Archive for January 2, 2012

Yes, yes, yes, we know. For a change we’re behaving like the incestous bollywoodwaalas and promoting someone who is a good friend and who also happens to be a punju 😛 (but unlike them, we know our boy man is zooper talented). Kabir Chowdhary dabbled in theater and arts in Chandigarh before making a one minute short film called Dolly (click here to see it) which won the Gold PFCOne award ( one minute film festival). He was an intern on the sets of DevD, and for those who claim to have seen the film many times, let’s see if you can figure out which scene in the film gave a tribute/promotion/plugin to his short film.

He later moved on to direct more short films like Pour, this low budget spunky music video here, a black humored clay news spoof  ‘Balbir News on Nithari Killings and worked on the art department for films like Wake up Sid, Aisha, and now going independent art director with Midnight’s Children.

He’s directed a 43 minute short film ‘Good morning’ which played at SAIFF film festival NY and won the grand jury award for best short. Our verdict? A trippy ride with some lovely visuals and performances. Pretty good sound design and music too. Nitpick – a few minutes long but still engaging. Do watch it if you get a chance.
Click on the play button to check out the trailer and if it looks interesting, scroll down to know more about the film. Over to Kabir.

Good morning is a psychological drama that explores the obsessions and insecurities of a married man who is completely dedicated to his wife. His world is shattered one day when he discovers his wife in bed with another man.

What happens next is diabolical, cold and shocking.

When viewing a film I have directed, my mind always wanders to what I was thinking when I was making it.

Which I guess is a very normal thing to ponder over for anyone who has been a part of a film project.

However, with Good Morning, all I can think about every time I watch it, is what an utter explosion it was for all of us working on it.

It was a guttural, visceral spewing of all our collective emotions, it was like I had lit a firecracker and burst it in my own hand.

The original script of Good Morning was 60 pages long and was written by me about 5 years ago, but we only got down to making it after I recently fractured my hand.

There was little activity in Chandigarh (my hometown), I was utterly bored, but brimming with a sense of purpose when my friend and the editor (Sakshi Bhatia) suggested, we rework the 60 page script and do a 10 minute film (which ended up to be 45 minutes running).

The 10 minute script, unlike the final film was written like an absurd comedy, it had extensive dialogue written in rhyme and was layered with a lot of nonsensical humor and a few sexually explicit scenes which were all later slashed out of the film.

Because once the casting process started it became very difficult for us to find an actress in Chandigarh who was willing to get naked! We did meet a lady who came all the way from a hill station about 3 hours away, and asked for 8000 rupees for the nudity involved. Without wanting to spend so much, we finally gave up this extensive search and decided to ask my cousin (Sukhmani, the actress in my earlier film Dolly) without giving her a copy of the script – and figured we will deal with the sex scenes when we shoot them! (we finally worked our way around the sex and made it suggestive, because we were obviously not going to shoot my sister naked!!!!)

Manish Kumar (Sunny) and Emanuel Singh (The Suit) who have both been trained at the NSD readily agreed to be a part of the film and were told that they were incharge of leading the actress (as she was unaware) and surprise her with their actions!

Our aim was to make a very small film on the I-phone, but the cast in flesh, blood and training was too exciting to keep it low quality, which is when my dear friend Rahat came down from Kashmir with his Canon 5-d and we were finally all set to start shooting.

Having been around conventional film sets with my work as an art director, I developed a sincere disdain to the long and arduous process of filmmaking, I feel boxed in and bored and genuinely feel that it drains the spontaneity out of everyone on set!

On our own film I wanted everyone to be themselves and have fun working! I also wanted to shoot without any prior rehearsal or deciding the location of the scene. And once the emotional quotient of the film was explained to the actors, they were made to let go of themselves completely as everyone was allowed only 1 take as I didn’t want anything to look remotely mechanical or well rehearsed!

Everything in this film for me was relying on the trust with the actors and the environment that the scene took place.

The actors were allowed to be themselves and bring themselves fully, without any penalty. So if our actor was a drinker or a hash smoker, within takes we would let him smoke or drink and come and get naked on a railway track, or dance wildly in the meat market with eels and a chicken!

And on the day of the climax, keeping up with our traditions, everyone got sloshed, ! (barring Rahat, the camera person, who literally had to focus!) and it was getting almost impossible to manage a room full of drunks (being a little drunk myself!)

As is, with a bunch of spontaneous crazy and creative people working together, it was four days of relentless chaos that was created and captured. The shooting process was a coming together of palpable energies stemming from being confrontational and disruptive to the real spaces and people we were around, but it seemed like everyone’s energies, even a crowd that collected(wondering what the hell was wrong with the actor and paying no attention to the camera!) was working in tandem to create this piece of work. it was a fulfilling, satisfying and mildly exhausting journey for everyone involved!

With this film, we have tried to carefully assemble a lot of nonsense, all held together by an element of no reason. There are no particular reasons why this film was made, its not trying to make any strong points, but it is more an emotional journey, a very personal piece of work that has fuelled within us the fire and the longing to stay true to ourselves and the film that is being created, we want to allow ourselves to be able to let go of ourselves and still be restrained and most of all make the experience for everyone involved, personal, therefore memorable and hopefully will be the same for the people who get to watch it!

The film is 45 minutes long and was made on a budget of Rs 25,000, with a crew of just 3 people and it was shot over a period of four days in Chandigarh.

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Facebook page of the film is here.

The film also won the Grand Jury Prize for best Narrative short at SAIFF and is currently doing the festival rounds.