VOTD : Online premiere of Aakra-Man

Posted: May 19, 2012 by moifightclub in film, Indie, short film, video, VOTD
Tags: , , , , , ,

We are premiering a short film on our blog for the first time. A short i saw during Mumbai Film Festival and liked it. It starts with an intro by its director Mihir Desai. Over to him.

It’s been a year, almost since our short film Aakra-Man first screened at Mumbai Film Festival in 2011. We’ve been dying to post it online but weren’t allowed due to its festival run. Here it is, finally the online premiere of our DIY superhero short, Aakra-Man.

I am never really keen on writing intros or ‘making – of’ posts before my film is watched. Anyone wanting to criticize my work should have the freedom to do so without thinking about how much I struggled to make a film, because frankly everyone goes through that struggle. Most importantly it’s always fun to let the film speak for itself and to see how the audience reacts and interprets my vision.  (Ed – and so i am stopping him right here. Watch the film and then read the rest.)

So I decided to write about something else. Let me jump right into it. (This may or may not be directly related to Aakra-Man so feel free to skip it)

‘Rogue methodology’ is a myth. As filmmakers we are constantly involved in the process of making films, we see our film over and over again. When I put a shot in my film, it’s there for a reason. It’s by choice I’ve added or removed something. You don’t shoot a film with multiple cameras just because you can. The format you shoot a film on is as important as the screenplay of your film. Aakra-Man is essentially a mockumentary. Shooting with a slightly faster shutter speed on digital SLRs helped me achieve what I wanted. It looks more “video” than “film” because ‘videos’ like this would usually come on television and not in theatres. From what I’ve seen, it seems like ‘rogue methodology’ has zero thought behind using a certain format or camera therefore shots end up looking like mistakes or ‘NG Takes.’ The first rule of DSLR filmmaking is, to understand the flaws of these cameras. Only then can you come up with innovative ways to adapt to this new technology. It’s really annoying when popular filmmakers make use of this technology without educating themselves. This is a big threat to smaller filmmakers because once a DSLR feature flops not a single investor will trust its potential. I’ve been working with video DSLRs for a long time and I know a lot of great independent filmmakers making such good use of these cameras. Unfortunately it’ll go unnoticed; DSLR filmmaking in India will continue to be discouraged.

Overwhelmed by the size of these cameras, followers of rogue methodology have probably forgotten that films are first and foremost an emotional experience. If the audience is only talking about how the film has been shot, the filmmaker has failed. Struggles and techniques should be invisible because all of that adds up to the story one is trying to say. That is of utmost importance. Although I agree with Mr. Rogue when he says the cameras should be invisible to the actors but in that process the director shouldn’t become invisible too!! There is only so much an actor can bring to the table. If he or she is a ‘good’ actor they’ll come prepared with the look, body language, research, back story, accent, etc but the rest is how the director moulds their performance. The “why” is the director’s job and the “how” is the actor’s job. Rogue method seems to completely disregard this fact.

If rogue methodology wasn’t enough we have studios trying to put a ban on Vimeo. The reason I make short films is because I get the freedom to experiment. I am aware that when I make a short film I’ll be distributing it online only. My investment is always very low because I won’t make any money after releasing my film online. However, what I will get instead is an audience. This audience of mine, will hopefully support me when I eventually make a feature in the future or make more shorts for the Internet. By banning a distribution site like Vimeo the studios are not only putting an end to creativity but destroying the niche we independent filmmakers have created for ourselves. I can confidently speak for a lot of my fellow indie filmmakers and say that our intent has never been to compete with studios. We just want to co-exist. Vimeo is not just a distribution website, we can use it to share footage and collaborate globally. With the consent of my filmmaker friends abroad I’ve used footage they’ve shot in my documentary Common Thread and they can do the same with mine. Collaboration without increasing production cost! Banning Vimeo is just taking all these privileges away from independent filmmakers. When I was re-cutting Aakra-Man I never thought it would end up becoming ‘just another YouTube video.’ Sadly that’ll be my primary source of distribution here. Social media is a really powerful tool, see what you can do by getting the hashtag #SaveVimeo to trend. It’s really important to the indie film community.

Aakra-Man is just a film about someone who is struggling to ‘fit in.’ Rahul Desai has written and acted this part. We hope this video is worth your time. Our plan for the future is to make a feature length version of this film so please help spread the word and share your thoughts, rate/review it on IMDb. For best quality, watch the film on Aakra-Man’s official website (this is a Vimeo embed, if your network allows it watch it here) Those in US or Canada can download a full HD version for free on iTunes. The rest can watch an embedded version below (please watch it in full HD)

Download Alex Marianyi’s soundtrack for free:

Lastly, please bookmark http://www.aakraman.com . It’s a work in progress website we will be allowing free download of the screenplay and if people are interested to know about the making of the film then a possible commentary by Rahul and me.

Mihir Desai

  1. Dear Mihir, I am really happy i saw this, u made my day, i love this film…its really fresh and very well conceptualized, ur sincerity about the character shows in every frame, may be thats why the film works for me. All the best for the feature version. Just curious…why call this quixotic superhero Aakra-man…whats aakra ?

  2. Rishabh says:

    Watched it again. Loved it even more 🙂

  3. Ankur Das says:

    The final scene/shot where the interviewer asks him a question and the starting lines of the film repeat is a mini defining moment. Very Good. Really liked it.

  4. Saurabh says:

    Loved the short Mihir. It reminded me of my own amatuerish short for the PFC fest. http://vimeo.com/9874166. Please dont make Aakra-man go to the shrink like Defendor!

