Archive for September, 2012

The Other Way – Its a film by Aniket Dasgupta and Swathy Sethumadhavan who are documenting the indie filmmaking scene in India. The feature length documentary aims to understand the various facets of an independent filmmaker and attempts to capture the passion that drives these new wave filmmakers to work out of the mainstream film industry.

And in a country where we don’t have much culture of documenting our cinematic history, this seems to be going in the right direction. More so because in the last 4-5 years the way we are making films, it has changed drastically. Filmmaking has moved beyond the domain of counted few and “indie” is being redefined with new filmmakers rewriting the rules.

Aniket and Swathy have already interviewed some of the indie voices and filmmakers like Srinivas Sunderrajan, Onir, Vasan Bala, Sandeep Mohan, Qaushiq Mukherjee (Q), Sudhish Kamat, Shiladitya Bora among others. More interviews are also on schedule and will be shot in the coming months.
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The documentary is mostly self-financed but since the makers of the film are students (of Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication), they are also trying to raise a part of the budget through Wishberry’s crowd funding platform. Contributors get certain perks in return depending on the amount they contribute.
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They have already raised more than Rs.47,000 out of there goal of Rs.80,000 on Wishberry and have JUST 3 Days left to raise the rest. Your contribution will take them one step closer to reaching their goal.
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So what are you waiting for? Click here and help them make the film.
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Not convinced yet that you are not going to waste your money? They do have a teaser from what they have shot so far. Click on the play botton and have a look.
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—> Link to the facebook page: http://facebook.com/TOWFilm
—> Link to the production blog: http://behindtow.tumblr.com/
—-> Link to the crowdfunding page:  http://wishberry.in/Help-us-make-The-Other-Way–13763

UPDATE –   Deadline Extended for NFDC Film Bazaar’s Work-in-Progress Lab & Viewing Room. The New Deadline is October 17, 2012.

On popular demand from directors applying to the Work-In-Progress Lab, NFDC Film Bazaar has extended the deadline to October 17, 2012. This deadline extension is applicable to the Viewing Room as well.

NFDC Film Bazaar 2012 invites entries for the Work-in-Progress Lab and the Viewing Room.

Date & Venue :  The 6th Film Bazaar will be held from November 21-24, 2012 at the Goa Marriott Resort (India) alongside the International Film Festival of India 2012.

Deadline : The submission deadline is October 10th 2012.

Work-in-Progress: At the Work in Progress (WIP) Lab, 5 selected projects in their rough cut stage are presented to a panel of international film experts. The intention is to help the filmmaker achieve an accomplished final cut through expert insights.

– Celebrated film critic & historian, Derek Malcolm; Head of Israel Film Fund, Katriel Schory & Chris Paton from Fortissimo Films were the mentors for 2011 WIP Lab.

– The films from the 2011 Lab have gone on to have World premieres at prestigious international film festivals: Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely (World Premiere, Cannes Film Festival in official competition section-Un Certain Regard) Manjeet Singh’s Mumbai Cha Raja and Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus (World Premiere, Toronto Film Festival 2012), Ajay Bahl’s BA Pass (World Premiere, 12th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival).

CRITERIA : The lab is open only to feature length films and documentaries in the rough-cut.

Viewing Room : Previously known as Screening Room, it was successfully introduced in FB 2011 with the aim of presenting films seeking finishing funds, world sales, distribution partners & film festivals to investors, world sales agents and film festival programmers.

– The Films are viewed on individual computer terminals in private booths via a specially designed Viewing Room software, which allows the viewer to watch complete films, access details of the film as well as contact the director or producer.

CRITERIA : This section is open to films of all genres and lengths which are complete or in the rough cut stage. Films presented in this section last year have been selected by various film festivals.

CONTACT: For more details and application forms visit www.filmbazaarindia.com (WIP Lab page is here and VR page is here) or write to films@filmbazaarindia.com

Barfi! has released, going strong at the box office too, and the reactions have been quite good so far. Though the critics liked it but most of them were not very impressed. Click here for all the reviews and the average rating. And there have been some interesting reactions too – from a glorious one by Rangan to self-reflective piece by Jai Arjun Singh.

