Archive for May 22, 2012

Vasan Bala’s debut feature Peddlers premiered at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival in the International Critics’ Week section. This post is to track all the buzz from the Cannes – pics, videos, interviews, reviews and more.


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– An early review in French is here. Rated it 3.5/5 and to sum it up – I think this is a young director who can go very far if he continues this way.  (Thanks to Google Translate)

– Bikas Mishra of has reviewed the film here. Bikas is also on the Critics Week jury this year. To quote the last line few lines, Sidharth Diwan’s restless camera adds amply in capturing the life in the megapolis. Prerna Saigal’s editing is worthy of a special mention.

Vasan Bala’s Peddlers marks a very promising debut. I would be looking forward to his next.

– Another French review is here. To quote from the review, Bombay shines here in all its ambiguous charms , angles sometimes hard, dry, and always flattering that one has rarely seen. ( Again, via Google Translate).

– The Hollywood Reporter’s review is here.

– Film critic Christain Jungen tweeted his rating 3.5 stars. And calls it an atmospheric gangster movie from Mumbai, half Hollywood halfway Bollywood.

– Saibal Chatterjee reviews the film for The Sunday Indian. Click here. To quote from the review, Vasan Bala is clearly a talent to watch. The way he handles the characters, paces the narrative, uses music and creates the dark and disturbing backdrop against which the film plays out reflect the kind of grasp that augurs well.

The deft touches that he brings to the table lift Peddlers well above the level of run-of-the-mill gangster flicks. It isn’t, to begin with, a gangster flick at all.

– Another French review is here. This one is mixed.

UPDATE – 23/05/2012

– New French review which rated it 15/20 and to quote, That said, the director shows a sense of rhythm and creativity in the staging that might interest the Jury of the Camera d’Or. Peddlers is an Indian film that has nothing in Bollywood and is the work of a director in search of gallons, but already talented.

– To quote another review, Peddlers is located in-between a relative novelty in Indian cinema, somewhere between the sweet and colorful to a Bollywood film and the roughness of a gangster movie. Efficiency is “quasi American,” but the exceptional photography and the use of music we bring in a definitely Indian.


– The Hollywood Reporter interview is here – on How ‘Peddlers’ Reflects the Indie Spirit (Q&A).

– In Variety’s Spotlight on India cinema. Click here.

– VIDEO – Excerpt from Rajeev Masand’s interview for CNN IBN. Click here.

– Another interview is here.

– Another report in Hollywood Reporter – Indian cinema moves beyond bollywood.

We will keep updating this post as more reviews and features come out.

Click the play button to see the video of the screening and presentation.

Pics Courtesy – Siddarth Diwan (Film’s DoP), TheLostFilmCritic, Rajeev Masand

We haven’t seen the film. Don’t have much clue about the filmmaker also. So, over to Innuendo’s director Arvind Kamath for all the details. And if you are interested, you can help him and his film.

ABOUT ME – I always wanted to be a part of films as long as I can remember, but was stuck in an IT job and after 9 years of being in IT, I finally quit to get into filmmaking fulltime in Feb 2011. Couldn’t afford a fulltime Filmmaking course, so I started my filmmaking stint in 2008 where I started with attending workshops, (cinematography, writing, Editing etc) then graduated to making a few short films – one short was among the top ten films of 2010 PFC One film festival (here) & another one which I co-wrote won the 2nd place (here), which gave me the courage to do more. So I went on to organize the 2009 Bangalore Screenwriting Workshop which was a huge learning experience and then started making documentaries, corporate films etc.

In Feb 2011, when I quit my job, I setup a small edit suite and started taking post production orders which is my bread without butter today. So all these years while learning, I also wrote many concepts and scripts, some trash worthy, some forgettable and a very few that I was still excited about. I took up one such screenplay which took me 1.5 years to write and Innuendo was born. More of my self indulgent rant is here.

THE PROCESS – Initially I bounced this idea of making Innuendo to a couple of my close friends and they brushed it off thinking it’s just the initial excitement of a struggler. But I announced the project of FB and called for a script narration to people who would be interested to join me. Folks from the Bangalore Indie/aspiring film circle came down. My offer to them was “I can’t pay you any money & I want to make this film with the Rs 50,000 that I have, so join me only if you like the script or connect with my passion somewhere because it’s a lot of slogging for nothing in return really, and if at all the film makes any money in any form I shall share it with you all”. Some wonderful people started signing up, most of them were experienced. One of my closest friends & a very talented chap Bharath MC came aboard. You can see some of his work here.