  5. Ravi Maheshwar says:

    First time commenting here, I keep visiting this site once a week. I am a big fan of Super hero films and has almost watched every one of them.

    I hope someone else has noticed too and will comment or will correct me if I am wrong, but this Aakraman is lifted from a Hollywood film.. It’s DEFENDOR http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1303828/ .
    Even the super hero’s look costume http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXl64kQAvv8
    After gyaan on how DIY/ Rogue Film making, this is Rogue behavior at it’s best, All this short has done is external dressing of the Defendor idea without even remotely mentioning a tribute and placed it in Mumbai. The Film festivals also fell for this?? Seriously ????

    Moifightclub guy, Do you watch any films beyond European and Cannes cinema ?

    • Mihir Desai says:

      Love your passion, Ravi. Please read this: http://www.filmblog.auteurmark.com/2011/08/aakra-man.html Thanks for watching!

      • Ravi says:

        I am not surprised that you chose to reveal this link now, when every other link regarding you and the people associated have been provided on the write up above for the online premier.

        • Rishabh says:

          Don’t be a lazy critic Ravi. A simple google search – http://goo.gl/Up4CK – will reveal numerous places where the filmmaker mentions Defendor as the film that inspired him to make Aakra Man.

          • Raghuvir says:

            @ Rishabh – What’s lazy about someone not taking the pains to research the filmmaker of an amateur short film ? It’s a film. You take it at face value.

            @ Mihir – It’s definitely okay to be inspired from other movies Defendor/ Super or whatever and apply it in the context of your own film. But., why rip off the costume from Defendor as it is right to flashlights on the helmet, man? I am no morality police. But, one look at your movie and people are gonna cry fowl.

            And, I dig the title (super-creative) and the way it has been shot. I like the way you are going all out to promote your movie?

            What’s your budget? Production cost?

            • Rishabh says:

              Of course, you are free to take the film at face value but when you accuse the filmmaker of trying to hide facts – “I am not surprised that you chose to reveal this link now” – that is sheer laziness.

            • Mihir Desai says:

              Hi Raghuvir,
              When we were making this film, our goal was just to tell a story with available resources by saving costs. Costumes, cameras, etc are just tools to enhance it. Now we didn’t have a massive budget to go all out with it. Besides the character is such that he is basically picking stuff from home to build his own costume. We did the same, initially we wanted a certain kind of a bike helmet, the “Larry Crowne” kind but it didn’t really make sense to buy it, couldn’t borrow because I knew no one who uses that kind of helmets these days. So our best bet was to use a cricket helmet. That’s easy to get from friends! As for the torch on the helmet. My plan was to have it on his hand, where we have the phone now (because even I thought it would be too similar to “Defendor”) but that was way too awkward and uncomfortable to use. Plus for production since we used no lights and had a couple of ‘following shots’ I wanted a steady source for the convenience of shooting. Helmet was perfect, so we stuck it right on top but it kept falling off therefore, the side was what worked best. We could have stuck a Go Pro on his head too but the “character” isn’t that well off to own a slick camera. Now, “Defendor” was our reference but at the same time we hoped people would notice our little additions too. “Defendor” didn’t have a cape, an eye patch (he paints it), ISI electric tape on the helmet and a mosquito swatter. Even in the feature we are going to stick with the helmet+torch, if people think it’s a rip-off, I can’t help it and I can’t go around giving this explanation to everyone. In the end, it’s the content of the film that matters, which I am glad you liked!
              As for the title, yes it’s pretty cool, that was Rahul’s idea!
              Budget was really, really, really low 🙂 I think you can tell, haha!
              Thanks for watching! Please spread the world.

  6. Vinay says:

    Loved the reaction in the ending shot 🙂

    If you have time.. could you check out my short as well.
    “Moving On”.. http://vimeo.com/41247421

  7. fattiemama says:

    Arre waah MFC premiere and all ha! Sahi ja rahe ho Desai saab! 😀

  8. @Rohwit says:


    भाई मैंने ज्यादा वर्ल्ड सिनेमा तो देखा नहीं है . लेकिन जैसा वादा किया था तो ये लो

    १. भाई कैमरा अन्गेल्स गजब थे
    २. मैक्रो अच्छा था


    Hope to see a lot many in the days to come rahul-mihir

    (बच्क्ग्रौंड में आक्र-पुरुष का म्यूजिक सुनते हुए)

  9. monal says:

    Well done and cheers! Dont know how to comment but I know that when a films ends, and you wish it was longer means its excellent and hooks the viewer. Priceless some scenes

  10. dwnpiyush says:

    What was the purpose of this short film? I couldn’t get it after watching it twice.

  11. dwnpiyush says:

    What is the purpose of he film? What is the intention? I can’t get it after watching it twice. Is it meant to be a sattire? or some critique? Too abstract for me.

  12. sheeldamani says:

    Hey Mihir!

    Great play on the word ‘Attack’ for mumbai. I really liked the script and the execution of it. The humor with that slight gujrati touch is nice! Also, the contrast of a city that doesn’t give a damn, and the lines—”she makes me cry, tortures me..” is a brilliant way of storytelling, in terms of the end 🙂 However, the concept was a bit layered. All in all, good stuff!

  13. Ashwini says:

    Loved it. Among many things, awesome voice modulation by the lead. Am a big fan of KickAss. Guessing the director is too. Also, if the purpose of the short was to sell the idea of the feature, it does a great job at that. 🙂

  14. desipsycho says:

    ‘Superman,batman,spiderman..aakra-man’.Excellent short. Sexy world play for the title. Does justice to the inspiration.

  15. thatsmeameya says:

    “…..ticha naav Mumbai aahe ” just too good man.Fresh and catchy soundtracks.

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