But the point of this post is to find out where we draw the line for homage, inspiration and plagiarism. It seems Anurag Basu lifted many scenes from various films. If it was some other filmmaker, it would have been easy to say that it was all homage. And more so because “Charlie Chaplin” can be counted as a a genre now. But Basu has quite a history – Murder, Saaya, Life In A Metro. Having said that, as i wrote in this post earlier, i would like to reiterate that i still like his direction and he has a visual flair.

To start the homage, inspired or plagiarised debate, first watch the following videos.

  • Starting with this clip from Kikujiro. Seems like the art director/AD was told to even get a similar nail and place it in the same way.

Tip – Arun venugopal

Tanqeed has put a post with all the other scenes/videos which are currently being discussed. We are putting the same videos here too.

  • Remember this funny sliding door scene from Barfi!

Now watch this clip from Chaplin’s The Adventurer.

Homage?

  • The mother-daughter scene from “The Notebook” which almost every critic has mentioned.
  • But it would be too far fetched to say that even the climax is copied because it’s quite a generic scene.
  • Two sequences from Singing In the Rain – the nose one and the doll sequence. from 1:50 onward.
  • Another scene from Chaplin’s City Lights.

But many have pointed out that there was a poster of Chaplin in one of the scenes. I guess that makes it a homage. Right?

  • The ladder scene from Buster Keaton film was obvious. But there’s another bit. In the first 5 second.
  • The bicycle chase scene in the narrow lanes and the act of tapping the windows reminds you of Jackie Chan. Does it?
  • And Rajeev Masand has mentioned in his review that the kidnapping subplot seems to be inspired from Gone Baby Gone. Agree?

Anything else? Looking at all these scenes i am sure that there are more scenes from here and there for which we have not been able to trace the original. So is it all original till we find the source?

Also, anyone seen the Korean film Oasis? Enlighten us.

So where do you put Anurag Basu’s B! now – H, I or P?

Or should we go back to Godard – “Its not where you take things from, its where you take them to”?

UPDATE – 24th September, 2012

Finally, an interview of Anurag Basu where he opens up about the plagiarism charges. Anuradha Sengupta has interviewed Basu for her show, Beautiful People. And good on her part that she didn’t let him skip the questions (10:11 onwards – Life In A Metro and Barfi!).

And we sincerely thank her for giving credit to our blog (at 10:50).

She also talks to him about Barfi’s success, Kites’ failure, his filmmaking style, how it’s democratic or not, trigger point of the film and other such topics. Do watch.

UPDATE – Now, finally the source of clock scene too.

via Kuldeep Patel.

After Hulla and Leaving Home (documentary on Indian Ocean), filmmaker Jaideep Varma is busy working on his latest documentary film, Baavra Mann. And here’s a trailer of the film.

Here’s more info on the trailer and the film from its youtube account – A trailer of the rough cut of the full-length documentary feature, “Baavra Mann – a film on Sudhir Mishra & other Indian realities”. A film not only on one of Mumbai cinema’s longest lasting and relevant filmmakers but through that prism on a declining cultural life in India.

Aha, finally some documentation of our cinema and some of its prominent voices. Whenever i think about Sudhir Mishra, i often wonder why is there no making of Hazaroon Khawshein Aisi. It’s such a terrific and landmark film, and has a great story behind it. That needs to be documented. Hopefully we will get to hear some bits in this docu.

This trailer surely looks interesting. Though my only concern is Sudhir Mishra is quite overexposed. If you have been tracking him or his films, you probably know everything about him. But it’s nice to see anecdotes about his personal life too. And the film seems to go beyond Sudhir Mishra and his films. So eagerly looking forward to it.

Last few years of Mumbai Film Festival have been wet dreams for any film buff. The game was simple – they picked up all the winners and nominees from all the top film festivals of the world. This year’s list is yet to be out but some titles have been confirmed. And going by these titles, it seems like they are on right track this year too.