He was to do the camera, background score, sound, VFX and co-edit the film with me. ADs with experience in few short films which have done the festival rounds, signed up as production controller, location Manager, art director, casting coordinator and sync sound recordist. Once the team was set, we called for an audition and got a decent response of 300 profiles on email and finally 60 people showed up at the auditions. We had our 20 actors selected from a pool of talented young TV/theatre actors active in Indie/short film circle.

ACTORS – Sanjeev & Sruthi went on to do a commercial Malayalam film called “Cinema Company” which will release this year and had done another Indie from Bangalore called “Kya Yaaron”, which will also release soon. Adithi too was a part of “Kya Yaaron” and is now in Mumbai working on a film with a very well-known and talented young director (I’m not supposed to divulge the details). Monish, Khuldeep, Naveen are some of the well known names in the Bangalore theatre circle. We had 2 days of acting workshop and 2 weeks of rehearsals along with a lot of pre-production work like location recce, art framework, shot breakdowns (3 versions of it), sourcing equipments or building them on our own, scheduling the shoot etc etc.

A team of 35 members started the shoot on September 9th and completed it in non-stop schedule of 25days with 3 more days scattered here and there. Then we started post production in the month of November and finished it in April. The film was screened on 21st & 22nd of April for a private audience on an invite only basis & a review by a Cinephile can be read here.

THE CHALLENGES – We too faced our fair share of challenges like every other Indie film. DOP calling in sick with typhoid just 2 days before the shoot, crucial locations which took time due to budget constraints, actors issues due to long hours of shoot, food issues when we were shooting in the middle of nowhere, cop issues during night shoots, health issues due to long schedules sometime 2days and nights continuously and all that jazz.

WHERE ARE WE NOW – We have completed the film and had 2 private screenings to get an initial feedback. Now aiming to send the film to a few festivals and see where it goes and also travel with the film to Chennai & Mumbai in the month of June to have a private screening for filmmakers, Bloggers, Cinephiles, Indie filmmakers circle, aspiring filmmakers and others.

WHAT SUPPORT ARE WE LOOKING FOR – I am looking for venues in Chennai & Mumbai which is cost effective so that I can bring my film there in the month of June. Anybody who could help us with venues which are cheap or free, that would be great. Also, I have created an online fund raising campaign on Indiegogo to raise money to help us send the film to festivals, which is our first benchmark and priority. If we make more money than necessary for festivals, I shall pay my cast & crew and settle the vendor bills.

Synopsis: – A single mother wanting to rekindle her relationship with her teenage son, trying hard to bridge the gap times have created. A failed writer trying to revive his creativity amidst external and internal conflicts. A group of friends meeting up for a celebration and end up trying to revive an unexpected situation. And how these characters cross paths willingly or unwillingly forms the storyline of the film. This film is an introspective take on life the way it is. It’s about communication issues, creative obsession & self destructive motives.

Genre – Drama

Duration – 125 minutes (festival ready cut)

Language – English & Kannada with bits of(Tamil & Hindi)

Format – Digital (HD)

Budget – Rs 44,700 (spent on production mainly, without paying anybody)

Writer, Editor, Producer & Director – Arvind Kamath

Co-Editor, Sound Designer, vfx & DOP – Bharath MC

Background Music – Bharath MC & Aveer Thakur

Crew – Madan, Kiran, Vishwesh, Prince, Poojitha, Supritha & Kempraju

Principal cast – Sanjeev Nair, Adithi Kalkunte, Kenneth Sebastian, Anjana Ajith, Monish Nagaraj, Khuldeepak & Naveen Kumar J

On IMDB.  On Facebook.

Indiegogo fund raiser campaign page is here.


An experiment called Innuendo – Rediff

The Reel Mag interview is here.

Coverage on Madaboutmoviez, LongLiveCinema and Indieturf.

Ram Gopal Varma’s Department released last friday and as expected, had a disastrous opening at the box office. Well, that’s not new. He wrote an open letter to clarify his stand. That’s also not new. And then started blaming Sanjay Dutt and Dharm Oberoi for the debacle. Now, that’s a smart pitch for the potential producers.

I strongly believe that what Amitabh Bachchan is for directors, Ramu is for producers. Everyone aspires to direct AB in at least one film and every producer wants to make at least one film with Ramu. Just for good old nostalgia. But most don’t realise or are blind to the fact that both don’t have any box office pull now. What else can be the explanation for still giving shitloads of money to RGV? What kind of blind faith is this? Even if you forget box office, in terms of intangible gain also, it gets you nothing. Not even a single decent review. Or may be, he knows some kind of black magic to woo the producers. That’s the only talent he still has.

