequence and if you have seen the film, the reason is quite obvious.

5. Saigal Blues (Delhi Belly)  – Though Mikey’s work got noticed, another superb effort by Ram Sampath went completely unnoticed. Chetan Shashital, the man who can do wonders with his voice, went behind the mike to create the Saigal Blues.

…is dard ki na hai dawai…..majnu hai ya tu hai kasai..

Extra Playlist – Switty switty, Ja ja ja chudail

6. Senorita (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara)  – This album is Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s only saving grace in recent times. The song captures the casual, boisterous and celebratory mood of the Spain and Tomatino fest so well. And the use of  untrained voices of Farhan, Hrithik and Abhay made it look natural and completely  impromtu. Add to that, those perfect pauses.

Extra playlist – Khwaboon ke parindey

7. Saibo (Shor In The City) – This came as a complete surprise. The song and the film. Shreya Ghoshal’s melliflous voice and Tochi Raina’s husky vocals leaves a powerful impact. Music – Sachin-Jigar. Lyrics – Sameer/ Priya Panchal.

Extra Playlist – Karma is a bitch,

8. Main Ek Bhanwara (Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster) – Music by Amit Sial and sung by Shail Hada,  this one is an under-rated gem. A melodious track, the song instantly takes you back to the time when dhoom-dhaam noise wasn’t considered music.

9. Hona Tha Pyaar (Bol) – Purists still don’t believe that Atif Aslam can sing. But you can’t dismiss his voice so easily. There is something charming about the way he sings, though besura most of the times. This song is again one of the least played songs of the year. Heard it on FM radio first and then found out that the song is from the Pakisani film Bol.

10. Uh-ho Uh-Ho (Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge) – This album marked the bollywood debut of musician Raghu Dixit. As if the film’s title isn’t weird enough, this track is called uh-ho uh-ho. I never expected anything good from Y Films but this peppy number sung by Ash King and Shilpa Rao hooked me instantly.

11. Ban Gaya Kutta (Pyaar Ka Punchnama) – I have never laughed so much during a song. Had to play the song few times to get the lyrics and they smartly play with some of the words. Music and lyrics by Luv Ranjan and its sung by Mika.

What am i missing? What’s your non-stop loop playlist? Do let us know in the comments.

The Dirty Picture is one of the most talked about films of the year. Though it got mixed response from critics, the box office numbers are producers’ delight. Interestingly, there are two women who are credited for the film. Vidya Balan and Ekta Kapoor – one who shed all inhibitions for the role and the other who decided to back the film.

As some of us were discussing the film, we wondered if The Dirty Picture pass the well-known Bechdel Test. It’s a litmus test for female presence in movies, tv and other pop culture stuff. In order to pass the Bechdel Test, you have to find out the answer to these three questions.

1. Are there two or more women characters with names?

2. Do the women characters talk to each other?

3. And do the women talk to each other about something other than a man?

Click on the play button to check out the video and you will be surprised to know that most Hollywood films don’t pass the test.

To quote from the official page, The Bechdel Test is a simple way to gauge the active presence of female characters in Hollywood films and just how well rounded and complete those roles are. It was created by Allison Bechdel in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. It is astonishing the number of popular movies that can’t pass this simple test. It demonstrates how little women’s complex and interesting lives are underrepresented or non existent in the film industry.

We are bit confused if The Dirty Picture passes the test or not. Silk and Ammaji talk but Ammaji doesn’t have a name, right? Do leave your comments in the comment box.  But most importantly, how many bollywood films of 2011 can pass the Bechdel test? Let’s try.

Nobody believed that he could die. Wasn’t he immortal? Wasn’t he evergreen? We all had started believing in it seriously because even at 88, he was all hale and hearty, and was making films.  Good or bad, it didn’t matter.  Films was all he knew.  As many of us looked at the posters of his latest films and didn’t even dare to go close to the theater, he confessed many times that he would die the day he stop making films. That was his drug. With a career spanning over sixty years, it was impossible to think about de-addiction.

And then we all woke up to the news that he is no more. It was one of the saddest sundays. But the man has left so much to cherish that we will celebrate many sundays with his movies, songs, memories and conversations.

Thanks, Devsaab.

Here’s an old Filmfare article where Dev Anand and Kalpana talk about their love story and marriage.

And click on the play button to listen to a goregous song which we discovered last night on Pavan Jha’s online radio stream.

As always, thanks to Pavan Jha.

This is the 42nd year of the festival. And Goa has been its permanent venue since 2004.  Take a quick glance at the festival and the way it’s organised, it’s easy to say that they still haven’t learnt anything in the last four decades. Even by normal sarkari standard, four decades is quite a long time to rectify the mistakes. We have been going to IFFI since it moved to Goa. Here’s what we experienced this year. Plus, some unwanted suggestions.

Registration – Trust any government body to make a simple thing look complicated. If you have tried you luck to fill up the registration form online, you will get it when i mean. Not sure why they need your history, geography and biology to attend a film fest. Even that is fine, but God forbid if your application has not been approved for some reason, you will end up spending one day to get a card, as a friend experienced it this year. Compare this to Mumbai Film Festival’s registration process. They had web cams installed on the spot, fill in the details, make the payment and you get your delegate cards in just 10mins. If only there was a way to tell the sarkari babus that the world has moved to better and faster means. There is internet, google, printer, scanner, web cams and all this can happen faster than they can put their stamps on those application forms.