  • Among the big ones are Rust and Bone by Jacques Audiard (was in competition at Cannes), Walter Salles’ On The Road and Blancanieves (Snow White) by Pablo Bergera, a reinvention of the Brothers Grimm classic.
  • Nandini Ramnath’s report in Mint Lounge has confirmed few more titles. This includes Michael Haneke’s Amour, David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Ken Loach’s The Angels’ Share, Danish films A Royal Affair and The Hunt, Kauwboy and this year’s fest favourite Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild.
  • Almost all the films have been doing the festival rounds. Amour won the Palme d’Or and Loach won the Jury prize at the Cannes film festival this year. A Royal Affair was in competition at the Berlin Film Festival and The Hunt was in competition at Cannes where its actor Mads Mikkelsen bagged the trophy for the best actor. Kauwboy bagged the best First Feature award at the Berlin Film Festival.
  • Among the documentaries are Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s Celluloid Man which we have been tracking for a long time. Klayman bagged a special jury prize at the Sundance Fest.
  •  There’s also going to be a long list of classics, black & white gems and silent films. Some of the confirmed titles are Franz Osten’s A Throw of Dice (1929), Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (1963), Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America(1984), Dhundiraj Govind Phalke’s Kaliya Mardan, Osten’s Shiraz, Baburao Painter’s Muraliwala (1927) and Sati Savitri (1927), Robert Rossellini’s The Machine That Kills Bad People (1952), Visconti’s Senso (1954), Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Accattone (1961), Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970), Federico Fellini’s Roma (1972), Quo Vadis (1913), and Nanni Moretti’s Dear Diary (1993).
  • Indiewire’s report has also confirmed few more titles which have been restored. The Twentieth Century Fox Archive will present 8 films spanning 40 years in the ‘Fox Classics’ series. This includes Sunrise (1928), How Green Was My Valley(1941), Laura (1944), Leave Her to Heaven(1945), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Wild River(1960), The Leopard and Two for the Road(1967).
  • Seven other films which have been restored will also be screened. This includes Satyajit Ray’s Charulata(1964), The Chess Players (1977), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1945), Uday Shankar’s Kalpana (1948), Once Upon A Time In America and The Cineteca Bologna will present two silent Italian silent classics.
  • Festival Dates : 18-25 October, 2012.
  • Venue : NCPA and INOX. Can anyone confirm if Cinemax Versova will also have screenings or not?
  • Shifting the venue to South Bombay is a strange decision when the film industry and related people seems to be mostly from suburbs. If you had been to Cinemax Versova for last year’s fest, you know the kind of crowd it attracted. And at the same time screenings at Metro and Cinemax Sion were going almost empty. I might be biased because Andheri (west) suits me best and travelling in Bombay is quite exhausting. So putting up a poll here.

Barfi! – Nostalgia for the Light

Posted: September 14, 2012 by moifightclub in cinema, movie reviews, reviews
Tags: , ,

Here’s a game to start with. If i say “nostalgia” and ask you to give 10 words that comes to mind, there are very high chances that if you have grown up in 70s or 80s, or even early 90s, you will find all those ten elements in Barfi! What else is a “radio”? Just another symbol for that old world charm. No wonder it has inspired the name for the lead character as well the title of the film. Quaint is the keyword in this postcard written by Anurag Basu and posted from a small hill town post box.

It’s kind of love triangle between Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor), Shruti (Illeana DÇruz) and Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra). He can’t speak. She doesn’t speak. And the third one who is unlike the other two – can speak, hear and think, she doesn’t have the guts. So there are hardly any dialogues between the three and this is where Basu shines as a director. He creates simple and gorgeous moments between the lead characters and his camera captures it by dipping every frame in nostalgia. If i am not wrong, he might have started the film that way too. The film opens with a text plate where Basu dedicates the film to his father. Ileana’s look and get up is based on his Mother (see the making of the film where he talks about it). And everything else somehow reminds you that Basu is trying to go back to his roots. As the film opens, it tries to soak you in the same mood – old man, phone call, flashback, voice over, train journey (by the window seat), curvy roads, hill station, tunnel, rain, green fields, paper toys. Aha, you know the drift. And it continues that way with soap bubbles, fireflies and more. Ten down?