It’s hard to digest that someone will give him 27 fucking crore (via HT Cafe) for getting AB, Sanjay Dutt and Rana Daggubatti. And opening weekend collection is just 7.25crore – the lowest opener of 2012. And please don’t even to call it an indulgence – crotch cam is just being stupid and banal. That doesn’t qualify as cinematic indulgence by any rulebook.

Interestingly, Ishaqzaade – a film with newcomers managed almost the same amount in its 2nd weekend which Department collected in its opening weekend.

Going back to HT Cafe again, here are the opening weekend figures of Ramu’s last few releases –

Not A Love Story – Rs 2.1 Crore

Rakht Charitra 2 – Rs 1.25 Crore

Rakht Charitra – Rs 3.85 Crore

Rann – Rs 4.45 Crore

The list is quite long. To say that the man has lost it, will be putting it very mildly. And i can bet that the man is going to deliver ten more duds. Reason – he thinks he is making cult classics (read the open letter). He is dismissive of everything good or bad – it just happens by chance. And he is surrounded by yes-men. There was a time when he used to attract the best talent. Now it’s the opposite – anyone who is good, leaves him.

And here’s the bait for potential dumbfcks who will put money in his next films – his open letter which he tweeted yesterday.


I am not surprised at the hatred of some towards “Department” for the reason that when you do anything completely different from a beaten path many tend to pounce upon you with claws and knives. When Oliver Stone made “Natural Born Killers” most reviewers said it’s a piece of visual crap, exhibitionistic, he lost his head etc., which then in the later years came to be recognized as a cult classic. When DW Griffith cut to a close up they said how can a man be shown cut in half and when the camera moved in a Georges Melies film they said how can a point of view suddenly move.

Anyways the norm of critics these days is to bury the baby even before its born and kill the mother for giving it birth. It’s incredible to see the sadistic glee they take in running the Director down on a personal level even more than they run down the Film.

They accuse me of chaotic self-indulgence. I don’t know what that is but a Film eventually is a self expression of a subject matter which I as a maker chose to tell in a certain style and in Department I chose a graphic pattern in terms of angles and movements which were intended to represent the mindsets of the characters the film is dealing with.

A photographic image is a combination of the look of the location, the lightning, the costume, the make-up, the look of the actor etc. and any camera will only record whatever is kept in front of it. Then ofcourse there are the features of lensing, angles, movement perspectives etc., which would be employed as per the intended effect. In Department it’s the rapid swish pans and some hitherto unseen movement perspectives, which bothered some people, but the same were also liked by lots of others.

Also the rogue method I employed for Department is an alternative method I proposed but not as a replacement to a conventional method. The conventional usage of the cameras used for Department have been already used in “Slumdog Millionaire”, “127 Hours” and many other films the world over. In Department it’s their unconventional rapid movements, which created problem for some.

In “Department” I just attempted to do a realistic story with characters that intrigue and make one think rather than spoon feed and I attempted to package that in a never before seen visual style and some people got it and some didn’t.

It goes without saying that at the end of the day a Film’s likeability is about its content and its narrative grip and the technical style employed doesn’t matter to the viewer.

But having said that a constantly evolving innovative usage of the medium does add and sometimes also gives an emotional tone to the content and film eventually in its purest form is an emotional experience.

– Ram Gopal Varma

It seems like Subhash K Jha has converted this open letter into Q and A for Rediff. Click here.

And if that wasn’t enough, he has now put the blame on Sanjay Dutt and his manager Dharam Oberoi. You can check Ramu’s twitter timeline here or the snapshots here.

Wow! Some points for being candid at least.

Well, over to Dutt and Oberoi now.

Ram Gopal Varma doesn’t surprise and shock me anymore. He is the only filmmaker whose zero budget film was also a flop! You can’t beat that!

What baffles me is the fact there are “morons with money” who wants to blow it away by giving it to him. And at a time when films like Paan Singh Tomar, Kahaani, Vicky Donor are re-writing the rules of the box office. If you have excess, just donate it. And if you don’t have a big heart, just burn them – That’s a better thing to do.

UPDATE (22nd May) – Sanjay Dutt and Dharam Oberoi have reacted to Ramu’s tweets. Click here to read Mirror’s report.

23rd May – Ramu drags Abhishek Bachchan into it and blames him for getting Dutt into the film. Click here to read.