So we got our cards. But not the festival brochure. We were given another token card to go to another counter and asked to stand in a long queue where we could submit the token card and collect the fest bag. Why? Why can’t they give the bag, the brochure and everything else with the registration card? I think that’s sarkari by nature. What can happen at one counter, it will be done at five counters by ten people. What’s worse is that they have sarkari work timings at every counter.  So its either 10am to 12 and/or 4pm to 6pm and so on. Again, learn from Mumbai Film Festival.

Tickets – One good thing that IFFI managed to do this year was to issue tickets. Delegates could collect 3 tickets for each day. (But only three?) So that you don’t have to stand in long queue to get into the theater. But the problem is even though tickets were issued with seat numbers, once you were inside the theater, it was free seating. At one of the screening i was five minutes late and the security guy wouldn’t allow me inside. The reason given was those with tickets have gone inside and now those who don’t have the tickets but are in the queue will be allowed to go inside if there are spare seats. Not willing to give up easily, i fought, abused, pushed few people and managed to went inside. And though it was chaos outside, there were enough seats inside to accommodate all those who were struggling inside. Point is issuing tickets was a good idea but if you don’t know how to implement it, its useless. Dear Mumbai Film Festival, please do it. But just 3 tickets per day? That’s not what film fests are for.

Opening Ceremony – This year the opening ceremony of the fest was held in Margaon. One had to travel about 1.30 hours from the festival’s main venues – Inox and Kala Academy at Panaji. why? And then the film started about 2 hours late. With government protocols and all that desi naach-gaana, it has never made any sense. And they still do it every year. Click here to read a report of this year’s opening ceremony.

Vote Of Thanks – A weird controversy happened before the opening ceremony. It was for giving vote of thanks at the opening ceremony. Is there a limit to how ridiculous can our problems be? It seems Film Federation of India, almost toothless body of the film fraternity wanted to give the vote of thanks. That has been the norm so far. But it seems the fest director didn’t approve of it for some reason. And so there was a tiff over it and FFI wanted to pull out of the festival. That means no participation by bollywood stars and directors at the fest. Really? Who participates anyway? And if Shah Rukh Khan wanted to participate, could FFI stop him? Or any other big star or director? I doubt. All that jazz over vote of thanks. This should go straight to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

French film-maker Bertrand Tavernier was given the Lifetime Achievement Award this year and he thought it’s quite ironical that he is getting his first Lifetime Award in a country where his films have never released. People are not even aware of it. Any answers?

Indian Panorama – Who picked the films? What’s the motive? What’s the point of screening those films which have already released in theaters almost a year ago? Opening film was Santosh Sivan’s Urumi which has released in Malyalam and Tamil. Some other films  in the same categories are Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbona, Memories In March, Sahi Dhande Galat Bandhe, Shagird, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Adaminte Makan Abu, Traffic, Baboo Band Bajaa, Balgandharva. Can anyone enlighten us please? Mumbai Film Festival at least managed to get Umesh Kulkarni’s Deool.

Communication – With three bodies involved in the fest – the sarkari, Entertainment Society of Goa and a private agency, there’s absolutely no communication and co-ordination between the three bodies. Nobody knows anything. They are born to make Goldman proud. At the opening of the Indian panorama, as everyone was waiting for Madhuru Dixit, heard a sarkari babu talking to one of the delegates  – Woh aa rahi hai, par kahan se, kitne baje, kisne bulaya hai, yeh toh hum bhi nahi jaante. Hum bhi aapki tarah intezaar kar rahe hain. And this is just the tip of the of the iceberg. Another day i met two hassled film buffs who had just landed at the venue and were trying to find where the film village (for accommodation) is located. The security wouldn’t let them enter because they don’t have the delegate card. And they can’t get the cards until they enter. And like everyone else, the poor souls had no clue that babus dont work after sunset. Managed to help them to get inside. Not sure if they found the village.

Last year i had experienced another similar situation. A European filmmaker was lost outside the venue and was trying to figure out how to go back to his hotel. The shuttle service was closed by the time his film screening got over. It was his first visit to India and he could hardly manage in English. I tried calling up few people to help him out. With no response from anywhere, finally helped him with a cab. I am sure he is not coming back to the fest again.

Films – One could overlook everything else if the films are good. But with such inept people at the helm of the affairs, you can blindly trust them to fail in every aspect. Except counted few films, most others were either old or bad or haven’t made much news anywhere. They even screened films like The First Grader which i saw it at another fest last year. Ah, just a year late.

If there was one film which made the fest any good, it was Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary The Cave Of Forgotten Dreams. The best 3D film i have ever seen. Watch it only in theater, only in 3D. Otherwise it will be complete injustice to the film. DEPTH has never been captured so gorgeously on the big screen and not just for the sake of it.

It’s a sad state of affairs. And it’s getting worse every year. Pity that they can’t organise a good fest at a place which could easily become the mecca for film buffs. Nice location, spacious venue by the river Mandovi, proximity to beaches, liquor cheaper than water, and you can even drink at the venue – what else does one need to have a good vacation. But if only the sarkari babus could get out of this film business and just give it “support from outside” as the political parties do while playing the seat game.  Or it can learn something from NFDC’s Film Bazaar. The sarkari baggage is there too but in just five years it has managed to at least look professional. Big money talks might not be happening yet but once you step in there, you know it’s going in right direction. Hopefully we will be able to put a first person account of the Bazaar very soon.

Dear IFFI Goa, cut the government umbilical cords as it’s killing you slowly.  Get rid of the protocols because they just create distances. Get some film buffs and filmmakers in and pick some great films that can get the buzz in. You are already off radar as far as the mainstream media is concerned. Someone will write the epitaph soon. And forget the Cannes dream forever. Just a decent fest will do. Gear up or pack up.