Basu’s film is set in a world of disarming charm where naivety wins over everything, where love is all you need. And it’s so hard to believe it all in today’s cynical and materialistic world. Would you? I don’t know. Just the other day i was still trying to figure out the madness for the new IPhone. Well, art and design is fine but it doesn’t come cheap. And it reminded me of an incident during the Doha Tribeca Film Fest. They had a segment for short films for Under-13. The film which won the first prize left me pondering. It was about a kid who gets a new expensive mobile phone and then he starts behaving like a phone. He needs to be charged, needs the signals and his body behaves like the keypad which can be operated. All treated in a comic tone but i was left wondering if the kid’s world really revolved around a mobile phone. This is the only story he could think of? Life as a mobile phone? May be the black humour of the kid’s real life was better than the film. May be i am just old fashioned? May be we were different as kids. May be every generation says the same. But one thing is for sure – we were never told to chase money and materials. May be that’s why it all feels weird now. And may be that’s why Basu’s characters had to be “challenged” in this era to not chase the “money and materials”. And the one who chases it, she….well, that would be a spoiler.

I never bothered to watch Basu’s last film Kites which was a big flop and it never looked like his film to start with. Even when he plagiarised entire plot in his previous films, they were always visually strong. Parts of Barfi is inspired too but Basu is in top form with this one. Almost everything is pitch perfect in direction except two issues – the thriller element in the film looked so weird and forced. It just doesn’t gel. And what’s with the crisscross flashback narrative? Sometimes even flashback in a flashback. It became confusing at so many points and i was wondering if Barfi! is the Inception of flashbacks. Wouldn’t a simpler narrative be better? Aha, blame it again on nostalgia – flashback! And characters talking to the camera with their names coming on screen. Why? No clue.

But extra points to the film for not trying hard to work on your tear glands to get the sympathy vote. Please note, Mister Bhansali.

As the trailers of the film came out, we all thought that Priyanka is going to kill the film. If she is controlled, she can do magic. Remember Kaminey? But mostly she goes over the top and is melodramatic. She proved everyone wrong and how! It takes some time to adjust to the fact that it’s Priyanka Chopra playing Jhilmil but once you do that, it’s hard to believe the way she portrays the character. Not a single false note. And Ranbir Kapoor, what’s next? He is born to act. I don’t have too many adjectives to define his natural talent to get into the skin of every character that he portrays. Supporting characters are well cast and some of them ooze so much warmth even though they don’t have a single dialogue.

Go with little patience and watch it. Barfi! falters on some uneven tracks too but it’s a rare film which will melt your cynicism. At least for two hours.

Or, may be, it’s just good old nostalgia. Those flip-flop green window panels of old Calcutta always does it for me.

Or, may be, Barfi! is the answer to that Johnny Cash song “Where did we go right?”. If you haven’t heard the song, click the play button and enjoy.

And if you want the lyrics of the song to sing along, click here.

– Post by @CilemaSnob

After its world premiere at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival, the first trailer of Hansal Mehta’s new film Shahid is out.  Have a look.

Aha, welcome back, Mister Mehta. Seems like the film has got the right mood and tone for the subject. And if you missed the earlier post, here’s the official synopsis of the film..

Shahid is the remarkable true story of slain human rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi, who was killed in 2010 by unidentified assailants in his office. From attempting to become a terrorist, to being wrongly imprisoned under a draconian anti-terrorism law, to becoming a champion of human rights (particularly of the Muslim minorities in India), Shahid traces the inspiring personal journey of a boy who became an unlikely messiah for human rights, while following the rise of communal violence in India. This story of an impoverished Muslim struggling to come to terms with injustice and inequality, whilerising above his circumstances is an inspiring testament to the human spirit. 

Cast and credit list :

Director: Hansal Mehta

Language: Hindi

Runtime: 123 minutes

Exec. Producer: Jai Mehta, Kunal Rohra

Producer: Sunil Bohra, Shailesh Singh, Guneet Monga and Anurag Kashyap

Production Co: Bohra Bros Pvt. Ltd. and Anurag Kashyap Films Pvt. Ltd.

Principal Cast: Raj Kumar, Prabhleen Sandhu, Baljinder Kaur, Tigmanshu Dhulia, K K Menon, Yusuf Husain, Prabal Panjabi, Vinod Rawat, Vipin Sharma, Shalini Vatsa, Paritosh Sand, Pavan Kumar, Vivek Ghamande, Akash Sinha, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Mukesh Chhabra

Screenplay: Sameer Gautam Singh, Apurva Asrani, Hansal Mehta

Cinematographer: Anuj Dhawan

Editor: Apurva Asrani

Sound: Mandar Kulkarni

Prod. Designer: Rabiul Sarkar

– To know more updates about the film, you can follow its FB page here.